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Monday beer links: Yeast family tree, peaches and ‘selling out’


Beer yeast is tame. Wine yeast is wild. Draw your own conclusions.
[Via The Washington Post]
Why we’re so good at making BEER: Study reveals how humans harnessed microbes to create the perfect drink.
[Via Daily Mail]
Domestication and Divergence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Beer Yeasts.
[Via Cell]
If you are feeling brave you may dive right into the third link (peer-reviewed academic/scientific research). Otherwise opt for the newspaper translations (first two). Quite honestly, this stuff if way above my paygrade. Fascinating, but I need serious handholding from people who know what they are talking about to write about it with any confidence. Chapter 6 of Brewing Local is about foraging for yeast, but is downright basic (written in a way I can understand) when it comes to wild versus domesticated. Nonethless, I would call The Washington Post headline oversimplification. You’ll also note that the researchers sequenced only Saccharomyces cerevisiae (top fermenting) strains, leaving Saccharomyces pastorianus for another paper — although it turns out (page 1398) that 10 of the S. cervevisiae strains were used to produce lager beers.

Analysis of farmhouse yeast (kveik).
And then there is the matter of non-industrial yeast strains.

Muri is identified as either lager yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) or its close relative Saccharomyces bayanus. That’s consistent with an earlier analysis White Labs had Accugenix do, but very surprising. How did lager yeast wind up in the innermost arm of Nordfjord, right up under the glacier? Did someone at some point get yeast from a lager brewery? Or is the story more complicated? S. bayanus and S. pastorianus are both cold-tolerant species. Do they live wild in Norway? It seems unlikely, but I’m not sure anyone has ever checked carefully enough to answer with a clear yes or no. (Note: this isn’t the first time lager yeast has shown up where it wasn’t supposed to be.)

[Via Larsblog]

The craft beer project that grew from Masumoto Family Farm’s peach trees.
“Hey, Stan, why isn’t this farmer in Brewing Local?” Sorry, no excuses, David “Mas” Masumoto should have been. [Via Los Angeles Times]

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645 residents; 2 breweries

It turns out Ava, Illinois, population 645 in 2013, really isn’t big enough for two breweries. Too bad, because when a town has one brewery per 322 and a half residents that pretty well ends the breweries per population discussion (Asheville would need 270 to keep up, Portland, Oregon, 1,890).

Carbondale Craft Beer Makers of Little Egypt

Alas, two bits of truth here. First, neither Scratch Brewing nor Carbondale Craft Beer, Makers of Little Egypt is located in Ava. Second, Little Egypt is moving to West Frankfurt. It was fun while it lasted.

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Ava on Saturday; Denver on Oct. 4

Alas, I’ll be elsewhere on those dates, but I’m sure you’ll be happy if you make it to Scratch Brewing’s book release party Saturday in Ava, Illinois, or to Beers Made by Walking’s now annual gathering Oct. 4 in Denver. The basics:

The Homebrewer’s Almanac release party begins at noon in Ava. You should own this book, and in addition they’ve got quite a party planned.

The day will be filled with free events, including book signings, garden and foraging tours, home brew demos. We’ll also have a raffle with tons of great prizes, including tickets to our Oktoberfest (and two handmade Scratch steins); a crate of four of our bottled beers (one which is yet to be released); a beer book pack; a special Chanterelle Biere de Garde home brew kit (with chanterelles!) put together by Windy Hill Hops; and a grand prize SS Brewtech 7 gal Brew Bucket conical stainless fermenter. This is a fantastic opportunity to pick the minds of owner-brewers Marika and Aaron, grab a signed book for yourself or the brewer in your life, and walk away with some great beer prizes. The event is free and will run all day from noon to 10 p.m.

Beers Made by Walking will be held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science this year.

Over 25 of the beers were made specifically for this event by Colorado breweries that have collaborated with us. Each beer is inspired by landscapes in an area of the brewer’s choosing. Brewers have hiked up 14,000 foot mountains, trekked through lush canyons, camped in national parks, and strolled through community gardens to find inspiration. Additionally, Scratch Brewing (Ava) and Fonta Flora (Morganton, NC) will serve a few specialty offerings from their respective portfolios that include beers with foraged ingredients.

Tickets are $35 and the best deal in Denver during Great American Beer Festival week.


Session #115: 12 really good beer books

The SessionClosing on seven years ago I posted a list of 10 really good beer books. As opposed to, say, the Ten Best Beer Books EVER! Of course, many readers missed the disclaimers (why there were no beer and food books and no technical/brewing/homebrewing books), so I know what I may be getting into by bringing it up and adding two books to that list for The Session No. 115 (“The role of beer books”).

The newcomers are The Beer Bible, by Jeff Alworth, and Triplebock: Three Beer Stories by Evan Rail. The latter is intential fiction (as opposed to the unintential beer fiction that far too often finds its way into print). There is some fiction in The Bedside Book of Beer on my original list, but more quality beer fiction sure would be nice. Yes, the former is a resource, a book you can pull off the shelf to find an answer that settles a bar bet. But it is also a book to read from start to finish, to be considered as a whole, because that’s the way Alworth presents the beers within it.

For those who don’t want the short version, here is the original list:

– The Beer Companion.
– Three Sheets to the Wind.
– Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer.
– Beer: The Story of the Pint.
– Travels with Barley: A Journey Through the Beer Culture in America.
– Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink.
– Origin and History of Beer and Brewing.
– The Book of Beer Knowledge.
– The Bedside Book of Beer.
– Faces Along the Bar: Lore and Order in the Workingman’s Saloon, 1870-1920.

Or you can read more.


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