Lager beer's consummation has been trailed to 15th century Bavaria, according to a new study.
Scientists in Berlin utilizing what are called next-generation sequencing techniques have traced the origins of the yeast used in making lager beer to 15th century Bavaria.
Many discrete kinds of beers now exist, including ales, lagers, pilsners, and ciders, to name the most popular few. The original and adaptable yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae was used to craft ales, wine, and even bread. But lager, like other innovations, was discovered unintentionally. Bavarians first observed that beer stored in caves during the winter months continued to ferment the researchers noted.
The new iteration was decidedly more delectable and less cumbersome than heavy ales. The lager vanguard evolved into a staple trend, commanding the 19th and 20th-century beer palates, most notably in America.
Lager yeasts differ from ale yeasts, as the former are hybrid strains consisting of S cerevisiae and S eubayanus, the second of which was discovered in 2011. As of now, lagers control 94 percent of the global beer consumer base. However, there’s disagreement in the beer community in the strains’ origins.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison were able to clone a genome of S eubayanus employing the next-generation sequencing bio-technology. They compared it to the domesticated lager crossbreed that is currently used in lager-style beers, providing scientists insight into the complete genetic profiles of both parental yeast pedigrees.
The data shows two independent evolution scales for S cerevisiae and Seubanyus. The results conclude that yeast evolution has branched off into different strains numerous times throughout history. Thus, the Saaz and Frohberg lineages (identified by their place origin) were manifested by the separation of the S eubayanus strain.
Co-author Chris Todd Hittinger of the University of Wisconsin-Madison notes, “Lager yeasts did not just originate once. This unlikely marriage between two species, genetically as different from one another as humans and birds, happened at least twice.” Hittinger adds, “Although these hybrids were different from the start, they also changed in some predictable ways during their domestication.”