I'll never make fun of academic research again

Except maybe literary research, since I've done my share and must live with it.  all in all, though, I'm delighted to live in the golden age of beer research.  From The Denver Post. Cheers.

Evolution of beer: CU research on DNA cracks the lager code
The University of Colorado School of Medicine can do Homer Simpson one better. When the docs are done with the belching, they stick a nice lager into a genetic-sequencing machine.

They search for something deeper than the foam in a freshly tapped keg — yeast holds keys to human evolution because of similarities in the organisms' DNA.

And now those CU researchers have solved an ancient, beer-soaked mystery — how 15th-century Bavarian monks stumbled upon a yeast from halfway around the world that allowed them to brew lager beer in the cold.

Two strains of yeast helped the monks invent lager, which, unlike ale-style beers, can ferment in a cool cave. Brewers and scientists have long known one of those strains, but the other was a puzzle.

A Patagonian puzzle, it turned out. An Argentine researcher collecting yeast strains for wider experiments came across one from his home country that largely matched present-day brewers yeast.

The sequencing team speculates the extra, cold-friendly yeast strain came to Europe at the start of ship trading more than 500 years ago. Until then, the dominant ale-style beer was fermented in the traditional warm-yeast method.

The new yeast rode — perhaps — as slime in a ship cask or in the belly of a fruit fly.

Monks failing at making cold beer taste good unknowingly brewed a batch "contaminated" with the new yeast, discovered a quality lager by accident and have been repeating it ever since.


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