How climate change is altering the taste of beer

The effects of weather patterns on the planet are also worsening what is probably one of your favourite drinks.

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A new report published in the journal Nature Plants suggests a new victim of climate change: beer. 

If we needed yet another reason to raise awareness of climate change, here it is. Beer production is being haunted by the relentless rise in global temperature and its possible apocalyptic consequences. In particular hops and/or those bitter flowers that provide the flavour and aroma of beer.

Hops are mainly grown in locations in Germany, the Czech Republic, New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest region of the USA; places where rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall have been empirically evidenced over the last few years.

This not only reduces hop yields to 35%, but also alters their flavour, with lower levels of bitter acids in the hops. That bitterness which makes the beer ‘taste like beer’ seems to be diluted, leading to producers having to increase the use of hops, as well as their selling price.

Possible solutions

Experts have presented a number of alternatives and/or ways to maintain hop production, such as FOR HOPS, which developed hop-specific sensors that can keep farmers up to date on soil conditions.

Similarly, others have experimented with growing new hop varieties that are more resistant to climate change, as well as growing them in cooler regions to reduce the risk of very high temperatures.