BY: AYA TSINTZIRAS
Rogue Beer has found an ingredient in an unlikely place: their Brewmaster’s beard.
John Maier, who joined the company in 1989 after a career as an engineer, hasn’t shaved his beard since 1978. Brett Joyce, Rogue’s president, was looking for a new place to find yeast, and joked about finding it in Maier’s beard. The idea took and nine of Maier’s hairs were used to grow yeast. Beard Beer was born.
The beer has four ingredients that are pretty standard: water, hops, barley, and yeast, with the last ingredient made from beard yeast. If that grosses you out, Rogue is aware: the description on their website reads, “No need to freak out, brewers have used wild yeast in beer making for centuries.”
If you are still grossed out, consider that there are actually no beard hairs in the drink, and that yeast plays a significant role in beer making by fermenting sugar into alcohol. It’s the same product with a new process. As Maier says, “Yeast is everywhere.”
As you can tell from the name of the company, Rogue is dedicated to being different. An excerpt from their very long mission statement reads “a desire and a willingness to change the status quo.”
The most surprising part of beer made from beard yeast? Apparently it tastes pretty good. Reviewers describe it as spicy and fruity, tasting like citrus and banana.