Learn about work and life at EMBL’s Epigenetics and Neurobiology research unit in Italy
Head of Genetic and Viral Engineering Facility. Member of EMBL staff since June 2015. Expertise includes: genetic engineering, molecular biology, bacterial genetics, CRISPR and viral engineering and production. Longtime staff scientist with Don Court developing recombineering after postdoc with Stuart Austin at National Cancer Institute, USA. PhD with Frank Stahl at University of Oregon 1993. Avid home-brewer for 26 years. Beer judge since 2008 and currently the highest ranked BJCP beer judge in Europe.
The 20th anniversary celebration of EMBL Rome will be soon upon us and the preparations have already begun! On the 16th of May, Alex Young and I traveled with our collaborator for this project, Valentino Roccia, to the Italian brewery Mukkeller, located approximately 275 kilometers from Rome in Sant’Elpidio, just south of Ancona. The next morning we started brewing at 8:00, finishing around 17:00. I designed this beer to be in the style of a Belgian Pale Ale: characterized as an easy-drinking, moderately malty, somewhat fruity, copper-colored Belgian ale. The bitterness should be moderate and complementary to the malt and fruitiness. Using a traditional Belgian yeast adds a bit of spiciness which we blended with some freshly ground coriander. I chose to add some lemon peel to accent the citrusy fruitiness from the citra hops we used. The beer will be around 6.5% alcohol. In summary, a full flavored and interesting beer, but well balanced – good for a hot Roman summer day!
When I brew for our normal parties, I use this equipment (photo on the left) where I can produce 40 liters at a time. But as this is not a normal party, this time we made 1250 litres! Technically this beer is owned by Valentino’s Brewpub, Pork N Roll. We will purchase what we need from him for our party. The rest of this one-time recipe will be available in bottles and kegs at Pork N Roll in Rome.
Recall, there was a competition to name this beer. We received 32 entries which were narrowed down to 8 by a panel. The final 8 were voted on by all of you, with the clear majority of votes going to the winning entry from Tristan Wiessalla. Tristan won a dinner for two including four fresh beers. Perhaps he will enjoy an EMB aLe?
Thank you so much to Valentino and Mukkeller for all of his support making this entire project possible. See you at the party!
EMBL Rome is celebrating its first 20 years on 8 July 2019. As part of the celebration, I am brewing a large batch of beer in collaboration with Valentino at Pork’N’Roll, a Roman brewpub. We will be brewing this beer at the award winning Italian brewery, Mukkeller. The beer will be served at the anniversary party July 8 and hopefully you will be taking some home as well. It’s a Belgian Pale Ale featuring light spiciness and a twist of lemon for freshness on a hot summer day. How can you be part of this? You can help name the beer! The contest is open to current staff or anyone who previously worked at EMBL Rome. To participate send an email with your name, when you worked at EMBL Rome, and your suggested beer name. Keep in mind that the name needs to fit nicely on a bottle label.
—- Entries are due by 17:00 on May 10 —-
The following week all staff and participants will be asked to vote for their favorite entry. What’s in it for the winner? 1) Your name featured on the EMBL Rome 20th Anniversary Beer label (pretty cool!), 2) special prize to be determined (might be way more cool?). Get your entries in now!
As the “official” beer producer for EMBL Rome, I have a demanding job, one that I take nearly as seriously as my real job as Head of Genetic and Viral Engineering. I started producing homemade beer over 25 years ago. I have won many competitions and brewed my recipes in multiple brewpubs to be sold. Along the way, I have become an international beer judge and educator and am always happy to discuss beer with anyone. In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do! Hopefully, in the near future, I will hold some of my beer appreciation courses here at EMBL Rome. Believe it or not, you are all beer judges and I can prove it to you in my course! Continue reading “Bitter about Brexit?”