Fourteen Saskatchewan craft breweries are participating in a local project, all using one common ingredient, but bringing their own flavours to the table.
Casey Murray, head brewer at 21st Street Brewery in Saskatoon, is one of the brewers participating in The Bow Project.
“We’re really interested in stretching the limits, as far as what you can do with beer,” Murray said.
Each of the breweries received the same malt barley and crafted their own unique beer with it.
“My take was to do a German-style bock that is really strong, so you’re concentrating the malt flavours,” Murray explained.
“The craft beer movement has been a return to the roots of beer. It’s tough for the big guys to do all these different styles, but we very much can and want to, because there’s a lot more to beer than just light lager,” Murray said.
The one ingredient the 14 beers have in common is bow barley, which was grown and malted in Rosthern, Sask., by Maker’s Malt.
“Does bow barely end up tasting different in our final product, than the typical barleys we use, like copeland? So that was the question we thought we could maybe answer with this project,” said Matt Enns, who’s with Maker’s Malt.
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“In the world of beer and barley, Saskatchewan is one of the world’s best growing regions for that, so we can be world class at this,” Enns explained.
To tap even more into the farm to table production, the barley used for the project was developed at the University of Saskatchewan.
Bow barley is one of the newer malting barley varieties produced at the Crop Development Centre (CDC) on campus.
“It was produced about five, six years ago and it’s become available to growers in the last two years,” said Aaron Beattie, a barley and oat breeder at the CDC.
“Projects like this, where you can see the outputs of the breeding process come right to people, in this case, their glass. It gives them a real sense of what can be accomplished here and the importance of the work that’s going on here in Saskatchewan,” Beattie said.
Beattie said bow barley is also a higher yielding variety and addresses lodging issues for growers.
The beers from the project will be on tap in Saskatoon this Saturday at 21st Street Brewery in the basement of Winston’s English Pub.
A second event will be held on Feb. 8 at Beer Brothers in Regina.