the lambic

The Lambic: Belgian Microbe Magic

Cantillon Tucked away in a small alley in Brussels, there’s a brewery that still practices open fermentation. Hundreds of yeast and bacteria in the air (the “open” part) are responsible for brewing (the “fermentation” part) a very special kind of beer called the lambic. Unlike other breweries you may have visited, this one has no sterile steel tanks, no shiny floors, and no smell of disinfecting compounds. Spiderwebs cover the barrels, the ceiling, and all the other nooks and crannies. The arachnids are well fed by gnats and fruit flies swarming around the barrels of fermenting beer. Bungholes ooze with…

beer yeast

We Bow to Yeast

Fun Guys There are many factors that determine beer flavor, but the most finicky and temperamental of them all is the yeast. Beer yeast fall under Kingdom Fungi, and as the name suggests, they are indeed fun guys. Before we get this party started though, a little beer science. Preparing the Ingredients There are three main ingredients that go into making beer: water, barley, and hops. Yeast is the activating agent. The grain must first be partially sprouted; we call this process “malting”. Malting causes the plant to produce a starch-breaking enzyme that turns starch into simple sugars. Beer yeast…