From the wild-yeasts-can’t-be-broken department: We all know that Northern California takes advantage of its natural yeasts, but some artisans aren’t using those yeasts for anything as pedestrian as bread.

Gourmet profiles Vinnie Cilurzo of Sonoma County’s Russian River Brewing Company: “‘I like making beers with bugs and critters,’ says Cilurzo of his sour, Belgian-style ales fermented with Brettanomyces, a particularly potent type of yeast that he has experimented with since 1999.”

Besides a sourness, the wild yeast gives his beers—which are aged a minimum of six months—an “earthy barnyard funkiness.”

But he has to be supercareful. If his other beers (including the yummilicious Pliny the Elder) get the drift of that yeast, it could be “devastating,” so he has two very separate sets of brewing equipment: one for the beers brewed with Brett, and one for his tamer beers.

Got a hankering for some other American wild brews? BeerAdvocate can help with that.

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