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From farm to glass

By Staff | Dec 13, 2016

When it comes to beer, it’s all in the family.

Or at least that’s the case with the Stutruds.

Wahpeton native Mark Stutrud is the founder of St. Paul, Minn.-based Summit Brewing, and Todd-Mark’s cousin- and his son, Josh Stutrud, grow barley used by the brewery on the farm near Barton.

Todd and Josh grow Moravian 37-a “heritage” variety prized for its genetic characteristics and flavor profile. Summit uses the malt in their pilsener, maibock and Oktoberfest varieties.

Todd said the relationship between their farm and Summit Brewing began after his father-Jim-took a brewery tour and sometime after having dinner with Mark.

“A couple weeks later Mark called and said, ‘Hey I got an idea. Do you want to raise Moravian 37?” Todd said.

The Moravian 37 variety was developed by MillerCoors, and seed was released to the Stutruds in 2010. However, Josh said, after Summit found success with that variety, including two different accolades, “MillerCoors isn’t really willing to release more seed to us.”

Depending on the weather, a typical growing season for the Stutruds consists of planting sometime in late April to late May, and harvest between July and September.

Some challenges inherent to the operation include maintaining a genetically pure crop, storage and growing based on the level of demand Summit forecasts. Another challenge is a crop that meets brewery quality standards-which include protein and vomitoxin or VOM levels. Josh said the quality standards the brewers have seem subjective but understandable.

“If you have high protein levels, it ruins the shelf life of the beer,” Josh said. “[Mark] desires a really low protein level in his barley because then it extends the shelf life in his beers. If you have a high VOM level in your barley and it gets malted, it’ll cause the head (the layer of foam on top of the beer that provides aroma) to get too large and foam over.”

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