Even if you love beer, you may not think of it as a health food. (Though you could!) A research team at the National University of Singapore is hoping to change that by creating a probiotic sour beer.
Chan Mei Zhi Alcine, a fourth-year student in the NUS Food Science and Technology Program, came up with the idea of what the university says is the world’s first probiotic-containing beer as a way for people who are lactose intolerant or dairy averse to consume probiotics.
“As a believer of achieving a healthy diet through consuming probiotics, this is a natural choice for me when I picked a topic for my final-year project,” Chan said in a press release.
Still, the effort to cultivate live probiotics in beer proved challenging because the hop acids impede their growth and survival, she said. It took Chan, working under the supervision of Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan, nine months to perfect the brewing process and recipe. During that time, the team experimented with different strains of probiotics and tinkered with temperature, time and ingredient amounts.
The final product includes the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei L26, which, a university spokesperson told Healthy Eats via email, “was first isolated from human intestines and has the ability to neutralize toxins and viruses, as well as regulate the immune system.”
That may not sound super-appealing, but the resulting sour beer tastes sharp and tart, “carrying fruity notes from the probiotics,” the spokesperson said.
You may be able to judge the probiotic sour beer for yourself soon enough. Chan and Liu have filed a patent to protect the recipe and brewing process and are seeking industry collaborators to bring the product to market.
Here’s to your health!
Photo courtesy of the National University of Singapore.
Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Glamour and Marie Claire, as well as Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.