Chef Brock, brewer Coker team up to create historically true malt liquor

Liquid Assets: Amber Waves

Amber Waves malt liquor is sometimes served in a paper bag at McCrady's Tavern. Wade Spees/Staff Friday, March 24, 2017

Amber Waves: malt liquor

What is it?

Amber Waves is a heritage grain malt liquor.

Malt liquor is not a liquor but a beer with a high alcohol content and a selective fermentation process.

Amber Waves is a joint venture between chef Sean Brock (McCrady’s, Husk, McCrady’s Tavern) and Ryan Coker, head brewer, Revelry Brewing.

What distinguishes Amber Waves is that Brock and Coker have sourced all of their ingredients from a local bandwidth incorporating the grains typical of the 19th-century South.

What’s the story?

Brock and Coker have created a malt liquor using North Carolina-grown rye and barley from Riverbend Malt House in Asheville. Along with using Geechie Boy Jimmy Red Corn and Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice, the brewer and the chef have challenged themselves to produce a historically accurate process of regulated fermentation and the gelatinization and denaturing that using corn and rice grains require.

Who’s selling it?


76 Queen St.


McCrady’s Tavern

2 Unity Alley


What’s the price?

$29 for a 22-ounce bottle

What’s the flavor?

With an ABV rating of 6 percent, this malt liquor is modest in its alcohol percentage.

Rice, corn and rye adjuncts earn it the “malt liquor” label.

This is a clean and crisp tasting brew with rice and corn notes in its flavor profile and a light sake hint on the nose. Sweetness prevails and bitter flavors are absent.

— Deidre Schipani

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