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For an Easier Brew

Parallel 49, a brewery in Vancouver, is teaming up with microbiologists to study the yeast it uses in a tricky-to-make beer, CBC reports.

The beer, a Belgian-style ale dubbed Wild Ride, is brewed using two yeast strains, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Brettanomyces, but Thompson Rivers University's Breanne McAmmond says that can cause problems, according to CBC. "But when you add in the second variable, there's two players in the game. And sometimes they butt heads, and sometimes the beer just won't turn out. So time-wise, it's very expensive," she says. CBC notes that Parallel 49 has paused its production of WildRide.

By sequencing the yeast, though, the brewers and researchers hope to pinpoint what in the yeasts' genomes yields the beer's flavor profile, CBC says. If they do that, they could then try to coax one yeast strain to express all those flavor genes and remove the other strain from the brewing equation.

"[Parallel 49] is really wanting to understand how the two yeasts interact metabolically ... what compounds they share and how they interact genetically," TRU's Jonathan Van Hamme tells the CBC.