New Holland Brewing Co. recently released a limited-edition lager featuring 100-year-old Spartan barley called “Russ’s Revival,” making it the first craft brewer in Michigan to do so.
Spartan barley, a relic grain, has been “off the grid” for around 50 years, but has recently been making a comeback, Beverage Daily reported. The brew is named after the Michigan State University researcher Russell “Russ” Freed, who was responsible for resurrecting the barley.
The barley was first developed in 1916 by a Michigan State University plant breeder and was used to brew beer. Three years after it was developed, it became commercially available. By the 1950s and ‘60s, the grain’s presence in Michigan crop fields dwindled and it was replaced by higher-yielding crops.
Researchers intended to bring back the barley due to high demand for locally brewed beers in Michigan, according to MSU’s AgBioResearch.
“We’ve been working with barley for the past 10 years,” Ashley McFarland, center coordinator for the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, said. “A lot of craft brewers and distillers want to source their grain here in Michigan, and we’re helping farmers produce a crop that has the level of quality that malt houses need.”
The lager is now available in limited quantities at the New Holland Brewing Co. and select tap houses in Lansing, Michigan.