News / Science & Technology

Brewer Mixes Loves of Paleontology, Microbiology, Beer

Brewer Combines Loves of Paleontology, Beeri
X
June Soh
June 25, 2014 10:20 AM
There may not seem to be much of connection between paleontology and beer. But a brewery in the Washington suburbs would not agree. The brewers teamed up with a microbiologist and a paleontologist to create a beer with an unusual ingredient: yeast from a millions-year-old fossil. VOA’s June Soh reports they hope the beer will get drinkers talking about science.
June Soh

A large batch of new and rather unorthodox beer is brewing at Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in Ashburn, Virginia.   

The beer yeast, one of the key ingredients in brewing, was swabbed from a 35 million-year-old fossilized whale bone.

Amateur paleontologist Jason Osborne found the bone at a swamp in Virginia.

"So the idea was conceived, it was basically a brainchild idea of mine to mix molecular biology, paleontology, and beer together,” Osborne said. “It's three things that I love.”

Osborne enlisted his microbiologist friend Jasper Akerboom, who works as a brewing scientist at Lost Rhino.  

Yeast from whale bone

Akerboom said he was initially skeptical but decided to experiment.

“We took out 20 samples from all kinds of fossilized materials. This was all done in Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland. And one of the samples started to ferment,” Akerboom said.

The result was surprising.

 “It tastes very good. It tastes very fruity, very earthy. It is very dry,” he said.

So the decision was made to brew a large volume for consumers: this time about 2,300 liters.  

 “The craft brewing in the United States has been very innovative, new beers have been hitting the markets continuously. People kind of expect something new all the time,” Akerboom said.

The co-owner of Lost Rhino, Favio Garcia, said they stay sharp and edgy by bringing out a new style of beer every couple of weeks.

“Well, we have 16 beers on tap right now. You have to take a risk to move forward. So it is a calculated risk,” Garcia said. “But we are happy to take it and create something new and interesting with it.”

The new beer is called Bone Dusters Paleo Ale.

“When people are cleaning the fossils, they dust the sand off the bone,” Akerboom said. “And we thought it would be a cool name to give it.”

Paleontology nonprofit

Osborne, who co-founded Paleo Quest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing paleontology, hopes the beer will get beer drinkers talking about science.

“Paleontology is really important to the general public because it is good to know what existed prior to us. It also teaches us a lot about evolution, or it teaches us about climate change,” he said.

After a month of fermentation, the beer made its public debut at Lost Rhino’s taproom in Ashburn.

Customer Billy Ozark said, "It is fantastic. It is a pretty courageous move to strike that yeast and kind of develop some[thing] unique.”

Natalie Ozark said, "I am not usually a yeasty, hoppy beer drinker. But it is really good.”

"It is not over hopped, there is not much competing with yeast for flavor,” said Stan Beyer, another customer. “So it really comes through. It is very drinkable."

Garcia hopes innovations like this will help Lost Rhino compete in the growing local beer movement.  

A portion of the proceeds from Bone Dusters will be used for science programs at underprivileged schools.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John
June 25, 2014 8:21 PM
Well, I do like a beer. I wonder what it'd taste like?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid