Climate Change = Less Beer?!

Say it ain't so: Higher temps might mean a drop in crop yields and quality for hops, an essential ingredient for tasty brews
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Say it ain't so: Higher temps might mean a drop in crop yields and quality for hops, an essential ingredient for tasty brews

The poles are melting, our forests are burning up, and people are freezing to death—but so what? Those are small potatoes compared to the real problem caused by climate change: an impending beer shortage. If the above-mentioned calamities are not enough to convince you to lower your carbon footprint, imagine finishing a multi-day backpack without the delicate and slightly bitter reward of a thirst-quenching pilsner lager.

Got your attention? Thought so. A study conducted by climatologist Martin Mozny of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute concluded that the quality of Saaz hops, the variety used to produce pilsner lager, has been declining in recent years. The study sampled data from weather patterns, crop yield, and hop quality from 1954 to 2006 and found that concentrations of alpha acids responsible for the beer’s flavor have consistently dropped by 0.06 percent each year since 1954. They concluded the drop in quality and yield came as a direct result of higher air temperatures.

Rresearchers predict that if future climate scenarios pan out, the quality will just keep dropping. Unfortunately, the drop in hops quality isn't limited to the Czech Republic; areas of eastern Germany and central Slovakia, both hop-growing meccas of the world, will likely experience the same decline.

First you take our glaciers, and now you take our beer? Watch out, climate change...this time, it's personal.

-Jordan Olmsted

Doh! Good Beer Is At Stake In The Battle Against Climate Change (MMN)

Climate Change Depresses Beer Drinkers (New Scientist)

Photo Credit: Carrie Miltenburger