John Maier, a brewer at Rogue Ales in Newport, Ore., has created a new beer flavor using yeast collected from his 34-year-old facial hair, The Scientist reports.
Maier and the other brewers cultured and tested a yeast strain from nine hairs plucked from his beard, which he says he last shaved in 1978, with the help of White Labs, a San Diego, California-based distributor of brewer's yeast. This particular yeast strain performed like a hybrid between the brewery's house yeast strain, called Pacman yeast — which is used to make most Rogue Ales — and a wild yeast, The Scientist reports.
It also turns out, that this particular yeast strain results in a brew that's "clean in the flavor profile after it fermented, which is very unusual in the wild yeast" as well as a mild, fruity aroma with none of the harsh medicinal flavors sometimes produced by wild yeasts, The Scientist says.
It isn't clear exactly why the strain was only found on Maier's beard and nowhere else in the brewery, but at least one researcher suspect it might have found its way to his whiskers via a fruity dessert, The Scientist adds.
Rogue Ales hopes to release a beer based on the yeast, which they'll call New Crustacean, next spring.