Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Brewing Hoppy Beer Without the Hops

Recently, UC Berkeley Biologists, Charles Denby and Rachel Li, have been able to develop a strand of yeast to replicate the hoppy taste craft beer drinkers are craving. By using the gene editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, Denby and Li inserted four new genes plus promoters into a industrial brewer's yeast that came from a mint and basil plant. Two of the four genes inserted were linalool synthase and geraniol synthase, which are enzymes that produce flavors in many different kinds of plants. The other two genes inserted were enzyme boosters originally found in yeast that would promote the hoppy taste created by the linalool and geraniol. Successful strands of yeast created were then tested by a blind comparison taste testing among 27 brewery employees. The yeast hopped beer was compared to two normally dry hopped beers and results came back with the more desirable hoppy taste going towards the one created by the UC Berkeley biologists. This was the first sensory test that Denby and Li had conducted and the results were, "very encouraging," Li said. With one pint of craft beer requiring 50 pints of water to just grow the hops used in making the beer this study could provide a more sustainable way to brew craft beer potentially lowering production costs and agricultural water usages.

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