Fossil Fuels Brewing Co. Begins with 45 Million-Year-Old Yeast

Raul Cano Fossil Fuels Brewing Co.
Photo: Jayson Mellom/MCT

Raul Cano, a biology professor at California Polytechnic State U, happened upon a 45 million-year-old yeast strain in amber he found while researching in Myanmar back in the 90s. [source:] At the time of his discovery, Cano became internationally recognized for finding that microorganisms could indeed be brought back to life, by extracting them from the amber in which they were preserved. Jurassic Park, anyone?

Cano begin collaborating and conducting brewing experiments, using the ancient yeast strains he’s extracted from the amber and grown. Now, Cano has formed Fossil Fuels Brewing Co. with partners Scott Bonzell, Joe Kelley and Chip Lambert and distributes his brews mostly in Northern California pubs. Their main beer is a wheat, followed by their newest addition, a pale ale. Currently they’re working on producing an amber ale and a Märzen.

According to critics, the 45 million-year-old yeast gives the beers a good yet unique taste, described as spicy, like that of cloves, with hints of ginger and pineapple. Interestingly, because of the yeast’s prehistoric genetic makeup, the beer finishes clear, instead of cloudy, due to how the ancient yeast ferments sugars.

Damn, I’d really like to get my hands on some of this.

Cheers to Raul Cano and best of luck in developing many more 45 million-year-old brews!


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