A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Gary Gillman -

Here is my conjecture: beech wood is used to clarify beer, the famous beechwood chips. Bohemia used it and Anheuser-Busch picked it up from there. Beech from South America ended up in Bohemia for this purpose and being used directly in the beer-making process, the yeasts used before that, which may have been just ale yeast or the hybrid of two ale yeasts mentioned in the article that is the proto-lager yeast, became perfected for lager-making by admixture with the yeast clinging to the South American beechwood.

There is some evidence that bottom yeast ideally suited to lagering came to Germany from Bohemia, Michael Jackson has written about this. He also stated that lagering may have started in the 1500's despite some suggestions to the contrary, which ties in with Columbus and all that.



Gary Gillman -

It's also possible that beech in Europe has given rise to similar yeast colonies - maybe that is the missing .5% in the match. Still, I incline to thinking that the South American yeast was resident in the wood when it was imported to Central Europe. If there is any evidence of beech imports from South America to Bohemia in the early 1500's, that would make the theory much stronger in my view.


Kat -

That is from the LA Times, though. I read about his yesterday Discover magazine: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/08/22/raise-your-pints-to-the-patagonian-fungus-that-helped-us-to-brew-lager/

No invention mentioned, just "helped". History of lager remains intact?

Alan -

Good point - the journalists word. But I am now interested in the whole time line and hope the scientists stop by.

Gavin Sherlock -

My understanding was that lager began at the end of the Middle Ages, but only gained broader popularity in the 1800s, due to the advent of refrigeration. What the paper just published did was identify a new species of yeast (that they named S. eubayanus) that is either one of the two parents of lager yeast (the other parent being S. cerevisiae), or extremely closely related to it. This was based on genome sequence data. The confounding part is that they identified it in South America, not Europe, where the lager style began, and they haven't yet found it in Europe. It could mean that the lager yeasts used when lager first started being made were different to those used in the 1800s, and that those ones could have derived from yeast brought back from South America, or alternatively, maybe S. eubayanus is in Europe, but just hasn't been found yet, or was in Europe, but for some reason isn't any longer. As a yeast geneticist, I thought it was a pretty nice piece of work.

Jeff Alworth -

Alan, did you get the email from U WIsconsin with a link to the paper? They sent it to me (you beat me to the blog), but I'm happy to forward it along.

Alan -

Hey, Jeff. No, I didn't get that link but had this earlier post on yeasts that triggered my memory. If you have the actual paper, please do forward it. That would be great!

olllllo -

I'm imagining there is a race to create the first Patagonian Beech Lager.

Pith helmeted Calgione and Dr McGovern depart from a Steamer in a float plane as Brew Dog James negotiates with the TTB on his orange colored bottle with Beech Galls flanked on either side. A cabal of PNW bloggers secretly invent a Cascadian Beech tree which predates the Continental Drift.

No it's not a pretty picture.

dave -

It seems the people doing the research are trying to pair their found "Sacchyromyces eubyanus" with other yeast to see if they can create a pairing similar in nature to the "eubayanus-cerevisiae" (Lager yeast) pairing .

"The original S. eubayanus-cerevisiae pairing was a lucky accident. But with several similar yeast strains with as yet undiscovered talents as brewers, Libkind plans to test other combinations of yeasts. “It's anyone's guess how good those products will be,” Christopher Todd Hittinger, co-author on the paper, says." http://www.fastcompany.com/1775738/brewing-a-designer-beer

I could definitely see Cascadian Beech Lager becoming a style, and then getting its own beer day.

Hasski -

Lager was invented by a Canadian company in an effort to get more women (and indirectly more men) in pubs. Adding bubbles was pretty much all it took