Heritage Barley

Brewers in the UK and USA are using a heritage barley variety called ‘Chevallier’ grown by our researchers to create unique craft beers.

The barley, last grown commercially in the UK in the 1930s, has been preserved at our Germplasm Resources Unit.

Shane Swindells at The Cheshire Brewhouse was one of the first UK brewers to use the new variety. Using Chevallier malt, he created 1,000 bottles of Govinda ‘Chevallier Edition’ – a cask-aged pale ale created using an authentic 1830’s recipe and methods.

“There’s a lot of complexity from the malt. Chevallier is very aromatic, and the flavours were fantastic,” says Swindells. “I’ve been getting some fantastic feedback, because it is quite different to other beer.”

Among new breweries there is demand for novel ingredients and new flavours, as well as for locally-grown ingredients or those that have been produced organically. Heritage varieties such as Chevallier could help meet that demand.

As an additional benefit, researchers also found that Chevallier barley was resistant to a costly fungal disease of barley known as Fusarium, which reduces yield and grain quality by producing fungal toxins that cause health problems in people and animals. They are now working with colleagues in the USA and Canada to produce other varieties that are resistant to Fusarium infection.