Missing Linck Yeast Was Found in an Abandoned Lagering Cellar, Now It Has Its Own Holiday

This beer fest celebrates the long-lost Cincinnati yeast strain.

A group of people toasting at an outdoor beer festival
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

Any beer lover loves a beer festival. A chance to drink a lot of different beers? Count me in! Sometimes, these fests will even focus on a specific style of beer: hoppy beers or dark beers. But a forthcoming beer festival in Cincinnati is getting even more technical than that: It's a fest dedicated to a single strain of yeast.

The Missing Linck Festival will be taking place this June 4 at the Urban Artifact and Humble Monk breweries in the Northside neighborhood of Cincinnati. At first, the name of the event — which will feature ten different breweries from across the region — may seem… well… nonsensical. What is a "Missing Linck"? But it's actually the name of an approximately 150-year-old yeast strain that has caused quite a stir in the city — and even has its own holiday.

According to the festival website, Missing Linck gets its name from Frank and Joseph A. Linck, German immigrants who opened the Linck Brewery back in 1855. Germans are known for making lager beers, which require cold temperatures, and likewise, the brewery had an underground lagering cellar — which began to change hands when the brewery went bust before eventually being sealed off.

In 2016, this cellar was rediscovered — including an intact pre-Prohibition wooden fermenting tank. A year later, local beer historian Michael D. Morgan, along Urban Artifact's Bret Kollmann Baker and Josh Elliott, collected samples from the cellar and, amazingly, found a preserved strain of brewers yeast. Using a bit of wordplay, the strain was named Missing Linck yeast — and the first modern beer brewed with it was released in 2019.

Urban Artifact then decided to gift the yeast to the entire city as a living piece of Cincinnati history, and on June 1, 2019, the City Council unanimously declared the date Missing Linck Day, giving the yeast its own annual holiday.

From there, another idea: Have breweries across the city brew their own Missing Linck brew for a Missing Linck beer festival. But this long lost yeast would have to wait a bit longer: proposed Missing Linck Festivals in both 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to the pandemic. But now, the lost yeast will finally get its chance to shine.

"We are extremely excited to expand Missing Linck this year and bring together an amazing team of people," Kollmann Baker, Urban Artifact's co-founder, said according to Cincinnatti.com. "When the discovery was first made, we were a bit overwhelmed with the gravity and importance of this yeast. Being able to bring other breweries on board and to see how they add their own style is what we had always hoped to see. That's what will ensure this tradition carries on."

For anyone simply looking to try these beers, entry is free, and all ten options will be pouring at both host breweries starting at noon until the beers run out. However, the festival has a few paid events as well: a beer and cheese pairing at Urban Artifact starting at 4 p.m. for $45, a beer and dessert pairing at Urban Artifact starting at 1 p.m. for $30, and a talk about the discovery of Missing Linck yeast that includes a sample six Missing Linck brews at Humble Monk starting at 2:30 p.m. for $25. Tickets for all the events can be purchased on the fest website.

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