Lush forests with substantial biodiversity
And so we embarked on our “yeast hunt” in Georgia. Yeast fungi occur everywhere in nature. A total of 1600 species are known, each with its own distinct characteristics. The biodiversity of the environment is also reflected in that of yeasts. As a result, there is also a great variety of yeast-fermented foods and beverages here. We believe that the fermenting yeast we are looking for is cold-tolerant and will thrive extremely well in our beer wort – a fluid with a very high sugar content.
Consequently, we focused on these two factors in our search for clues. We initially set our sights on the mountainous regions of Tusheti and Khevsureti, where we not only spent time in lush native forests, but also had the chance to visit mountain breweries. The master brewers showed us their equipment and demonstrated their methods. We learned about their rules of conduct, which are sometimes quite strict – and sampled the regional beers.
Next, we visited two more locations with levels of biodiversity that exceeded all of our expectations. We found age-old forests with large nut, apple, pear and plum trees. It was soon clear why Georgia is sometimes known as the Garden of Eden. Within two weeks we collected around 200 samples from substrates such as earth, bark, leaves, fruit and fungi as well as samples related to the brewing process.