I can still remember reading this dude’s book for the first time. I remember distinctly that it felt like a call to action, but even so, I think that year’s edition of MD would have had a hard time imagining what a seismic, life-changing decision that fateful first five gallons of Extra Pale Ale wort actually represented, charting a course and starting a common thread to run through the next couple-three decades and connecting me with a network of like-minded deviants (Summit Brewing founder Mark Stutrud’s term, not mine; but I wear it with pride) all over the world. Continue reading →
I’ve found I tend to get excited about oddly specific (and admittedly sometimes just odd) things; not quite phases, more like a recurring orbit. Hard bop. Rorquals. American wheat beer. Tradition hops.
It has been clear that the lager yeast is a hybrid with one portion of its genome having originated from S. cerevisiae ale yeast  . However, the source of the non-ale subgenome, which endows lager yeast with cold tolerance, had been a matter of debate  . 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  . 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.
I generally don’t hold truck with aftermarket modifications to traditional lagers, but if somebody put a gun to my head and said I had to add dried chipotle morita peppers to a bottom-fermented European beer, this might be a pretty good recipe for it. Continue reading →