Microbreweries have become a new growth industry. At Lindheim Gård in Telemark Eivin Eilertsen – in cooperation with Nofima - is breaking new ground in the art of brewing. Photo: Jon-Are Berg-Jakobsen

Project Year 2015

Breaking new ground in brewing

Beer has become cool, and microbreweries a new growth industry. Nofima is taking part in the process of breaking new ground in brewing.

Beer and fruit. The combination is uncommon. However, at the fruit farm and brewery at Lindheim Gård in Telemark, one is investigating brewing beer with fruit using a different method than the traditional one: Instead of adding yeast to the wort, it is cooled in large vats and spontaneously ferments based on the micro-organisms in the air and the general environment.

The “beer farmers” Eivin Eilertsen and Ingeborg Lindheim found the inspiration for their new beer project in Belgian Lambic beer. It is here the method of spontaneously fermented beer has been developed.  Eivin started up in 2014 – and was soon left with a series of questions on the process and optimisation that he was unable to resolve himself – and was unable to find information on. The idea of a research project thus arose.

“The micro-organisms that provide the desired fermentation in spontaneously fermented beer normally reside on fruit, among other places. Our role is to take numerous samples of the air, fruit, cooling vats and the finished product and then analyse these. Using modern DNA-based methods, we can analyse entire microbe communities with greater accuracy than ever. This method – which only a few professional communities in Norway are capable of carrying out – in combination with general fermentation expertise, make us particularly well-suited to identify the conditions for spontaneous fermentation,” says senior researcher Lars Axelsson at Nofima.

In the context of research projects, the Lindheim beer project is a small one. However, the researcher is positive towards using Nofima’s experts to develop niche products too. In the past 14 years more than 50 microbreweries have been established in Norway. The research at Lindheim will thus in all likelihood be relevant for others in the brewing community.

The result of the beer brewer’s work and enthusiasm is already so good that the Lindheim beer was named one of the world’s best new beers in 2015. Albeit not the spontaneously fermented type, which is still at an experimental stage.

Lindheim Gård, Tel-Tek


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