It's odd how little we talk about barley. Hops we know like our family members--their varieties and properties, how to use them, what changes flavor in our beer, how to grow and dry them. Barley? I doubt one in a hundred people in a bar could name a single strain we grow for malting here in the US. Malting is if anything more mysterious than the barley itself. I have written at length about beer and have even visited a malthouse or two--and yet I have no real idea what distinguishes the way one pale malt is malted from another.