By Rick Redd
July 12-13, we hosted our first annual “Briess Bighorn Barley Tour” in the heart of barley country. This two day event gave 15 brewers from across the country an intimate look at Briess’ barley operations in Wyoming. Briess works with more than 300 barley growers in Wyoming and Southern Montana. This region is also very unique and unlike any other barley growing region in the world.

The Wyoming Bighorn Basin only has about six inches of precipitation a year, making the region dependent on the water stored in the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Barley thrives in this arid climate because nearly all of the water the plant receives is controlled by the farmer. Since water rarely touches the canopy of the maturing plants, growers can control when plants receive water through corrugation-flood irrigation. This makes the barley more resistant to disease and staining – producing high-quality, bright, plump kernels.