for·ag·er – noun; an animal that searches widely for food or provisions
Honeybees are some of the most efficient and important foragers on the planet. They play a critical role in pollination of flowering plants, and are capable of carrying upwards of 80% of their body weight in nectar and pollen up to 4 miles back to the hive. Luckily for us native microbe foragers, the provisions they return with contain a rich diversity of fermentative microorganisms.
Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, nestled in Yamhill County’s Willamette Valley wine country on a century-old hazelnut farm, maintains a number of honeybee hives. While they use the harvested honey in beers like Honeycone, their founder and head brewer Christian DeBenedetti couldn’t help but wonder if there are microbes in his hives that could help add to the unique terroir of his beers. Inspired by advice from his friend and Plan Bee (NY, USA) head brewer Evan Watson, he propagated several samples of honey and comb in the brewery on a stir plate, at which point we joined forces to take the experiment much higher. Following months of isolation work and test fermentations, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes”!
Aptly named in homage to the hardworking bees that brought this hitchhiking microbe back to the hive, Forager is a single strain of STA1+ Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. boulardii isolated from Spring harvest honeycomb. It imparts a flavor and aroma profile of sauvignon blanc grape must and dry lime peel and produces beer with a dry, earthy finish. Wolves & People’s ongoing Wild Queen series of saisons was launched with a blend based on Forager.
Cell count: ~40 billion cells/vial
Temperature: 70-80 ºF
Alcohol Tolerance: High