Five Brewers Experimenting with Yeast | Wine Enthusiast
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Five Brewers Experimenting with Yeast

Yeast is the key ingredient that turns wort, the sugary liquid derived from boiling grain, into beer. While most beer styles call for just one strain of yeast, some brewers push the limits and work with two or more. It can add deeper character and complexity for a taste that truly stands out in the glass.

Samuel Adams Sam ’76

The Boston Beer Company

This recent hit combines lager yeast, which enjoys cooler temperatures during fermentation, with ale yeast that’s best bathed in warmth. The beer is both crisp and fruity, reminiscent of a Kölsch. It’s a pleasant everyday sipper, not to mention an oasis during airport layovers.

Two Lights

Allagash Brewing Company

Both wine lovers and beer fans can get behind this seasonal release brewed with Sauvignon Blanc must and then fermented with both Champagne and lager yeasts. It sports a bright, effervescent flavor with aromas akin to a wine spritzer.

Bière Gris

Little Beast Brewing

A collaboration with Boedecker Cellars, this starts as Pinot Gris juice inoculated with lactobacilli and then blended with wort. The mixture is fermented with Saccharomyces. Brettanomyces is added in secondary fermentation, after which it’s aged on oak for six months. Vinous, floral and slightly tart, this weighs in at a hefty 9.4% alcohol.

Saison de Bois

Yazoo Brewing Company

This is a welcome reward after a long day of outdoor work. The Belgian farmhouse-style ale is made from oats, Pilsner malt and aged hops, then fermented with a classic Wallonian yeast that imparts an unmistakable Belgian flavor. After it’s aged in 600-liter oak casks, the ale receives a pinch of Brettanomyces, which imparts a slight lemony acidity.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf Bière de Garde Ale

Mad Fritz Brewing Co.

This malt-forward ale is lovely when fresh, but it takes on complexity with time. Fermented with both Belgian Schelde and French Saison yeast, it’s aged in a Chardonnay puncheon and gets a small amount of Champagne yeast before bottling. The result is earthy and spicy, reminiscent of the wine and wood, and offers a dry finish.