#SELECT 2024 and Generation 200 for our House Yeast

It’s that time of year again #SELECT season is here! 

We absolutely adore producing these beers. It is the culmination of one years worth of relatively unsexy, tireless back end work sourcing, studying and processing our raw ingredients into what you get to drink in your glass this week. We take our most recent and expressive hop selections, put them on top of our “house” IPA recipe and let them stand alone in all their agronomic, seasonally variable glory. We aren’t trying to reproduce the same beer year to year whatsoever here, we are simply trying to source the best, most expressive hops we possibly can in their respective varieties. 

This years #SELECT releases are particularly special however, because we unintentionally lined up our house yeast to be on its 200th generation for these releases! This is one of those haphazard, star-just-randomly-aligned sort of things, but we’re extremely jazzed it lined up this way.

For many, we know you’re asking yourself “What the hell does that mean and why should I care!?” Here at Badlands, we do things a little different, you could even say a little weird. Maybe it’s because we’ve only ever brewed here on this farm, or maybe it’s because we’re just weird. Maybe it’s both!? Who knows, either way we’re cool with who we are. From the very beginning we set out to make uniquely expressive beer that you simply could not get elsewhere. Beer that was distinctly “Badlands.” One of the key avenues we chose to do this through was yeast. 

We are, technically speaking, a farmhouse brewery. Yes, we primarily produce hoppy beer, which is definitely not a “farmhouse” style beer, but we think about farmhouse brewing as more of a culture of brewing rather than a style per say. 

Farmhouse breweries since the beginning of time have simply reused yeast in perpetuity. In today's brewing industry, generally this does not happen. On average most yeast will be used for around 10 generations (or less), and then discarded. Why is that? Because the yeast begins to genetically drift and develop new traits and fermentation kinetics in and around the 10th generation (this varies between different yeast types/families etc, but I'm generalizing here for brevity). Brewers intuited this many years ago and this has been backed up by genetic sequencing more recently. As such, if you want your beer to be consistent in its fermentation profile, you would likely want to follow this same process. We were interested in other things. 

We here at Badlands embraced this genetic drift. Heck, you could even say we straight up thrive on it. We encourage and pressure its evolution. We think of it as another indispensible worker in our brewery. We love our house yeast like a child at this point. It’s our baby, and it’s grown with us as a brewery, quite literally. It changes from year to year. We’ve learned a lot about it. It’s probably learned a lot about us (despite the fact yeast is not sentient).

Our house yeast started out its life, back at humble little generation #1, in 2019.  It was a home brew pouch of Foggy London from Escarpment Labs in Guelph. For those unaware, we were still brewing on a 1BBL (100ish Litre) system at the time, and yes we did in fact step up the yeast in order to bring it over to our new 15bbl brewery in 2020. It has lived, fermented and distinguished itself in our beer ever since. 

We are tremendously excited to be able to share our #SELECT beers with you this year, while also being able to celebrate our house yeasts 200th generation of life as the most important member of the team at Badlands Brewing.

We hope you love it!