It doesn’t get much more ‘straya than a brew made from your Aussie pantry staple, Vegemite. It might seem like an urban myth but apparently, it’s now a reality, according to scientists.
University of Queensland researcher Dr Ben Schulz and his team set out to investigate claims that the black yeast extract from Vegemite was once used to brew beer in Indigenous communities where alcohol was banned.
Combined with other products, Schulz and his team found it particularly easy to make an alcoholic drink safe for human consumption from Vegemite. “Our data showed that home-brewed Vegemite beer could be easily made from sugar, Vegemite and yeast but not from just Vegemite and sugar, or sugar and yeast,” he said.
The drink, which resembles a cloudy ginger beer, is apparently bland-tasting but has that distinct Vegemite after-taste Aussies around the country know and love. “The Vegemite added the nutrients necessary for the fermentation process, but there are also many other sorts of food apart from Vegemite – such as fruits or ginger – that could provide those additional nutrients.”
What’s more? Vegemite beer is ridiculously cheap to make. In fact, Schulz estimated the real-world cost of the beer would be about 9 cents per 375 millilitres, compared to the retail cost of bulk commercial beer – which is about $1.60 for the same volume. Get brewing, kids.