Skip to main content

Westland Distillery Creates New Fellowship for Barley Research

Seattle’s Westland Distillery is one of the leaders in the quest to make the growing American single malt category as popular as bourbon. To this end, the distillery has been releasing a range of whiskeys that are made from 100% malted barley and aged in a variety of cask types including sherry, port, and virgin American oak. Westland’s Garryana series is one of the most interesting from the distillery, a limited release that is aged in several different types of barrels, including Garry oak, which is native to the region and not widely used for American whiskey maturation.

Barley is one of the key ingredients in making American single malt, along with water, yeast, and the wood in which it is matured. There are some distilleries that are studying the influence of different types of barley, such as Scotland’s Bruichladdich, as part of a focus on the concept of terroir in whiskey. Westland just announced that it has created a fellowship at Washington State University’s Bread Lab in the Skagit Valley to further explore how barley varietals affect the flavor and quality of the whiskey they are used to make. There are three objectives put forth by Westland for this fellowship:

  1. “The barley must work for the farmer.” The varietals must be both economically sustainable for the farmer growing them, as well as exist within a healthy agricultural system so as not to disrupt the growing of other grains.
  2. “The barley must work for the changing environment.” The varietals must be “certified organic, regenerative-organic, or ‘salmon-safe,'” and be able to stand up to the effects of climate change now and in the future.
  3. “The barley must work for the end consumer.” The varietals have to make sense for the whiskey; in other words, there should be an effect on flavor.

The first Ph.D. student has been announced: Louie Prager, who cofounded Prager Brothers Artisan Bakery in San Diego, is heading up to Washington to begin the program.

“Westland is Western Washington all the way,” said Dr. Stephen Jones, director of The Bread Lab, in a prepared statement. “To have the support of a home-grown company of the caliber of Westland at this level is a real positive jolt for the entire movement of non-commodity grains, novelty, and flavor. It’s a big step forward for barley breeding, whisky making, and the growth of regional grain economies at all levels for all purposes.” As the work proceeds, it will be very interesting to see what the results of such a focused study on barley reveal and how this effort might affect whiskey production both here and abroad in the future.

Editors' Recommendations

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker is a freelance writer who covers booze, travel, food, and lifestyle. His work has appeared in a variety of…
How to make hard cider (it’s not as complicated as you think)
Making your own hard cider is a surprisingly easy and an incredibly fun new skill to learn
Hard apple cider in a glass, surrounded by apples.

There's never a bad time to start drinking hard apple cider. Not only is it a wonderfully different, crisp, and refreshing adult beverage to enjoy, but making your own hard cider at home can be an incredibly fun hobby. If you're looking to try something new, consider learning how to make your own hard apple cider.

As much as we'd like to talk about beer, that's not what we're here for — not right now, at least. We're talking hard cider here, which is not only as tasty as beer, but it's also simpler to make in the confines of your home/apartment/Quonset hut. Read on and start brewing your own hard apple cider.

Read more
How to cook ribs in the oven: A step-by-step guide
Don't have a smoker? Don't fret — an oven can be an excellent tool for fall-off-the-bone ribs
Ribs cooking in the oven

Who doesn't love mouthwatering rib recipes? But there is an age-old question that needs to be answered if you don’t have a grill: Can you cook ribs in the oven? The answer is simple: Yes, you can. After all, you can use your oven for so much more than baking. You can cook bacon in the oven, cook ham in the oven, or even, yes, cook steak in the oven.

We used to think that ribs were only properly prepared if they were cooked in one of the best smokers or on the grill (sometimes first placed in a slow cooker), ideally over a long period of time. However, when circumstances (time constraints, lack of tools or space, etc.) don’t allow for these methods, you can cook some fall-off-the-bone ribs in a conventional oven.

Read more
Wondering how to get rid of bloating? The best foods to beat belly bloat
From apples to rhubarb, here are a few of our favorite tasty bloating remedies
Man with bloated tummy.

No one likes to feel bloated. Not only may you feel a little self-conscious if you have a prominent, protruding, bloated belly, but bloating is also physically uncomfortable and can make you feel sluggish. Unfortunately, quite a few foods can cause bloating, and there are additional factors that can make you bloated, so feeling bloated after eating, drinking, or even exercising is rather common.

The good news is that there are certain foods that can reduce bloating to help you relieve the discomfort. Foods that help with bloating do not make you lose fat, but they can reduce inflammation in the gut and reduce fluid retention to help you get rid of any gas or water causing a belly pooch.

Read more