Lost Grains Beer: A story is brewing in the Channel Islands
A beer that includes traces of rare historical grains;
A grain of barley that botanists protected with their lives during the siege of Leningrad, a grain of rye that was found between two floorboards of a riihi sauna in Finland, once used by Forest Finns to dry their crops, a grain of emmer from the hoard of seeds found in Gotland’s “treasure of Ardre”, a 500 year old grain of wheat, found during an archaeological dig in a church in Belgium, a grain of rye that was cultivated by a family fleeing persecution in the Siberian wilderness and, hopefully, a grain of wheat that has been traced back to an experimental field of over 150 wheat varieties grown in Jersey by Colonel John Le Couteur.
All of these grains had fallen out of production, but have been found by archaeologists, botanists, historians, soldiers and an agricultural society, before being taken by farmers, cultivated and reintroduced to the land.
Now they are being added to a special brew being created by Patrick Dean at the Liberation Brewery in Jersey, to commemorate the Seed Journey and look ahead to the future.
The Seed Journey
The grains are brought to Jersey by the Futurefarmers and a project titled the Seed Journey.
The Seed Journey is a project by the internationally renowned artist and farming collective Futurefarmers, who are sailing a wooden rescue boat designed by Colin Archer, the RS-10 Christiania, from Oslo to Istanbul, while conducting research into the role grains have played in shaping our culture and society. The sailing ships functions as a library of rare grains that are collected and shared throughout the journey, an exchange of knowledge between bakers, farmers, scientists, historians,brewers and communities, a live radio station, a workshop, a school and museum, a bakery and much more. Jersey, with Colonel le Couteur, has its own story to tell. There is evidence of grain use and cultivation from Neolithic times, found carbonised within pottery or through pollen analysis, later within local architecture as thatch and of course in baking, milling and brewing traditions that were once widespread throughout the island.
Between the 23rd and the 30th of April the Seed Journey drops anchor in Jersey.
An exciting future for local brewers and beer enthusiasts
The special edition beer brewed by Patrick and the remarkable stories captured within it, hopes to be the seed for an exciting future for local brewers and beer enthusiasts.
The coming together of the Seed Journey and the Liberation Brewer has paved the way for an amateur brewing festival and a brewing workshop planned for the autumn, a chance for local enthusiasts to share knowledge, make connections and encourage the wider public to develop an interest in brewing and a taste for real ale. It has also been the catalyst for plans to plant and cultivate barley, wheat and rye on the island that are suitable for beer production, to be used by local brewers the following year.
On an island where brewing was once widespread, taking place throughout the island at manors and homesteads, we hope that a sustainable grassroots movement will flourish and take root.
We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you more about this project. Next week the Futurefarmers will be adding their special ingredients to the brew and in approximately three weeks a Belgian style blonde beer will be pulled at local establishments and enjoyed by the general public.
I have attached some images of the museum of seeds on board the boat. Additional images are available on request. Depending on your deadlines, we can send images from the brewery next week and local pubs towards the end of May.
The Seed Journey has been invited to Jersey by The morning boat, a new programme of public and community art projects. The morning boat is funded by the One Foundation and produced by the Jersey Arts Trust.