Q: What do cold beer and heritage pork have in common?
A: At Island Creek Farms they both take brew grains to finish out their flavor!
Whether you are a Bud Lite fan or prefer a Fresh Hops IPA from your local micro-brewery, your beer starts with a several hundred pounds of grain that is brewed with precision, drained and discarded. … ok not “discarded” but no longer needed by the brewery. After the initial brew and the soon-to-be-beer is drained and heads to the tanks to get that magic potion of sugar and yeast that ferments the brew to perfection.
The now “spent” brew grains are simply a by-product of the process. Emptied in to barrels to be removed from the brewery. These grains are still high in protein and nutrients, but not a necessary part of the brew process any longer.
For centuries, there has been a symbiotic relationship between farmers and brewers. Brewers don’t want all that wet grain stacking up and farmers see the value in it as a low-cost nutritious animal feed … or even compost.
But the federal government tried to stop all that.
in April, the FDA announced that this win-win relationship would fall under new rules introduced via the Food Safety Modernization Act and, long story short, would cost both parties heavily in the future.
The FDA had determined that in order for spent brew gains to be used as animal feed, it would have to go through a process, (just what we need… another “process”) including drying in order to rendered it safe. Why? Food safety. Yes, you see the practice that has been going on for centuries was no longer considered safe, although there ware no scientific finding to support their reasoning. It is not known if the FDA ever considered the fact that animals are pretty good at determining whether their food is spoiled or not. The cows interviewed declined to comment, but it was evident in the cud they were chewing that they thought the FDA had lost their marbles.
The result of this announcement… a good old-fashioned protest from thousands of brewers and farmers alike demanding that the FDA reconsider this proposed regulation. Unlike most government decisions, the FDA actually reconsidered.
In response to the outcry from brewers and farmers nationwide the FDA clarified (a commonly used word at the FDA these days) that they had no intention to enact onerous regulations on brewers and that they will release a final decision regarding the debate later this summer.
So at least for now, your wallets are safe and breweries wont need to add a disposal fee to your next bottle of Bud.
Check out this link on the topic.
At Island Creek Farms, we raise Registered Ossabaw Island pigs along with Narragansett Turkeys and Poulet de Bresse (Chickens) from France. All of our animals are fed spent brew grains along with natural feeds in their free-range environments. These animals love spend brew grains … when we arrive with our weekly load of somewhere between 1 and 3 tons based on the local Atlanta brew schedules, we are greeted by anxious welcoming committee waiting for their fair share of the spent grain goodies.
Ossabaw Island Pigs, initially brought to the new world including the Georgia barrier islands by Spanish Explorers and settlers in the early 1500′s, are direct decedents of the famous Jamon Iberico, also known as the Black Iberian pig or the Black Spanish Hog. With less than 2000 known to exist off the island and less than 250 of these registered, the Ossabaw Island Pig is listed as critically endangered by the livestock breed conservancy. Thanks to our friends in Atlanta at 5 Season Brewery, Slice and Pint, Twains and Red Brick Brewing, we have been able to acquire tons and tons of spent brew grains to offset the high feed costs and bring the cost of this delectable heritage pork into a price range for the consumer wanting to try this very uncommon… and hard to find… heritage pork.
Our goal is to raise the best tasting Ossabaw Island Pork for our chefs and butchers without compromising their natural feeds or a free-range environment. However, this absolutely delicious heritage pork is slow growing and expensive to raise on regular feeds, not to mention that regular feeds, while natural and nutritious and a good supplement… are boring.
Interested in trying some Registered Ossabaw Island Pork? Contact your local 5 Seasons here in Atlanta to see if it is on the menu this week.
18 hour slow roasted Registered Ossabaw island Pork loin with peas, carrots, a demi glace and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms.