Looking at yesterday's yeasts to brew tomorrow's beer

Media:  Talk   

21 November 2017

Byens Lys

Kevin Verstrepen

Kevin Verstrepen is professor in Genetics and Genomics at Leuven University, Group Leader at VIB, co­‐director of the Leuven Institute for Beer Research and Honorary Professor at Nottingham University. Before returning to Belgium he was working at MIT and Havard. Verstrepen was awarded with an EMBO YIP fellowship and won several awards, including Harvard’s Derek Bok award for best teacher and the triennial Leo Errera Award for General Biology Research of the Belgian Academy for Arts and Sciences. Homepage


Composed of Jakob​ ​Dinesen​ ​(tenor sax), Carsten​ ​Skov​ ​(vibrafon,​ ​guitar,​ ​percussion​ ​and​ ​vocals), Peter​ ​Kibsgaard​ ​-(drums,​ ​percussion​ ​and vocals) and Christian​ ​Douglas​ ​​(bass​ ​and ​vocals). The four gentlemen explore and challenge musical treasures composed by masters like Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Lalo Schifrin and others - names that can be hard to recognize but everyone knows theirs unforgettable music from classic movies and comics.

Why are there so many different yeasts for beer brewing, bread baking and wine production? Where do these yeasts come from? Are we using the best yeasts available in nature? Can we make even better yeasts by breeding or genetic engineering? What kind of beers and wines will the yeasts of the future bring?

In this fantastic event, Kevin Verstrepen, one of the biggest master brewers (from the scientific point of view) from the land of beer (Belgium) will be speaking about the history of beer and the brewer’s yeast selection over the years.

The common brewer's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used in a broad range of industrial applications, from the production of beer, wine and bread to biofuels and pharmaceuticals. Interestingly, there are hundreds of different industrial yeast strains, but their origins and specific characteristics are largely unknown.

Verstrepen and his lab combined a series of hardcore science techniques with genome sequencing to track the genealogy and evolution of today’s industrial yeasts. Using this knowledge allowed them to set up large-scale breeding programs to generate superior variants that increase production efficiency and expand the range of yeast-derived products and aroma’s, allowing more efficient beer fermentation, production of superior beers and the creation of novel products.

While the smell of beer is in the air and specifically crafted beer cocktail is being served, THE MOVIES will be taking the stage. Composed of four gentlemen who will be playing jazz, soul, surf, latin and funk including: Theme from The Pink Panther, The Persuaders, Mission Impossible, MASH, The Godfather, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and many others.

Entrance to the event is free. Event held in English. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00.

The talk: