Barley is distinguished by the amount of rows grow along the stem. According to my research, there is 2 row, 4 row, and 6 row varieties. 2-row is apparently the most popular in Europe, while 6-row is more favorable in the US. Why?
Taste, I guess. 2-row is said to be more starchy and 6-row starches can more quickly be converted into sugar.
So, let's recap. Grain is the basic element of beer and the most popular grain is Barley. Barley can arguably be grown several places which offer a cooler climate and flat land. I would suppose there are gentle differences in the barley from different areas of the world and I hope further research into beer will provide a glimpse into the role Barley and it's geography play in the final outcome of particular beers.
Stay tuned for Beer Lesson #2 when we learn what to do with all this Barley....