Beard yeast might sound icky at first, but it's really grown on one Oregon brewmaster.
Rogue Ales, a brewery and pub based in Newport, Ore., is developing an ale made out of yeast harvested from the beard of award-winning brewmaster John "More Hops" Maier.
The whole thing started as a joke. Brett Joyce, president of Rogue Ales, told KPTV on Sunday that the folks at Rogue Ales had been trying to harvest a new yeast strain from their hop yard for some time, but with little success.
Then the thought occurred to Joyce, "Why not look for a different place that might have some magic yeast in it?"
Brewery employees took nine follicles from Maier's beard, which Maier says has not been shaved since 1978.
Miraculously, lab workers found a yeast that turned out to be perfect for fermenting beer, according to the brewery's blog.
"This really is the needle in the haystack" Rogue Ales' self-described "mad scientist" John Couchot told KGW. "To find it on our brewmaster is really phenomenal."
Maier says there's no reason to be grossed out by the product. "Yeast is everywhere," he told KPTV.
The beard yeast is currently being used for test brews. Rogue Ales is planning to release the final version of beard beer, which will be called "New Crustacean," in early 2013.