Beer Trivia: A State Microbe for Beer?
Here’s a bit of bizarre beer trivia you can bring up the next time you’re drinking out on the porch with friends: have you ever heard of Saccharomyces cerevisiae?
It’s about to be Oregon’s new state microbe. Yes, microbe. While your state might have a state flower or bird or tree, the state of Oregon is about to officially recognize Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast used in making craft beer, as the state microbe (not sure what benefits come with that).
It’s a decision that reflects how proud Oregon is of its craft beer industry. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a crucial component in the fermentation of many of the craft beers to come from the Pacific Northwest. A state representative from Oregon who was quoted in a newspaper said, “I’m not aware of any other microbes that generate $2.4 billion for the state economy.” A fair point. With all the discussion of a beer’s hops or color or where its water comes from, taking things to a microbiological level, while super-nerdy, is a nice reminder that we owe the delicious miracle of beer to tiny living organisms with long names like Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Oregon sure seems to appreciate that.
Of course this decision isn’t quite final yet. Oregon needs to approve the measure, and that might not be just a formality. There was a bit of a fight recently when Oregon tried to announce an official state soil used in the growing of grapes for pinot noir wine.
Yes, you read that right. Oregon also has an official state soil.