Barley is beer\u2019s crucial component. It supplies the sugars that yeast crunches on to create alcohol. But it\u2019s not the only crop in the mix\u2014brewers that seek new ways to set themselves apart are, increasingly, going against the grain.\r\n\r\nThe ground-up movement takes different forms. Last year, Hopworks Urban Brewery partnered with Patagonia to create Long Root Ale, which featured the perennial wheatgrass Kernza.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt has the spiciness of rye with the slight nuttiness of wild rice,\u201d says Brewmaster Christian Ettinger, who adds that it also needs less water than barley.\r\n\r\nOther ingredients, from oats to spelt, have their own impact on a pint. Here\u2019s the perfect primer on how grains turn an average beer into an extraordinary sip.\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Grains\r\nRice\r\nWhile rice imparts little flavor, it creates a snappy beer with cloud-light body.\r\n\r\nTry: Louisiana\u2019s Great Raft Brewing uses native rice in its heat-cutting Southern Drawl Pilsner.\r\nRye\r\nRye contributes a crisp, peppery complexity and dryness to beer, just like it does to whiskey.\r\n\r\nTry: Smuttynose Brewing Company\u2019s Rhye IPA pairs a spicy rye charge with Citra hops that smack of mango and papaya.\r\nOats\r\nLong used in stouts, oats have made their way into pale ales and IPAs. They contribute creaminess and a smooth, full body.\r\n\r\nTry: Oats give Bell\u2019s Brewery Oatsmobile Ale a bigger body that belies its modest alcohol.\r\nWheat\r\nThe protein-rich grain fashions a full body and mouthfeel, plus it offers a fluffy and lasting head. Wheat can also lend a tart twinge.\r\n\r\nTry: Modern Times Fortunate Islands, a wheat-smoothed beer walloped with tropical aromas.\r\nCorn\r\nIt lightens a beer\u2019s body and contributes a subtle, appealing sweetness.\r\n\r\nTry: 21st Amendment Brewery El Sully, a snappy Mexican-style lager that features flaked maize.\r\nSpelt\r\nThis ancient species of wheat has been cultivated since around 5000 B.C., and it gives beer a nutty sweetness.\r\n\r\nTry: You\u2019ll be taken by the tart rusticity of Kent Falls Brewing Co.\u2019s Field Beer Spelt.