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Yeast Hunting With Matt Bochman

Three tall wooden vats in a large room

Some of the wooden vats used for wood-aged sour beers at Upland's Woodshop facility. The Woodshop opened in 2016 and features a taproom as well as a production space specifically designed for sour beer, and separate from Upland's traditional craft beer production. (Kayte Young/WFIU)

Dr.Matt Bochman is a professor in Biochemistry at Indiana University. He spoke with IU anthropologists and food scholars Leigh Bush and Maddie Chera in 2017 about his work with yeast.

Dr. Bochman does research with yeast in his lab, and he also has a business called Wild Pitch Yeast. Bochman's work involves collaborating with Indiana craft brewers, collecting yeast strains for brewing. They call it bioprospecting, or yeast hunting. They're looking for wild yeasts with desirable brewing characteristics. They brew test batches of beer, and conduct sensory analyses of the final products. They also provide yeast consulting, banking, and lab services and they've worked with several local breweries and distilleries.

Bochman's yeast work has even found its way into the Honey Schnapps at Cardinal spirits. You might say it's the bees knees, since it's made from yeast collected from bees from Cardinal's rooftop hives.

In Bloomington, a local brewery called Upland recently built a separate building to produce their sour beers. Bochman talks with Bush and Chera about how sour beer is made and the importance of keeping the sour operations separate from traditional brewing.

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