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February 3, 2021 51 min

Today we sit with James Loughran from Loughran Family Malts to talk about the art of farming and preparing barley. According to some, this cornerstone ingredient of craft beer takes a tremendous amount of care, planning, and even magic. 

We open the show by asking James about the challenges and rewards of farming this important grain. After learning about the finer nuances of the grain’s journey, James walks us through the history of his family’s farm, sharing stories about its evolution. James continues by explaining why the Irish climate is especially favorable to his farm and touches on harvesting months, frosty nights, and, of course, Irish mythology and local legend. 

Moving in tandem with the crop cycle, we move onto the next phase, the post-harvest. We ask James to elaborate on his kilning methods. He talks about the Texan barbeque approach and shares why “low and slow” is beneficial to the process. As our conversation brews, James takes a few moments to tell us about his favorite beer stories. He shares anecdotes about drinking in the US, and the number of pints helps him reach equilibrium. 

In the second half of the show, we introduce our surprise guest, Brian Roth of Southern Brewing. He tells us why Irish barley is preferable to work with and what makes Loughran malt so special. To hear more from Brian on the topic, be sure to join us today!

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