GMO Yeast Mimics Flavors Of Hops, But Will Craft Brewers Bite?
Brewing beer, it is often said, is both an art and a science. New research, however, has some in the beer industry concerned that the science of brewing could be advancing too far.

A team of beer-brewing chemists and geneticists in California has created a genetically modified yeast that produces hoppy aromas and flavors without any interaction with the fragrant blossoms themselves. In other words, they've developed a way to make beer hoppy without using hops.

Brewer Matthew Brynildson feels the research, which was published March 20 in the journal Nature Communications, opens doors that he would just as well see remain closed.

"Craft brewing has always been a GMO-free art form it was just assumed that we would never cross that line," says Brynildson, who has made beer at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in central California for 17 years. "If we allow in GMO yeast, well, I could think of a hundred more things that I do or don't want my yeast to do."

Brynildson says he would rather the industry continue developing new yeast strains through the traditional means of selecting and isolating them "rather than asking a scientist to make one for us."

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