Al East Coast Yeast

When you hang around breweries as much as I do, you never know who you may come across. You may meet another blogger, another brewer but how often do you get to meet a yeast maker? On my trip to Flounder Brewing a few weeks back I was introduced to Al Buck from East Coast Yeast. He is a bit under the radar and is working closely with a few breweries all over the country, procuring yeast cultures of all magnitudes with everything from ale yeasts to funky sour cultures. One of the coolest things about Al is he has the original Ballantine strain which has found it’s way back to New Jersey via Flounder’s Hill Street Honey Ale.

Al has been around the beer game for quite some time and had a fascination with micro biology, so he figured, why not start a yeast company. Keeping to the artisanal route of things, Al has aimed his business to bring back strains that have been lost over time while creating new ones in the process and giving breweries and home brewer’s a viable product that is just as local as their beer.

The Bruery - Batch 50 - Grand Funk Aleroad
East Coast Yeast isn’t Al’s only claim to fame. In 2009, Al won a home brew competition with west coast beer maker, The Bruery, with a complex gueze style sour that eventually became Batch 50. Made in the classic Belgian Gueze style, they brewed the beer once in 2009 and again in 2010, ultimately blending the two together with other vintage lambics, adding wild yeast and bacteria to the barrels along the way. I think the neatest part about the story is that Al got to have a lot of hands on experience with the beer. Flying out to California multiple times, he was able to help with the brewing, blending, and bottling process. That has to be gratifying for a home brewer, don’t you think?

Al is a great guy and a wealth of knowledge on anything beer. I look forward to seeing how East Coast Yeast grows over the next few years. Working with breweries like Fire Stone Walker and The Bruery, even our own locals like Kane and Bolero Snort, East Coast Yeast has something to offer everyone from the small guys to the big ones. I would like to thanks Al for taking the time to speak with me, it was a true pleasure meeting the man behind East Coast Yeast and even more of a pleasure trying your beers, Cheers.