PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman looked into making a low-calorie beer that would also taste good he worked closely with Oregon State University.
Now, beer in class isn’t what it sounds like. Students who study fermentation science at OSU learn in the school’s brewery — but this place isn’t just well-known for its research work.
“We also do work with industrial clients who come to us and say, hey, we either have a recipe that we want to develop, we want you to help us develop a recipe or we have a new ingredient we want you to test,” said OSU professor and brewing chemist, Dr. Tom Shellhammer.
Shellhammer said a company did just that and approached the OSU beer experts nearly two years ago to help as paid consultants.
“They didn’t reveal who their sort of key person was until we were deep into the project,” said Shellhammer. When Aikman was revealed as one of the partners the team thought it “was kinda a fun surprise.”
The beer company is called Eight after the number worn by the former Dallas Cowboy, super-winning quarterback.
“This beer is for people who recognize the value of wellness, right? Not just hardcore fitness, but wellness,” said Doug Campbell, co-CEO of Eight Brewing Co.
Prioritizing wellness, Campbell said, is a route Aikman always wanted — especially as a co-founder.
“We sort of wanted to go with what’s called an all-malt beer, which is one that doesn’t use any adjuncts and yet still gets down to those functional credentials,” said Campbell.
Those adjuncts, he explains are also known as fillers. And when it came to the science in testing flavors and prototypes that would lead to the 90-calorie, 2.6-carb beer.
Shelhammer’s team would send samples to Aikman in Texas, and from there they’d have virtual meetings to discuss the samples.
“We would have these virtual prototype evaluations around a virtual table with Doug and Phil and some of the other folks, as well as Troy and ourselves,” said Shelhammer.
With a winning recipe finalized, Aikman touched down in Corvallis to meet the team that helped him — and to see where and how it all happened.
“We’re pretty unique, I would say, in the western hemisphere,” said Shelhammer. “So, it was neat to have them come and sort of validate that.”
The beer is only sold in Texas currently — although if things go well, the company may expand to other states.