Non-alcoholic beers are typically less satisfying than their boozy counterparts. They have poor taste due to the process used to lower the alcohol content also strip the volatile flavors derived from hops.
Scientists have found a way to brew non-alcoholic beer that tastes just like regular beer. Sotirios Kampranis, a Professor at the University of Copenhagen, and his colleague Simon Dusséaux – both founders of the biotech company EvodiaBio – have found a way to make non-alcoholic beer that is full of hop aroma.
They discovered a way to produce a group of small molecules called monoterpenoids. The monoterpenoids give a hoppy flavor to the beer. Scientists then added these molecules to the beer at the end of the brewing process to give it back its lost taste.
Sotirios Kampranis said, “No one has been able to do this before, so it’s a game-changer for non-alcoholic drink.”
Instead of adding expensive aroma hops in the brewing tank, scientists used baker’s yeast cells into micro-factories that can be grown in fermenters and release the aroma of hops.
Sotirios Kampranis said, “When the hop aroma molecules are released from yeast, we collect them and put them into the beer, giving back the taste of regular beer that so many of us know and love. It makes the use of aroma hops in brewing redundant because we only need the molecules passing on the scent and flavor and not the actual hops.”
“On top of improving the taste of non-alcoholic beer, the method is also far more sustainable than the existing technique.”
“With our method, we skip aroma hops altogether and thereby the water and the transportation. This means that one kilogram of hops aroma can be produced with more than 10.000 times less water and more than 100 times less CO2.”
- Melton, L. Synbio salvages alcohol-free beer. Nat Biotechnol 40. DOI: 10.1038/s41587-021-01202-0