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Bees and Beers

Interesting story from Scientific American about how scientists Anne Madden and Rob Dunn are making beer from Bumble Bee and wasp yeast! Typically the yeast used is one of two types—ale yeast and lager yeast so this is exciting news for beer fans!

“Beer, wine and other booze is made with yeast—single-celled microorganisms from the fungus kingdom. More than 1,500 yeast species are known around the world, and yet humans have essentially relied on only two types of alcohol-producing yeast—ale yeast and lager yeast—since the earliest days of brewing 9,000 years ago...

Yeast live in flower nectar, where the microbes feast on boatloads of sugar. The yeast produce alcohol, along with those sweet aromas that tickle our noses, which in turn attract the buzzing bugs. Bees sometimes get drunk off this fermented nectar...

So far, Madden has found two yeasts, one from a single wasp and one from a single bee, capable of making beer.

“People tend to ask us how many insects died to make beer, and the answer is very few. Once the yeast is separated, we can use the yeast for eternity without going back to those insects” Madden said. “To make all of the different bumblebeers that we’ve made, we’ve killed two bugs. You’ve likely killed more bugs on your way to a bar to get beer.”

Just goes to show that in addition to pollination, honey, wax, royal jelly, etc, there are so many other benefits pollinators have to offer! It’s more important than ever to help save these amazing creatures.

Click here to read more of the Scientific American Article, “The Beers and the Bees: Pollinators Provide a different kind of Brewer’s Yeast.

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