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All about beer stuff and stuff about beer. It might be trivia, it might be quirky beer gadgets or it could be vital beer info. Regardless, it's all about the beer.



Scientists from around the world have teamed up in an attempt to create artificial brewing yeast by 2017.

While still four years away, according to those in the project, scientists have already planned to build the genome of a eukaryotic organism in a move which should lead to cheaper, more consistent and even stronger mass-produced beer.

The genome is the name given to the genetic blueprint of any organism that stores its DNA in each nucleus. The list of such organisms includes animals and plants, though bacteria is too primitive.

The push for artificial yeast is being driven by the Imperial College London's Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, headed by Professor Paul Freemont.

“It’s a massive leap forward. Yeast is a eukaryote – it’s a much more complicated cell. These are chromosomes that mimic the chromosomes in our own cells,” he said.

”Yeasts have evolved over millions of years, making energy from sugars and excreting alcohol and carbon dioxide gas.

“Humans have adapted these organisms to our advantage, using their by-products to make alcoholic drinks and risen baked goods. Now we have the opportunity to adapt yeasts further, turning them into predictable and robust hosts for manufacturing the complex products we need for modern living."

The aim of the research is to create new yeasts that could cope with more alcohol and demand less energy.

“The brewing industry is very interested in this project for any new opportunities it may present as they use yeast to manufacture beer," Professor Freemont said.

“One of the aims of the project is to develop this yeast strain as a vehicle that you can put in new chemical pathways and directly manipulate it in a way that is not possible at the moment.

“Clearly there are strains of yeast that are highly resistant to alcohol, but they all die off as the alcohol gets higher, so making more alcohol resistant strains will be very useful for that industry in terms of cost value.

“Strains that are metabolically more optimal and don’t require as much energy will also be useful.”

The UK Government has tipped a million pounds into the research in the hopes of getting even more Scotsmen drunker, faster and for less money, Science Minister David Willetts didn't say.

What he actually said was: “This research is truly groundbreaking and pushes the boundaries of synthetic biology.

"Thanks to this investment, UK scientists will be at the centre of an international effort using yeast – which gives us everything from beer to biofuels – to provide new research techniques and unparalleled insights into genetics. This will impact important industrial sectors like life sciences and agriculture.”



Image courtesy of the Shield's Gazette

What would you do if you went to a beer festival and paid to sample around 30 different beers, only to find the place had been drunk dry?

Luckily, this happened at the Ashbrooke Beer Festival in Sunderland last month, not in Scotland or Germany. 

Organisers are blaming fine, warm, sunny weather (well, they are English) for forcing it to close a day early when the beer ran out.

The annual beer festival in Sunderland, England was forced to close down a full day early this year after it ran out of beer.

More than 1000 people turned out at the festival, which had a range of 30 different types of (mostly British) beer on offer. 

Starting on the Friday night, it was scheduled to finish in a wild and crazy Sunday night in, presumably, British rain.

Sadly, the local paper, the Shield's Gazette, reported that not only did the party goers drink their way through the festival's 30 beers, but they then drank their way through the Ashbrooke Sports Club's booze supplies as well.

After they tore through the beer by stumps on Saturday night, the festival's drinkers even drained the wine and, amazingly, cava (go to Fiji, then you'll understand why this is amazing) areas. 




It’s time for the Ashes. For most Australians and Englishmen, nothing else matters right now except for cricket’s oldest competition. It’s five five-day test matches played on the longest tour in cricket and England has won three out of the last four Ashes tours.

But there's no better way to watch The Ashes than with a beer or two, so The Ashes means it’s also time for The Bashes.

Beeriosity’s version of The Ashes pits the best 11 Australian beers versus the best 11 English beers, just like in the real Ashes.

Unlike The Ashes, though, the English won’t be allowed to substitute in South African beers, Welsh beers, Scottish beers, New Zealand beers or even Australian beers to hide their weaknesses. It will just be English beers.

And just as a cricket team has its batting and bowling divisions, with an all-rounder who can do both and a wicket keeper who is just a bit different to everybody else, so will The Bashes.

One beer style won’t dominate the team, so each team will have ales, it will have lagers, it will have porters and it will have IPAs, plus an oddball to cover the wicket keeping position.

Beeriosity will announce its 15-beer squads for both the Australian and English teams for The Bashes on Friday, with the run-on teams announced on Monday.



They’ve been busy at BrewDog. So crazy has the Scottish craft brewer’s ice distillation process become for its big ABV range that it’s decided to go all the way and make a spirit.

It now has WattDickie on sale in its UK bars and on its website, with a 35% ABV (oddly, a lower level than some of its beers) and a patent pending on the distillation process.

Even so, BrewDog can’t quite figure out what to call it. In spite of being Scottish, they’re pulling up short of calling it Scotch Whiskey, largely because they’ve based it on an IPA beer style.

“WattDickie is beyond innovation,” James Watt (the “Watt” in “WattDickie”) insisted. “This is alchemy and apothecary. There was no hypothesis here, no ‘grand plan’. Just an innate need to see what was possible.

“We went to the limits of brewing and took a match to them. WattDickie shakes maniacally at the foundations of what’s expected of us and of everything around us.

“This is science fiction. It’s the dawn of a new era. Welcome to a strange new world.”

James Watt (no, not the steam engine Watt. He’s long dead, probably from drinking too many Sink the Bismarks) may seem overly excited, but that stems from the WattDickie’s origins.

For years, the Delirium Tremens was the world’s strongest commercial beer in ABV terms, then BrewDog got itself into a friendly bit of competition with a German brewer which saw them leapfrog each other with the ABVs of their beers.

To get there, BrewDog developed its own distillation rigs and, during a quite moment, it decided to use it to make the first BrewDog product that wasn’t a beer.

“What we have here is not beer, but it’s alter-ego. This is Mr Hyde,” Martin Dickie (the “Dickie” in WattDickie) said.

“This is a srink brewed by the misfits for the misfits. It’s a beautiful, absurd experiment,” he insisted.

While invented and made at BrewDog, WattDickie has been cut out of the herd and will be its own brand, with its own logo. Why?

“This is the bastard son of subversion and invention – the first original spirit style in decades,” Mr Watt said. “It was a breach birth from reckless and weird brains. It’s not something we, or anyone else, can replicate.”




Bands have their own beers, so why not a television show?

The hit US television show, Breaking Bad, is getting its own beer to celebrate its final season.

Brewed by Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Marble Brewery (which regularly features on the show), the beer will be called Heisenberg’s Dark and is named after Walter White’s drug dealer character. 

Marble has conceived the India Black Ale as a tribute to the end of the series and was announced on Breaking Bad’s Instagram feed.

It’s unlikely the beer will be available across the US in time for the last eight episodes, which air from August 11.

Breaking Bad isn’t the first television show to have its own beer, though. Ommegang has brewed a full line of Game of Thrones beers and Stone Brewing has a tie up with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Even winemakers aren’t immune, with Wines that Rock announcing recently that it was developing a tipple for the slow-paced, annoyingly addictive Downton Abbey.

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