In the beer world hops are like Jessica Alba — the dazzling superstar — and barley is like her husband — what’s his name again? He’s an actor, right?
But I challenge you to think more deeply about malt barley. Brewers call it the “soul of beer.” And it makes sense. Besides water, barley is the MAIN ingredient in your favourite beverage.
I love my palate-shredding IBU cockpunchers as much as the rest of the diehard hopheads out there. But I worship barley-forward brews just as much. I mean, seriously, would life be complete without a sweet milk stout, a biscuity ESB, or a trim, roasty schwarzbier?
I’m preaching the barley gospel because I just got back from the heart of Canada’s barley belt. I was there to host a series of “Grower to Glass” Beer & Barley lunches for the Barley Council of Canada. At each stop, we worked with different barley farmers from Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton and Calgary — so I got a firsthand insight into the hardcore care that goes into growing barley to the exacting standards of maltsters and brewers. (We did Morning Show appearances at every stop too, check us out talking barley on Global Regina below).
Still not convinced? I give you 9 MILLION reasons to be a #maltmaniac
- The vast majority of barley in every Canadian beer you drink is made with barley grown and malted right here in Canada.
- 8 Million. That’s how many tonnes of barley Canada produces each year, making barley our 4th largest crop.
- Barley is malted using just air, heat and water. So it brings natural culinary flavours to the table – from bread dough, to graham cracker, to pistachio, to dark chocolate and espresso.
- 1 Million. Canada has one of the world’s biggest malting industries, carefully malting 1 million tonnes of barley each year for beer.
- Barley’s gifts to beer: colour, flavour, aromas, body, sugars & foam-building proteins.
- You can eat it too! It’s an ancient grain and packs the highest total dietary fibre content of the food grains, the lowest glycemic index; and lowers cholesterol. Get cooking here!
- It’s friggin’ cold, eh? Yup. And that’s what makes Canadian barley better than most. Frigid winters naturally fight off pathogens in the soil. And the dry Prairie air keeps moisture in check.