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A drought-defying drop

Recently, we brewed a Big Dry Ale with triticale, a hybrid grain of durum wheat and rye. The best bit about this brew is that this specially-bred strain of triticale, developed by the University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute in Narrabri, is proven more resistant to the effects of the drought which is currently affecting farmers and rural communities across Australia. University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute in Narrabri is a research farm doing fantastic things. This type of triticale is also more at home in acidic soils (such as the soil found in most of NSW) and has a much better chance of growing in our worsening climate producing a greater yield for farmers.

In September, we went along to the Plant Breeding Institute Field Day in Narrabri and spoke with the farmers over a Big Dry Ale. We saw first-hand the impact of the current drought but also the huge benefit these higher yields can bring.

 

From left to right: Guy Roth (professor), Andrew Tweddell (brewer), John Campbell (supplier).

 

4 Pines was approached by John Campbell from Provenance Flour And Malt to give the hybrid grain a whirl. John took it upon himself to get the Triticale malted at Powells Malting House so that we could test it in brewing. Triticale has almost exclusively been used for animal feed and finding new uses for this particular grain means that more farmers can start growing it, which would be a huge win.

 As for its flavour in the Big Dry Ale? Well, it’s on the mild side, but that’s not a bad thing. It means that we can use it for more types of beers which makes it more viable as an alternative to wheat. Another quality it has is that it produces very nice foam and gives the beer really good head retention.

We’ve brewed a second beer with it, a Saison with 30 per cent malted triticale. Now that we’ve seen that this grain really does work we will likely try for more beer varieties in the future. Trying new ingredients isn’t just fun and exciting, there are often other benefits to it too and if we find ingredients that help our environment and our community we’ll try it no matter the price.

We know our supply chain is a golden opportunity for innovation and sustainability, and our relationships with farmers, plant breeders and our patrons are paramount. By working (and innovating) together, we believe the world can be a brighter, beerier place.

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