Welcome…to the Yeast of TOMORROWWWW! I know, way too obvious, but I had to. Mia in the Library found this one while sorting through old materials for filing. And by old, I mean 1949; back then, beer companies were apparently using their unparalleled yeast science as points of marketing pride. Quoth the pamphlet:
"From the very beginning of recorded history, man preferred and treasured certain beers, wines, and bread-starter doughs without knowing the scientific reason for his preference.
"Later, with the aid of the microscope, man found that this preference was actually due to the character of yeast strains. Progress, however, was extremely slow because man was still working with wild yeast strains."
Thankfully, the microscope and the microscopic instruments that came after made short work of brew progress (hopefully, most companies also stopped attributing everything to man), and beer science got down to the business of separating and cultivating yeast strains.
"Today, with hybridization of yeast still in its infancy, the possibilities for tomorrow are truly unlimited."
Not sure we’re still seeing that sort of assurance in today’s commercials—mostly pictures of harvested hops falling in slow motion, or chrome trains riding blizzards through beach parties. But there’s no denying the extent to which the beer industry has relied on plant and fungi science over the years. Stay tuned for more from the archives of our Mertz Library, be it weird or otherwise. —MN
July 11, 2013
Locavores rejoice! Er, not for New York’s actual ranking as far as locavore-friendly states go—we’re still pulling a failing grade on that front, sadly. But, we are on the up and up, in part thanks to that most wondrous of beverages: beer.
While it’s been common for U.S. breweries to import farm-grown ingredients from Europe and elsewhere, the forward march of craft brew know-how brings with it a regional pride that demands something grown a little closer to home. The NYBG and The Bronx Brewery took a step in the right direction last year when we started growing hops in our Family Garden, hops that are being used by our brewery friends to make unique local beers.
Now, Brooklyn Brewery is making waves on the wheat and barley front, using grains grown as near as upstate Watertown, NY. At a run of 6,000 bottles, “Greenmarket Wheat” is a small step, but an important one. In time, greater demand for local beer ingredients could be the push U.S. farmers need to grow more wheat, barley, and hops. Click through for more, then schedule a beer distributor detour on the way home from work tonight. —MN
July 19, 2012
Molson Releases Beer Coasters that Grow into Trees
All right, chalk this one up to creative advertising at its best. I’m as much of a cynic as any when it comes to clever marketing ploys, but being able to totter into my back yard and plant my beer coaster at the end of the night is admittedly a pretty cool idea.
As part of Molson’s “Red Leaf Project,” the beer company is urging its fellow Canadians to get involved with restoring the country’s green spaces, distributing biodegradable coasters seeded with…well, seeds. Black Spruce seeds, specifically. Just plant them in a place legal to do so, and wait several years to see the fruits of your besotted labors.
Sadly, most Americans will miss out on this one, even if they do manage to get their hands on a Canadian seed coaster. Northern New York is about as far south as these trees will grow. But wherever you end up trying this, be sure you’re not mistakenly picked up for littering with lager on your breath. I don’t know that any police officer’s going to believe you’re actually planting trees. —MN
June 15, 2012
BEER HERE @NYHistory: Brewing in the Bronx
Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History looks at the tradition of brewing in the city from the first Dutch settlers through to modern day. And that tradition has seen a lot of changes. In 1880 New York State was the largest producer of hops in the country, and the city boasted numerous breweries and beer halls…
As you may or may not already know, The Bronx Brewery has thrown in with our lot for a challenge of Brobdingnagian proportions. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration—they’re uber-talented beer brewers, but I just wanted to toss off that word at some point before the end of the workday.)
The Urban Hops project is already underway, with the NYBG and The Bronx Brewery having joined with community gardens to plant over 120 Cascade hop vines around our borough. What comes of these plants will be used to brew a truly original Bronx beer, the profits of which will go right into the Bronx Green-Up program. It’s pretty neat business.
The Urban Hop brew won’t hit bottles until fall, but if you want to get a taste of what the BB folks are doing with craft beer these days, there’s a pair of perfectly good opportunities this Saturday, June 16, 2 and 4 p.m., at the New York Historical Society’s weekend Beer Here event. The brains behind the brewery will be in attendance, as will their sudsy-delicious concoctions. Click through for more info. —MN
May 21, 2012
The Bronx Brewery partners with The New York Botanical Garden and Bronx community to form The Urban Hop Project
Raise a (virtual) glass with us in welcoming this sudsy delicious collaboration! ~AR
October 9, 2011
It’s October, and that means it’s officially pumpkin beer-drinking season! But just where did the concept of pumpkin beer come from? Thankfully our friends at Serious Eats have tracked down all the details, including why Colonial Americans replaced malt in their beer with pumpkins, a pretty little ditty, and the brewery that invoked a pumpkin beer brewing renaissance. Check it out, but be warned, you might end up a little thirsty. Good thing we’ve got our Bugs and Brews event coming up soon!
August 8, 2011
According to The Medieval Garden Enclosed, the blog of the Bonnefont garden at the Cloisters in upper Manhattan, the now ubiqutous flavoring agent of beer, hops, was not commonly used until the 15th century. Hops, Humulus lupulus are a fascinating (and tasty) crop, and you can check them out in person in the Herb Garden here at The New York Botanical Garden.
Prior to the introduction of hops to brewing, summer intern Bryan Stevenson tells us that beer in Europe was flavored with an assortment of herbs including stinging nettles (Urtica dioca) for bitterness, alecost (Tanacetum balsamita) for flavor and body, and a mixture of herbs known as gruit. Head over and read the whole fascinating story on The Medieval Garden Enclosed.