I had the opportunity to sample the T-Rat from Stumptown Brewery in Guerneville CA in 2006. I can't remember the specifics taste wise, but I do remember it being pretty good.
Here is the story from June 2006:
We've been keeping this one under our hat until we were sure the experiment was a success. Now we're sure. We'll be cracking the taps on the oldest beer ever brewed for the public next Sat. July 8th. The "Tyrannosaurus-Rat" (T-Rat) was brewed using 30 million-year old yeast. Here's the press release with more details if you're interested:
Stumptown Brewery and Environmental Diagnostics combine forces to create the "oldest" production beer in the world.
Guerneville, CA, 27 June, 2006.
Worth the Wait
For the first time, 25-40 million year old yeast has been used to brew a commercial batch of beer (Tyrannosaurus Rat) to be made available to the public on July 8th at Stumptown Brewery (15045 River Rd. Guerneville, Ca.). Dr. Raul Cano, Lewis "Chip" Lambert, and Peter Hackett will be celebrating this historic event and available for questions from 11:00A.M. on Saturday July 8th.
The public tasting of the T-Rat is the culmination of coincidences that involved a 20-40 million-year old bee trapped in amber and discovered in the Dominican Republic, a pair of renowned scientists, a ski weekend and an award winning microbrewery.
Amber is natures perfect preservative. It desiccates its specimens and protects them from damaging radiation of all types. Man has successfully used it to preserve their dead for thousands of years; Nature has preserved many of its inhabitants, including the recently identified spider web, in their elegant tombs for tens of millions of years.
Dr. Raul J. Cano, Emeritus Professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, reported in Science (Volume 268, May 19, 1995) that he extracted a living bacterium from the gut of a stingless bee entombed in amber 25 40 million years ago. Independently, Lewis (Chip) Lambert, Fremont, CA, at the time Director of Pre-Clinical Research at a Bay Area biotech company, confirmed his work in a very skeptical scientific environment that has, for the most part, accepted its validity. In addition, Rauls work became the underlying premise for the movie Jurassic Park.
The patented ancient microorganisms (USPO#5,593,883) became the focus of a new company based on the potential use of these microbial isolates for industrial and medical applications, and the hunt began. From the ancient-amber library came a few yeast strains and with them, the question, could they be used to make beer? The answer was a resounding yes as very good beer was brewed for the Jurassic Park II cast party and Rauls daughters wedding reception.
After this initial success, Fossil Fuels Brewing Company was born with the motto "We bring good things back to life". Using ancient yeasts that had all been thoroughly tested and selected for their beer-making properties, Fossil Fuels Brewing Co. planned to produce high quality distinctive beers with yeasts that had been isolated from amber.
The partners then proposed trials of these ancient yeasts to numerous microbreweries. Much to their surprise, in an industry that thrives on innovation, found a lack of enthusiasm among commercial breweries.
Fast forward a few years to the snowy slopes of Alpine Meadows where Carla Hackett was taking a ski lesson from Rauls now friend and business partner, Chip. Carla had all the attributes of a great skier that her husband, an Aussie who owns the Stumptown Brewery in Guerneville, lacks. On the second, never the first, ride up the chair lift, an important relationship was established when the question was raised, would you like to make some beer with some patented, 35-million year-old yeast? The affirmative response started a brewing relationship between Stumptown Brewery and Environmental Diagnostics, Inc.
This random path led the ancient yeast to Stumptown Brewery on May 6th where Peter, Owner/Brewer, put the yeast to work. On June 21st came the news that "T-Rat" had finished fermenting and was conditioning. Perhaps most importantly, that it's "very good, very unique. The yeast character is unusual, exotic, and very pronounced".
Join Dr. Raul Cano, Lewis "Chip" Lambert, and Peter & Carla Hackett at Stumptown Brewery on 8 July 2006 and taste a bit of history.
About Stumptown Brewery:
Stumptown Brewery, established in 1996, and home of "Rat Bastard Pale Ale"® is an award winning Brew Pub located at 15045 River Road, Guerneville, CA on the banks of the Russian River.
About Environmental Diagnostics:
Environmental Diagnostics Inc., was established in 2001 and is located at 1854 Castillo Court, in San Luis Obispo, CA.