Mediterranean barley, usually given the generic name of Smyrna, was extremely popular because of its price and adaptability.
Here's what Alfred Barnard had to say about Smyrna barley:
"A remarkable feature of Smyrna and kindred malts is their adaptability to every class of beer that is produced upon the English system. Originally, except perhaps in Scotland where their value was earlier recognised, they were used solely for light pale ales. Now, it is understood, that their use is equally desirable for full-bodied mild ales and even black beers, a very large quantity of these qualities finding their way to Dublin, both in malt and barley. Except in the case of the finest pale ales, where the more costly Moravians are used which themselves supply the same properties in a higher degree, all beers are cleaner, sounder and more brilliant when a portion of Smyrna malt is blended with the heavier English grain. Whilst this is, doubtless, owing, in some measure, to an almost perfect climate where these barleys are grown, it is probably to a still greater extent due to the fact of their being grown on a natural unmanured soil. We believe the yield hardly exceeds one quarter per acre, and the grain is exceedingly light, weighing only about 400 pounds per Imperial quarter, whereas an average English crop will yield from four to six quarters per acre of barley, weighing nearly 448 pounds per quarter. In attaining this, however, there is no doubt that certain constituents have crept in which the brewer is much better without, but they can be largely neutralised by blending them with the pure extract from barley grown under more natural conditions and sunnier skies.
"The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 4" by Alfred Barnard, 1891, pages 540-541.
Sometimes it's hard to know when to stop looking more deeply. Going past brewing, fermentation, chemistry and malting and getting into plant biology and agriculture. Is there any aspect of science without a connection to brewing?