This months Friday session got one week additional sending in time because the original host couldn't host the session due to his stolen laptop. Bad for him - good for me, because I wouldn't have had my article ready by last Friday.
In 2000 I was a on a school trip down to Istanbul. We boarded the plane in Munich and had a little beer party after someone screamed after lift off: "again again, let's start again!". We visited the Efes brewery, probably the biggest brewery in Turkey, on our 3rd day. As we were professional brewers we got a, how should I call it, a "backstage" tour. Our guide was the head brewer itself. Man, this guy had knowledge!
When we entered the brew house I counted about 8 - 10 vessels (I don't recall the exact number any more), each 600 hl in capacity. But there were also some smaller boiling vessels. We asked the head brewer about them and he told us that they use rice as adjunct. This topic was at that time completely new to me. Rice can't be cooked with malt in one process due to compound differences. It has to be done separately in an adjunct cooker. Later on the liquids are mixed. It's mainly done due to the availability of the raw material and of course because of the price. I later on had a discussion with one of my teachers about the Porter style and about the purity law.
Back in Germany I tried to get some other adjunct beers. Once I finished my brewer apprenticeship we went for a dinner to a Japanese restaurant. They offered Kirin Lager, which of course, is brewed with rice in addition. From there on I have preferred rice beers due to their softness compared to 100% malt beers.
There aren't that many rice beers on the European market. I would encourage craft brewers to try and brew beers with adjuncts. There are many adjuncts available. There is manioc, sorghum and a number of rarer corns around. It's just a matter of knowledge - or just trial and error.
Rice photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/karmadude/ - CC