Beech galls in Patagonia inhabited by Saccharomyces eubayanus, the species
researchers think combined with domesticated yeast to create a lager-producing hybrid.

Mystery solved! Scientists have discovered the “missing link” in beer brewing. Ladies and gents, take a good look at the orange-colored galls on the beech tree to your left: they were found to harbor the specific strain of yeast that makes lager beer possible.

How did lager beer come to be? After pondering the question for decades, scientists have found that an elusive species of yeast isolated in the forests of Argentina was key to the invention of the crisp-tasting German beer 600 years ago.

It took a five-year search around the world before a scientific team discovered, identified and named the organism, a species of wild yeast called Saccharomyces eubayanus that lives on beech trees…

“We knew it had to be out there somewhere,” said Chris Todd Hittinger, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a coauthor of the report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

I assume the scientists appropriately celebrated their discovery with a few pints:


(Photo: Diego Libkind)