Those who have taken the time to study the brewing empire that Peter Ballantine founded know that Ballantine ran two plants in Newark, New Jersey. The larger of the two plants was the ale brewery and the maltings. The smaller plant was originally the Schalk Brothers Brewery. Like many breweries from that period of time, Schalk Brothers found itself in debt to its maltster, which was Ballantine. Ballantine acquired the Schalk Brothers Brewery in order to enter the booming lager beer market.
With that said, it is an open secret that Siebel Bry 96 (a.k.a. "Chico," 1056, WLP001, and US-05) is a Ballantine strain. However, recent discoveries have to led many to question whether Bry 96 was used in the ale brewery or the beer brewery, as there are two separate Ballantine cultures in the ARS NRRL collection.
Accession numbers in other collections: Lange 2
Isolated from (substrate): BR, Beer pitching yeast
Substrate location: Ballantine Brewery, New Jersey, USA
Comments: ID from 26S renal partial sequences.
Accession numbers in other collections: Lange 4
Isolated from (substrate): BR, Ale pitching yeast
Comments: ID from 26S rDNA partial sequences
Bry 96 is unlike most ale yeast strains in that it is a diploid (GSY708 in Dunn and Sherlock's paper: http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2008/09/11/gr.076075.108.full.pdf
). Most ale strains are polyploids. Bry 96 also behaves unlike any other ale strain, which leads me to believe that it was indeed used in the beer brewery on Freeman Street. However, the evidence that solidifies my belief that Bry 96 was used in the beer brewery is this photograph of a brewery worker skimming an open fermentation vessel at the Ballantine ale brewery.
Bry 96 is not a top-cropping yeast strain. However, Bry 97 is a top-cropping strain. The fact that both of these strains are one accession number apart leads me to believe that Bry 96 is NRRL Y-7407 and Bry 97 is NRRL Y-7408. The accession numbers are too low to be microbrewery cultures. For reference, the Christian Schmidt strain is Bry 118. Siebel has been in business since 1882.