Maker’s Malt has partnered with SeCan in “The Bow Project”.  Maker’s has distributed malt to 14 Saskatchewan craft breweries and over the next month each brewery will release a unique beer made with Bow Barley.  These beers will epitomize “farm to table” production.  The Bow variety was recently developed at the University of Saskatchewan, the barley was grown and small-batch malted in Rosthern, Sk. and the final products are being created by Saskatchewan’s great craft breweries.

Events are planned for both Regina and Saskatoon where Aaron Beattie (lead scientist on the Bow breeding team), Matt Enns (farmer and maltster) and the craft brewers will discuss the lifecycle of Bow barley:  “Grain to Growler”.  Stay tuned for event dates and beer releases @Makersmalt on Instagram and Facebook and @MakersCraftMalt on Twitter.

I received this description from Aaron Beattie who was the lead in creating this barley at the University of Saskatchewan:

Bow was named after the river that flows out of the Rockies, through Alberta into the S. Saskatchewan river and then eventually through Manitoba.  It was meant to tie together the ideas of this being a Western Canadian barley variety.  With it being a malt variety, the importance of good water in the malt/beer making process was also highlighted.

All of the early breeding work for Bow occurred in the Saskatoon area.  The initial cross was made here, as were the first plots used to gauge yield potential and malting performance.  Later testing encompassed western Canada to assess adaptability to different growing environments.

When we were creating this variety, our agronomic goals were trying to address the lodging issues that barley has been known for. Bow has been bred to be an extremely lodging tolerant variety that will aid in harvestability.  In addition, we aimed for lower grain protein to improve malt selection.  From a quality point of view we were aiming to combine high extract, high FAN and low beta-glucan for the brewers, along with good germination and low peeling for the maltsters.

SeCan’s original plan was to custom order a batch of Bow Barley and deliver it to a number of interested breweries, however we knew we had something interesting here and decided to use the opportunity for a more valuable project.  It is a hotly debated topic among craft maltsters as to how much influence barley variety has on the malt and subsequently on the beer produced.  We are uniquely positioned to address this question as we malt single variety batches (contrary to the typical industry mixed batches), are small enough to do custom batches, and have an end-user base (brewers) who are flexible and interested in some of the same questions.