Bearded brewmaster blends beer from facial follicles

Bearded brewmaster blends beer from facial follicles
Rogue brewmaster John Maier (and his beard). (Photo courtesy of Rogue Brewing and Spirits, used with permission)

NEWPORT, Ore. – There’s a hair in your beer. Well, sort of.

A June 19th post titled “Beard Beer” on the Rogue Ales and Spirits website “Rogue Wire Service” page says the company is testing out a new yeast found in a most unusual (and perhaps less-than-appetizing) place: brewmaster John Maier’s beard.

Says the post: “As a joke, nine beard follicles were carefully cut from the beard of Rogue Brewmaster John Maier. The follicles were placed in a petri dish and sent in for testing. To the shock of the experts at White Labs, the beard samples had produced a yeast strain that was perfect for use in brewing.”

Really?

In a phone conversation with KATU News on Friday, Rogue co-founder and current CWO (that would be “Chief Wisdom Officer”) Jack Leroy Joyce said it’s all true.

Joyce said the craft beer maker, which is based in Newport, has brought many ingredients of their beers – such as hops – into in-house production. So why not yeast? 

Yeast is part of the fermentation stage in the brewing process. Joyce said yeast comes from many places, “not just Fleischmann’s,” so why not Maier’s beard, which the brewmaster has been carefully tending since he was hired by Rogue in 1989, Joyce said.

“ZZ Top he ain’t,” Joyce said, when asked to describe Maier’s chin music. Indeed, Maier’s neck warmer is fairly close-cropped, according to a photo of him on his Rogue bio page.

Tests by the company of other potential yeast sources have turned out to be non-starters, as it were.

As for the future of the Beard Beer, which the website said will be called “New Crustacean,” production is scheduled for 2013, according to the post.

But still; really?

“The beard yeast is currently being used in test brews to determine the perfect style & yeast combination,” the web post reads. Jack Joyce says it's no joke.

Really.