Florida brewery releases pale ale made from butterfly yeast

Photo: RomoloTavani (iStock)

The yeast behind a good beer can come from any number of places—a commercial yeast company, most often, but also from nature. One Florida brewery decided to call attention to a wildlife population problem by drawing the yeast for a new pale ale from an unlikely source: the frosted elfin butterfly.

The Gainesville Sun reports that First Magnitude Brewing Co. has teamed up with the Florida Museum Of Natural History for Frosted Elfin New England-Style Session Pale Ale, which is meant to draw attention to the struggles of the titular butterfly. “The frosted elfin, which can be found in small populations in northern Florida, is declining across much of the eastern United States and is undergoing a species status assessment with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service... It has vanished from Canada and is considered endangered, threatened or of ‘conservation concern’ in 11 states.”

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To facilitate this, First Magnitude built its own lab in order to propagate the yeast, which was adorably acquired by brewers and researchers having “spent a day in the field netting the butterflies and swabbing them for yeast.” The resulting beer reportedly yields a “fruity, floral, and hoppy” taste, not unlike other pale ales.

Beer yeast is endlessly fascinating, and it’s of little surprise that even a batch derived from such a relatively unusual source turned out well. After all, by this point, beer yeast has been drawn out of everything from cabinet wax to human beards to the depths of space. (Then again, we’re also now making cheese from the navel bacteria of celebrities, so all culinary bets are off in general.) First Magnitude will continue to roll out the beverage, as if to say “come my lady, come come my lady” to all Florida drinkers interested in a fresh approach.

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