Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Homegrown Beer: A Community Tasting of Local Beers from Chehalis Basin Barley

Off Campus

About the event

Farmers, brewers, and Washington State University Extension will collaborate to host a community sensory evaluation at the 2019 Tumwater Artesian Brewfest.  Participants will sample beers grown in large-scale research plots in the Chehalis Basin. This event is part of a BIOAg-funded WSU research effort to identify barley varieties best suited for craft brewing and distilling – specifically for unique flavors from malted barley.

Participating breweries include Top Rung, Well 80, Singing Hops, and Three Magnets. The barley was grown by Brian Thompson and Bill Reisinger in Adna Washington (8 miles west of Chehalis, WA) on Chehalis silt-loam soil – some of the best the region has to offer. Funding was provided by the WSU BIOAg Program, and the Port of Olympia.

This community tasting is the culmination of two years of field trials organized out of the Thurston County Extension office. The aim over the last two years has been to grow large fields of experimental barley for local brewers to experiment with. The barley varieties were originally bred by the WSU Sustainable Seed Systems Lab in Pullman, WA. Barley grown in 2018 was evaluated by consumer panels in Pullman, WA. Barley grown in 2017 was made into whiskey at Sandstone Distilling in Tenino, WA, and evaluated for flavor compounds at the WSU Wine Science Center in Richland, WA. The Tumwater Brewfest will compliment these sensory evaluations by allowing for a large-scale community tasting, and the results of this community applied research will be published!

Those interested can join the research team and community partners at the brewfest. Several breweries will be featuring beers made from the local research barley. The same beer brewed from all four varieties will be served under the “Bring Brewing Back” tent, where community members can complete a brief sensory analysis as part of this participatory research effort. By all means, join the event in the name of science and economic development.


Stephen Bramwell
(360) 790-9308