Had a glorious fourth across the border. Bought sauces you can't find over here. Saw an 1812 cannon firing demonstration. Ate a pizza at the best place in the world to have a good pizza at a good price while watching international container ship traffic. And I got a US haircut along with my son when the rest were doing whatever the rest do. It was a real bad haircut but man it was fast. Turns out the clients were mainly soldiers from the nearby base. There has to be some sort of time limit on getting your haircut for the army. Good and fast means the other quality you are going to get is short. Real short. As short as the ten year old's hair is now. He won't need a cut again until 2011.
I wasn't planning on telling you about my haircut and the various variables that went into it until I read this article on barley research from an Australian trade paper with the headline "Barley Research One Step Closer To Perfect Beer":
Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute (WWAI) director, John Oliver, said the research had the potential to improve the availability of high-quality malting barley to brewers along the east coast of Australia. “The new generation barley also has improved disease resistance and tolerance to the acidic soils prevalent in NSW,” Mr Oliver said. “For improved malting the key is to have more of the starch in the plant broken down to sugars during the brewing process. “But there are also proteins in barley that lead to undesirable effects on the storage of beer such as a chill haze or excessive foaming when the beer is poured. “So making better malting barley is a process of trying to have more of the good attributes from the starches and enzymes and less effect from undesirable proteins.”
I am not sure if I know enough to know if I agree. I am happy to be able to include "Wagga Wagga" in any article I write but there is something about the analysis that reminds me of my bad haircut. It sounds a lot like the conditions required to achieve a fast haircut when I read about controlling haze or foam after a point in storage. Maybe the real problem is excessive storage? And do we really want fewer unfermentables? You know what I call them? Flavour.
In a world where I want more rustic husk-laden bread and cheese with more interesting bacterial dances as well as heritage lumpy tomatoes not to mention odd bits of BBQ pork that has wonderful residual globs of fat candying in new and exciting ways - don't I also want characteristically particular barley strains with more and more singular attributes leading to more and more diversity in my beer? Isn't that what I really want?