The Godfather of Barley | Fork In The Road

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By: Naomi Kerchinsky

Throughout our lives we come upon many different forks in the road. What road we decide to take leads us one way or another, and makes all the difference in where we end up next. For Bob Sutton, at each of these forks and transitions in his life, he remained calm, allowing one season of his life to change to the next, always valuing the importance of enjoying what he was doing above all else, and for him that has made all the difference in his success. To celebrate the Godfather of Barley’s retirement, Troubled Monk’s newest beer Fork in the Road Pale Ale is a beer by Bob and a beer for Bob.

Fork In The Road Pale Ale - Troubled Monk
Fork in the Road
ABV 5.6%
IBU 38
SRM 5.4

Easy-Drinking Old School Pale Ale

Fork in the Road pours clear, dark gold with a fine off-white head. The malt comes through as crackers under the hops, which deliver citrus and floral aromas. The taste is light and refreshing. The bitterness is mild and tapers off quickly. Carbonation accentuates the hop notes of citrus, pine, and floral. The malt provides just a little sweetness and a bit of nuttiness. This old-school pale ale is an easy drinker.

Fork In The Road Pale Ale - Troubled Monk

Fun Fact: Barley Bob is a shortened version of a nickname he got from a barley buyer in Alix; Barley Bob the Farmer’s Friend (BBFF) – the ultimate best friend.

From Forks to Spoons

Retirement offers a vantage point, a place to look back and reflect on how you ended up here. For Barley Bob, he fell into things in an interesting way. Instead of mapping out the direction his life would go, he let some of these forks in the road decide his next step. For most, this is the road less traveled: remaining relaxed and letting life lead the way. In doing so, he helped grow a local family company in Alix, Alberta. Rahr Malting makes some of the best, most consistent, highest quality malt in the entire world. And most importantly, he built relationships with friends, family, farmers, international business people, and work colleagues that would always be happy to be in his company and join him for a beer.

Of the many forks that led Barley Bob to here, the first fork appeared when applying for his first job in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He applied to a grain elevator and a paper mill. The grain elevator called first. Cha-ching! As he worked this job, Bob realized he wanted work that would bring him indoors. And with the grain elevator threatening a strike, Bob decided to pack his car, move to Alberta, and there he began working for the Alberta wheat pool doing grain inspections. A big part of this job was analyzing malt samples, which began to inform him about the process of turning barley to malt and malt to beer. Beer has always been Bob’s favourite beverage, so being part of the process of making something he loved gave him joy. This led him to pursue a full-time job in the malting industry, where he became a traveling salesman for Rahr Malting in Alix for 25-plus years. This job took him around the world as he sold barley to Brazil, Japan, and Korea before he got to witness the surge of the craft brewing industry take off in Canada and U.S.A. His success came from listening to his customers and getting them the product they needed, pursuing the right farmers to get malt that met Rahr’s standards. He never shortcut the process, ensuring the quality his buyers needed in order to make delicious beer.

When asked what will be the next fork in the road for Bob, he replied, “Oh, I am done with forks now, I will just use a spoon.” For Bob, this means brewing beer in his garage, hanging with his grandchildren, and exploring Red Deer & Central Alberta now that he has more time at home.

Beer By Bob, Beer For Bob

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. Bob took the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference. Craft beer would not be where it is today without Barley Bob, the Godfather of Barley. So, to celebrate his retirement, we brought Bob in and replicated his first beer ever. Fork In The Road is a beer by Bob, and it’s a beer for Bob.

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