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Do lagers have South American roots?

August 23, 2011 | 11:00 am

LagerEryn Brown reports that scientists searching for the origins of the special yeasts needed to make lager beers, which are fermented at much lower temperatures than others, turned up an intriguing clue recently -- a type of wild yeast that is 95% identical to the hybrid commercial yeast used today. The only problem? It comes from Argentina, and while lager beers have been brewed since the early 1400s, Columbus didn't open South America to Europeans until nearly 100 years later.


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Photo: The orange beech galls that harbor the wild yeast in Argentina. Credit: Diego Libkind.