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Wasps (Yes, Wasps) Are Helping Scientists Create a New Kind of Beer

Researchers in North Carolina mashed up a wasp, found a weird yeast, and turned it into award-winning booze. They say it tastes amazing. Would you try it?

Wasp butt beer! OK, technically, they used the whole wasp but I like to think that most of the yeast came from its butt. I had so much fun writing about the microbiology behind this emerging field of wild yeast fermented drinks. Not long ago, people thought good beer could only be made from a few species of yeast. But as it turns out, there is a veritable yeast garden out there just waiting to be harvested. The microbiologist at the center of this story was a treat to talk to, and she even convinced a partnering brewery to send me a can to try. She was clearly anxious that it would get damaged in shipping leading to a negative review, but I found it to be delicious, though I am not an any way an expert--this was my first ever sour beer. And it was pink! There are more beers on the horizon, and other fermented products that I haven't had a chance to try, including a Saki that sounds amazing.

It was my first time writing for October Magazine and I would definitely do so again. Good editors are gems.

Photo credit: Jenny Morber


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