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New beer created by KPU grad pays homage to scientist grandfather

Beer brewed with triticale, hybrid grain developed by Manitoba professor
KPU grad and brewer Justin Larter created his new beer as a tribute to the work of his grandfather, the late Dr. Edward Larter. (KPU/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

A Kwantlen Polytechnic brewing program grad will be back at the school’s Langley campus Friday (Sept. 29) to unveil a new beer with a significant scientific and family history.

Justin Larter graduated from the KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations program in 2020.

He’s crafted a beer he calls Ed’s Triticale Keller Pils, inspired by the work of his late grandfather, Dr. Edward Larter.

Edward Larter was a University of Manitoba professor who developed a program that led to the synthesis of the wheat-rye hybrid grain triticale.

Although farmers had first experimented with hybridizing wheat and rye in the 19th century, the grains that resulted were often only partly fertile.

In the 1960s, Edward Larter led an international program over 24 years, travelling extensively to establish triticale breeding programs around the world. The crop is now widely used, particularly in multi-grain health food products, animal feed, and for making vodka.

Justin Larter’s new pilsner was brewed in collaboration with KPU brewing instructors Emily Kokonas and Martina Solano Bielen.

“We wanted to highlight the unique properties of this wheat-rye hybrid in a German-style pilsner,” said Justin Larter. “We used un-malted triticale to showcase its rustic characteristics and bring out the ‘breadiness’ of the wheat and spicy character of the rye, which blends really well with cracker notes from the pilsner malt base.”

Justin Larter is currently head brewer of Barnside Brewing, a farm-based Delta brewery. The new beer was brewed using Barnside’s hops, and fermented at a cold temperature.

“We love partnering with our alumni to create collaboration beers,” said Kokonas. “It’s always an opportunity to showcase the innovative work they’re doing in the industry — how they’ve grown their creativity and skills since graduating — and for us to learn and explore using new ingredients and brewing techniques our students will benefit learning about.”

She added that the beer was an opportunity to push boundaries, by using an alternative grain. The KPU Brew Lab has never used triticale before, and also worked with different brewing techniques, including step mashing at different temperatures, and fermenting at a much colder than normal temperature of 7° Celsius, based on traditional European techniques.

“The result is a beautiful floral hop aroma, crisp bitterness, and notes of honeysuckle and spice. I think my grandfather would have loved this beer,” said Justin Larter.

The new brew will be available for sale in growler fills on Friday, Sept. 29 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the KPU Brew Lab at 20901 Langley Bypass. It will also be available at Barnside Brewing’s taproom at 6655 60 Ave., Delta, and on Oct. 5 at the Barley Merchant at 20090 91A Ave., Langley.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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