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Columbus may have discovered America but Brewmaster, John Maier, has discovered a new wild yeast that was developed from his old growth beard.

In cooperation with White Labs, samples were collected from Rogue Ales‘ hopyard and sent to White Labs for culture and testing. Sadly, all three samples proved incapable of producing a yeast suitable for brewing.

As a joke, nine beard follicles were carefully cut from the beard of Rogue brewmaster, John Maier. The follicles were placed in a petri dish and sent in for testing.

To the shock of the experts at White Labs, the beard samples had produced a yeast strain that was perfect for use in brewing. Additional testing was conducted and confirmed that the yeast strain was not Rogue’s yeast. White Labs’ Chris White said, “we were shocked and thrilled with this remarkable discovery.”

John has been growing his beard continuously since 1978 and he has claimed that he will never cut it off. When told of the discovery, John said simply, “It was in front of me the whole time and it only took two centuries and five decades to grow.”

The beard yeast is currently being used in test brews to determine the perfect style and yeast combination. The beard beer, New Crustacean, will be released in early 2013.

Rogue Ales and Spirits is dedicated to saving the terroir of Oregon hops, barley and rye, by growing our own, one acre at a time.