Newport, Oregon's Rogue Ales and Spirits has released another playful product prime for beer-lovers with senses of humor: Good Chit Pilsner. The special brew is named for the “chits” or sprouts that begin to grow when barley is malted before the brewing process.
Rogue Ales and Spirits general manager, Dharma Tamm, who oversees marketing, sales and operations for the company, said Good Chit Pilsner was conceptualized as a product with which the brewery could control every step, building upon Rogue’s use of its own hops and grains to include malting their own barley.
The barley in Good Chit Pilsner is grown on Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Ore., an area known for its volcanic-rich soil, where it is spread across a specialized floor and hand-turned every 12 hours over the course of eight days. When the “chits” appear, the malted barley is ready to be shipped to Rogue’s Newport brewing location, where it is transformed into Good Chit Pilsner.
Typically, Tamm told Men’s Journal, while Rogue grows its own grain, operating 200 acres of malting barley fields, the grain is eventually sent to be malted at an area malting facility, Great Western Malting. To make Good Chit, Rogue took to the malting house themselves, using the ancient floor-malting method to create small batch malt for the pilsner.
“We grow malt, but don’t process the malt ourselves. With this one [Good Chit Pilsner], we actually process the malt ourselves,” Tamm said. “As you can imagine, that’s a crazy experience to go down—you have to learn how to do it and learn how to do it on a small scale.”
Typical batches of malt created for Rogue can reach 300 thousand pounds at a time, Tamm said. With Good Chit, “we were doing about two thousand [pounds] at a time, and ending up with about 1,500-1,600 pounds after having gone through the whole process.”
The small batch floor-malting process isn’t the only thing that makes this release from Rogue special: along with being the only Rogue beer made 100 percent with the floor malting method on site, Good Chit is also the only pilsner distributed by the brewery.
“The reason why we chose to do a pilsner is [that] pilsners are lighter, and flavors, particularly light malt flavors, really shine through in pilsners,” Tamm said.
Rogue also makes a Hot Tub Scholarship Lager for which 10 percent of proceeds are donated to the Jack Joyce Scholarship, a foundation benefiting Fermentation Science students at Oregon State University established in honor of Rogue founder, Jack LeRoy Joyce (who apparently loved hot tubs).
As for Good Chit’s cheeky name, “That was an internal decision,” Tamm said, laughing. “Chit is just an odd word and we just had fun with it. It was kind of a combination between our farmers, brewers and graphic designers.”
We’d venture to guess their lawyers weren’t as happy with the title, but it’s certainly not as bad as some other beer names.
Good Chit Pilsner is currently available on draft and in 22oz bottles nationwide.