From a brewing company whose flavor folio includes “Good Chit Pilsner” and “OREgasmic Ale,” a beer made with yeast pulled from nine strands of human beard hair probably shouldn’t be too surprising — but it is a little gross.
The hairs in question belong to a one John Maier, brew master of Rogue Ales in Newport, Ore., which – in search of its next signature yeast – decided “for fun” to toss the strands of Maier’s 34 year old beard into a culture plate, and found the resulting yeast produced a beer whose aroma was “mild” and “fruity” and “lacked any harsh, medicinal flavors that sometimes result from using wild yeast.” Never mind the teensy-weensy molecules of dead human skin.
According to yeast ecologist Kyria Boundy-Mills, the surprising yeast probably got deposited on the 57 year old Maier’s beard sometime during his 20 years of brewing experience – possibly even being a hybrid of Rogue’s own house yeast (called “Pacman” yeast) and a wild strain.
The result? A beer with a spicy flavor profile which Rogue president Brett Joyce says they don’t want to mask, and in fact, intend to make into a new beer for next spring: the New Crustacean, the more hirsute companion to the brand’s existing Old Crustacean Barleywine.
I don’t know about you, but I foresee this being a pretty hard one to sell at parties. “Oh don’t worry, it doesn’t have any actual human beard in it. No, no just beard yeast.”
I think I’ll keep my Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, thanks.
H/T: The Scientist, Tim Bulone