This Urban Artifact Beer Comes From 150-year-old Yeast

Urban Artifact’s Missing Linck reanimates century-old yeast from the F. & J.A. Linck Brewery.

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Bret Kollmann Baker, chief of brewing operations at Urban Artifact, wasn’t exactly optimistic. Two years ago he and his crew ventured into the damp, musty F. & J.A. Linck Brewery’s 19th-century beer cellar underneath a residential building on the corner of Race and Findlay Streets in hopes of finding viable brewer’s yeast. But after a thorough testing process and lots of patience, Missing Linck was born. The malty golden ale with notes of clove becomes the brewery’s latest “artifact” in June, created from an estimated 150-year-old brewer’s yeast they extracted from one of 150 samples scraped from surfaces within the bygone brewery. The samples were safety tested, brewed for taste, and sent to a lab in Chicago for final analysis. Baker gives credit to the rare yeast for doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. “[As brewers,] we’re just making sugar water—it’s the yeast that really defines the final flavor,” he says. The ale will be canned and sold at smaller specialty stores, including Higher Gravity. Urban Artifact taps the first of around 40 kegs on June 1, when they’ll also debut a documentary detailing that trip into the cellar.

Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock St., Northside, (513) 620-4729,

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