A brewery in upstate New York is going to produce a brand new beer from an ancient bottle recovered from under the sea.
Way back in 1886, the SS Oregon sailed off the coast of Fire Island, New York. It struck a schooner and slipped below the surface of the sea, never to be seen again. That is until a group of divers rediscovered her about a century later. It’s even become a popular diving destination, with many pre-war era artifacts discovered.
One of those artifacts happened to be a still-stoppered bottle of beer. The beer itself is kinda gross (back in those days, beer wasn’t pasteurized so it didn’t last too long), but researchers now plan to use that ancient beer to recover a new strain of yeast and create a new brew.
Bill Felter, head brewer of Serious Brewing Company in Howes Cave, New York, got his hands on the bottle from a customer who owns several artifacts from the SS Oregon. Felter then took the beer to State University of New York at Cobleskill and asked the eggheads over there to do something a little unorthodox: culture some yeast bacteria from the old beer to use in creating a new one.
Which they did, to the tune of about 4 strains growing in several petri dishes. Students and professors are going to continue the extraction process all semester and eventually wind up with a pristine new strain that can be used in brewing new beers.
Details on what kind of beer and when it will be available haven’t been disclosed, but we’re sure there’s going to be more science done to determine the ideal flavor profile. Brewing beer is a science more than anything else, after all.
Only one life was lost in bringing this ancient beer back from the dead. When the SS Oregon sank way back in March of 1886, everyone was rescued, save for a single soul. According to a newspaper clipping from the era, that soul was star cricket player Charles Waller who fell overboard during the evacuation and drowned.
The other 851 people all made it to lifeboats and rowed to shore without issue.