Lab life under lockdown

Played this with my kids last night.

EMBL Rome sent all its non-essential personnel home at the beginning of this week. One day later the Italian Government imposed a blanket shutdown across all Italy. We are now in lockdown.

People are at home and go out only to shop for food, take out the trash, or buy medicine. Maybe to sneak a short walk to the local park to stretch your legs, but always crossing the street when someone approaches. Restaurants, pubs, bars, and all non-essential shops are closed. To wait to enter the supermarket one-by-one, people stand ten feet apart making lines that snake down the streets. But, in fact, there is a sense of relief in Rome after two stressful weeks of indecision.  Continue reading “Lab life under lockdown”

The birth of a beer: EMB aLe

Mukkeller Brewery

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!

Continue reading “The birth of a beer: EMB aLe”