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U.C. Researchers Work To Perfect California-Sourced Ingredients For Craft Breweries


Most of the craft beer made in th Inland Empire and elsewhere in California is brewed with ingredients shipped from other states or countries.  But now, the California craft brew industry is working with scientists at U.C. Davis to change that.  Capital Public Radio's Randol White has more.

U.S. craft brewers have official guidelines for more than 150 styles of beer, and California brewers have a countless number of interpretations.

But at the base of all those is a very limited number of ingredients: water, yeast, hops, and the malted grain - with barley reigning supreme.

Sound: walking grains

On a Yolo County farm just north of Woodland is a science experiment ... aimed at finding the perfect types of barley for California's brewers.

Konrad Mathesius [muh-THAY-zee-us] with UC Davis walked me through the fields growing three different varieties ... all using organic methods.

MATHESIUS: "Barley is a hearty crop, so whether or not it can grow in California is not really a question, it can grow anywhere."

Mathesius says it's a drought-tolerant winter crop that could work well for farmers looking for a rotation option between other plantings.

Although, currently, very little is grown in California when you compare it to how much barley we consume.

MATHESIUS: "This is kind of, hopefully the beginnings of the farm-to-pint movement, or the farm-to-glass movement, whatever you want to call it."

Mathesius says farmers would get a good price, but whether the processors or brewers could afford the locally grown grain remains to be seen.

In Sacramento, I’m Randol White

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