Tibetan origins of lager yeast?

Vectored from Current Biology via Ed’s Beer Site:

It has been clear that the lager yeast is a hybrid with one portion of its genome having originated from S. cerevisiae ale yeast [2] . However, the source of the non-ale subgenome, which endows lager yeast with cold tolerance, had been a matter of debate [3] . Recently, a Patagonian origin hypothesis of lager yeast has been proposed based on the discovery of a new cryotolerant Saccharomyces species from Patagonian native forests of Argentina [4] . This yeast, named S. eubayanus, exhibited the closest known match (99.56%) to the non-ale portion of lager yeast and, thus, was believed to be its progenitor. However, we now show that this yeast species is likely native to the Tibetan Plateau. One of the Tibetan populations of the species exhibits closer affinity with lager yeast than the Patagonian population as inferred from population genetics and genome sequence analyses. We thus provide strong evidence for a Far East Asian origin hypothesis of lager yeast, which apparently corresponds better with geography and world trade history.

Pretty cool – and much more intuitive than a Patagonian origin, what with the aforementioned geography and history (maybe it traveled via a horsehide bagful of kumis strapped to some Mongolian saddle?), and also what with China as a possible origination point for the Saccharomyces species.

Hardly scientific, but Tibetan monks and bock-brewing Franciscans in the Alps make a pleasing kind of cultural symmetry. Plus: yetis.

 

populist things and impossible questions

I swear to Crom that as soon as I clean out some kegs and get a day to myself there will be another brew day writeup, citizens – maybe even some how-to pieces – but for now, some gentle pontificating.

Recently, Collin at Brewed for Thought wrote about the problematic notion of “best” breweries or beers, as promulgated by those “Top 10” clickbait lists you see everywhere:

“The whole reason we have 3000 breweries in this country is because we, the beer drinking public, have rejected the Highlander, there-can-be-only-one conception of breweries.”

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recap: NHC 2014

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To be honest, I worked a lot and didn’t get out much, but what I did see of this year’s National Homebrew Conference was great – a little more intimate than Philly, I picked up a couple new books to read; there was lots of interesting homebrew (see beet juice Berliner Weisse in the slideshow, and a 14.5% October beer shared at the banquet) and a lively local beer scene. It was a privilege to meet some of you blog readers in meatspace and share a beer.

brew day: Wies’n-Märzen

Wiesen/Wies’n

Among several words that are confusingly similar to the non-German speaker, this one means “meadow”. It implies a beer brewed for a carnival or festival (an Oktoberfest beer may be described as a Wies’n Marzen) or a rustic speciality.

Michael Jackson, beerhunter.com

 

“There is a popular myth that there is one distinctive style of beer brewed for Oktoberfest – but historical evidence shows there have been many changes in the beers served at the festival … in the first 60 or so years the then popular Bavarian dunkel seems to have dominated … up until World War I, Bock-strength beers dominated the Wiesn. For decades reddish-brown Marzenbier ruled the tents, but … since 1990 all Oktoberfest beers brewed in Munich have been of a golden color … with medium body and low to moderate bitterness.”

Conrad Seidl, The Oxford Companion to Beer

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