Thursday, April 12, 2007

Poor barley harvests threaten beer quality

The homegrown barley that’s a key ingredient in Czech beer is a delicate, fickle crop, and has suffered through tough growing seasons in recent years. Increasingly unreliable barley harvests have left Czech brewers with two choices: import barley and raise beer prices, as Pilsner Urquell manufacturer Plzeňský Prazdroj did last year, or lower their standards and make beer from lower-quality barley. - Oh No!

At the Agricultural Research Institute in Kroměříž, south Moravia, researchers are experimenting with growing a strain of “naked,” or hull-less, barley, which could create a hardier crop that also produces higher yields for use in malting and making beer. Such strains have been grown for years in North America, mostly for feeding livestock, but have not been sufficiently tested in Czech soil and climates.

And, at the Research Institute of Brewing and Malting in Brno, researchers have been working at manipulating varieties of sweet pea, chickpea and cowpea plants that could replace barley as the malting grain in beer. - Wayhey!

Both projects are funded by state research grants. - Ta da!

(The Prague Post)

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