WSU-Bred Barelys Delivering Unique Northwest Beer Flavors

Nutty and aromatic, Washington State University created barley variety, Lyon, brings greater depth to beers. Commercial malts are often plain and basic, but craft-malted Lyon is different. Lyon malt lends its signature flavors to craft beers around the Northwest.

Lyon is one of two WSU barley varieties to crack the growing craft malt market. Crop scientists at WSU developed Lyon, for the Palouse country, and Fritz, which thrives in coastal growing areas — both all-round varieties, equally versatile for food, feed, and beer.

In Washington, barley is a $20 million crop, with about 4.5 million bushels harvested annually. Compared to wheat, chickpeas and other cash crops, such as spinach and potatoes, barley is a low earner, but farmers still turn to this crop to break disease and weed cycles. By giving farmers new malt varieties, value is added to barley. New malting varieties like Lyon open up a new world of possibilities for growers, and in a tough farm economy, that makes all the difference.

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For questions or comments, contact Kevin Murphey, WSU Barley Breeder, by phone at 509-335-9692 or by email at
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