Life as a Full-time Author

As I wrote last year I quit my job as a software engineer to have more time for writing books and doing research, even though I suspected that economically that might be a less than optimal decision. In practice it's worked out as I thought: I did get more time for writing and research, and a lot less money. ...

Read | 2022-05-10 13:05 | 2 comment(s)

Building a Nation

I left my hotel, crossed the river, and headed for the outskirts of town. Eventually I passed out of the town entirely, into the countryside. And there, in the middle of an empty field, stood a huge, modern extraordinary-looking glass building. It seemed to change shape depending on which angle you looked at it from. ...

Read | 2022-02-26 20:20 | 13 comment(s)

Lammin Sahti

The day after we visited Finlandia Sahti the time had come for Lammin Sahti, the other major commercial producer of Finnish sahti. The name really means "sahti of Lammi", or "Lammi's sahti", and the brewery is on a small farm in the county of Lammi, about 100 kilometers north of Helsinki. (This was part of the Finnish sahti expedition of 2018.) ...

Read | 2021-11-15 14:24 | 0 comment(s)

Celtic Beer Yeast and Blue Cheese

A recent archaeological find caused much stir and writings in various newspapers, but everyone seems to have missed the most interesting part of the discovery. However, before we get to that, let's have a little look at the context. ...

Read | 2021-11-01 08:59 | 6 comment(s)

The Yeast Family Tree Grows

A few years ago I wrote about the groundbreaking study (Gallone et al 2016) that for the first time gave us an idea of how the different types of brewers yeast are related to each other. It was progress in genetic technology that made the study possible, and in the years after more studies have come out, giving us an even better picture of the family tree of yeast. So I figured it was time for an update. ...

Read | 2021-10-26 10:39 | 6 comment(s)

What makes kveik a super-yeast

When Richard Preiss first started studying kveik his former thesis advisor at the University of Guelph, George van der Merwe, told him that it was a "super-yeast" because of its speed and stress resistance. The lab that van der Merwe heads at the university has been investigating how yeast responds to stress for many years, and that made them extra excited about kveik. Since kveik was so robust, maybe it knew some special tricks for handling stress? ...

Read | 2021-08-01 13:49 | 14 comment(s)

Finlandia Sahti

Finlandia Sahti is a commercial brewery making sahti way out in the Finnish countryside, roughly midway between the towns of Pori and Tampere. It's really a farm that's been turned into a commercial brewery by installing a brewkit and setting up a small bar. We park in the yard, where we're met by Petteri Lähdeniemi, the brewer and brewery owner. (This was part of the Finnish sahti expedition of 2018.) ...

Read | 2021-06-27 12:17 | 1 comment(s)

The Blog as a Book

A good while ago some reader suggested that I should publish this blog as a book for people who want to actually read through the whole thing in sequence. And it's not a bad idea, because finding the beginning and then stepping through it, skipping the stuff that's not about farmhouse ale, is a little awkward. But back then I didn't really have time for it, so I didn't do it. ...

Read | 2021-06-19 14:01 | 13 comment(s)

Brewing with Olavi the champion

We drove along dirt roads through seemingly empty forest for half an hour, the dust curling lazily behind us. Eventually we turned onto a road with a sign saying Viherojantie, "Viheroja road." That meant we were getting close, because we were going to brew with Olavi Viheroja, who lives on the farm with the same name, and the road was named after the farm. (This was part of the Finnish sahti expedition of 2018.) ...

Read | 2021-05-22 13:26 | 4 comment(s)

Farmhouse yeast: what do we know?

There's a lot of excitement over kveik at the moment, but kveik is only one kind of farmhouse yeast. The other kinds have so far been very little known, and so I thought it was time to take a little look at the bigger picture. ...

Read | 2021-02-06 20:33 | 14 comment(s)

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