From the onset, let’s establish that unwanted lactobacillus can leave a bad tastes in one’s mouth. The unexpected sour and pucker of an accidentally infected beer is a real punch in the mouth, especially when the style is not particularly conducive to the beer. That being said, let’s address the merit of the organism itself and scrunch our tightly wrinkled faces in its sour glory.
Cooking has some amazing connectivity to beer. Many of the yeasts, bacteria, and maillardization processes that have profound effects on the flavors we love are common in both. Lactobacillus is no exception to the rule. I’ve compiled a brief list of things many of us love in order to draw attention to the beauty this bacteria offers.
- Sour beers of all sorts- For those of you who love sour beers, you can thank this bacteria for having a major impact on the brew. Many ciders also have it.
- Fermented foods- Pickles, Kimchi, doughs of all sorts have this bacteria. Great breads (sourdoughs) and pizza doughs (I’ve seen it argued that it is indispensable to a great pizza) both contain this bacteria. If you like the Ethiopian flat bread known as injera, then you know how important it is. Yogurt is another one.
- Aged foods- Many great salamis of the world have lactobacillus in them. Like sharp cheddar or other cheeses? Thank you, lactobacillus. Even some chocolates have small amounts.
- Health foods- So called Probiotics such as kombucha are known for having this puppy. Benefits include positive impacts on gastrointestinal health, anti-tumor, anti-cancer. It also aids in respiratory health, helping treat pneumonia and bronchitis. It lowers allergy risks like hay fever, helps with IBS, prevents yeast infections, and is even linked to boosting overall immunity health. It can even help in treating high cholesterol.
How about a sour beer and some other lactobacillus foods! Not that you need any more reasons than the taste—but you have them anyway.