Haná (Barley) is arguably the world’s most important foundation landrace for two-row summer brewing barley. Also known as “Old-Haná agroecotype” and sometimes referred to by its German name of “Hanna,” this heirloom barley originates from the Haná Valley, a fertile agricultural plain in Moravia, which in the 19th century was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is now part of the Czech Republic. See austro-hungarian empire and czech republic. Haná malt’s early claim to fame was that it made up the mash of the first-ever golden-blond Pilsner lager, which was created in the fall of 1842 by Bavarian brewmaster Josef Groll at the Měšťanský Pivovar (Burgher Brewery) of Plzeň (Pilsen) in Bohemia. See pilsner. The subsequent global success of the pilsner beer style not only spawned the planting of Haná barley in many countries around the world but also created the impetus for the establishment of a systematic barley breeding program in Austria-Hungary. The program’s aim was to propagate Haná’s superior agronomic, malting, and brewing properties into other barley varieties for diverse growing environments. One of the most significant results to come out of this pioneering breeding effort was the so-called Proskowetz Hanna Pedigree bred by Emanuel Proskowetz, a Moravian estate owner, economist, and agronomist. Proskowetz Hanna was released in 1884 and planted until 1958. It became the foundation for the next generation of top-performing brewing barleys, perhaps the most significant of which was Opavský Kneifl, bred by Czech botanist F. Kneifl in 1926. Both Proskowetz Hanna and Opavský Kneifl, as carriers of the old Haná genes, passed on their traits to a long succession of highly successful brewing barley varieties, and by the middle of the 20th century, cultivars of Haná origin were considered the best in the world. Of particular genetic importance in the large family of Haná offspring is the Czech cultivar Valtice (or Valtický), developed during the decade before World War II and planted ubiquitously thereafter, as well as the sturdy Czech Diamant, developed between 1956 and 1965, as well as the East German Trumpf (also spelled Triumpf, Triumph, and Trumph), released in 1973. Diamant and Trumpf alone appear in the pedigrees of some 150 barley varieties that have been bred worldwide since the 1970s. In its Czech homeland alone, early 21st-century studies conducted by the Agricultural Research Institute of Kromeriz have found that genes from Haná and its descendants account for the greatest genetic contribution to 137 Czech spring barley varieties developed between 1900 and 1999. The original 19th-century Haná, therefore, although no longer cultivated today, is internationally recognized as the classic genetic progenitor of modern top-quality brewing barleys.
See also beta-glucans and filtration.