We’ve discussed the loving relationship between science and beer before. Whether it was Nobel Laureates demanding beer pipelines or the actual brewing process—there is some science and some beer involved in everything.
Louis Pasteur is definitely one of the most celebrated scientists of all time. Why wouldn’t he be?
The guy came up with cures for everything from rabies to silkworm diseases. He also shaped modern biology and biochemistry. And in doing so, made some of the most important contributions to science.
Oh, and he also established the science behind the process of fermentation. Yup. That’s also when he became the coolest scientist ever.
And while nothing good comes out of War, this was an exception. This turn of events was an indirect result of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Allow us to elaborate.
Basically, Napolean, after getting a spot of bad advice, declared war on Prussia. He suffered a crushing defeat, something history books across the world have not let anyone forget since. Also, an example of ‘worst advice ever’.
To top it all, this led to the unification of Germany too.
Remember kids—stay in school. Nerds always win.
Also, image courtesy pasteurbrewing.com
But, why Pasteur?
Turns out Pasteur was quite the patriot. He didn’t take this whole defeated-by-the-Germans thing too well. This was also the time when Germany was considered the authority on beer.
But Pasteur had a feeling that his knowledge about the process by which beer was acquired was far superior. And he decided that if he couldn’t put the Germans in place through warfare, he’d bloody well do it through it beer…fare. Umm.
Well, he fully and thoroughly got into researching the entire brewing process down to the fermentation. After rigorous analysis, Pasteur figured that he probably understood more about beer and the brewing process than anyone around. And rather generously, he offered to share his knowledge with anyone who wanted to improve the quality of their beer—anyone except the Germans, of course.
What was so anti-German about it?
Well, for starters, he insisted that any brewers using his methods to improve their process should call their beers Bière de la Revanche Nationale. And if you don’t speak French, that’s ‘Beers of the National Revenge’ for you. Yup. Burrrrrn!
He took his quest for information to bigger, more scientific breweries in London, returned to France, and came to the conclusion that beer was formed because of micro-organisms. He published a book called Ètudes sur la bière on the same topic.
This book became the holy handbook of brewing across all major breweries and revolutionised the approach to brewing forever.
*Cue angelic music.*
This literally marked the shift of brewing from being some kind of magical, uncontrollable process into a highly regulated and monitored scientific process.
And we’ve been regarded as scientists on the forefront of developing cutting-edge solutions for human well-being ever since.
(That’s how Matt introduced himself anyway. Don’t tell him we told you.)
Santé, Monsieur Pasteur!