Heineken's Hunt for Wild Lager In Patagonia
Evolve Studios' charming film follows the discovery of a new yeast used in Heineken's ‘wild lager’ beer brand.
After partnering for the project, National Geographic and Heineken brought Evolve Studios on board to produce A Wild Lager Story, which reveals the discovery of a long-lost ‘mother’ lager yeast that's resulted in new ‘wild lager’ beer brand - H41.
Beautifully shot in Patagonia, the film traces the origins of the new bevvy along with the rather sweet bromance (or brewmance) that ferments between Heineken global master brewer Willen Van Waesberghe, and microbiologist Diego Libkind as they meet in South America.
“I work with very tiny things,” says Libkind (below), explaining his life spent investigating yeasts. We then follow his wanderings in a Patagonian forest, where he happened upon a new type of fungi lurking in the trees that he’d never seen before.
Sniffing one of the fungi that had fallen to the ground he discovered it had a reassuringly boozy smell.
Meanwhile, Van Waesberghe reveals the science bit – how the essence of Heineken beer is its lager yeast. He explains how the ‘father yeast’ is an ale yeast that has been used in craft beers around the world, but how the ‘mother yeast’ had never been found.
After analysis back in Libkind’s lab, it turns out – oh happy day – that this curious tree mushroom is the “long-lost mother of all yeasts”.
Supplanting the normal Heineken yeast with this new wild yeast they found the new beer tasted great. After collaborating on the creation of H41, Libkind and Van Waesberghe sit down to share a pint. "Without the yeast we probably wouldn't have met," smiles Libkind wistfully, his beardy brew-bro agrees, explaining how the mother and father yeasts can now 'have sex' and exchange their DNA to survive in nature. Now that's something to raise a toast to.