Climate Change Could Make Beer Taste Worse And Cost More

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that climate change is permanently altering the world we live in every day. But a new study published in the journal, Nature Communications has revealed that climate change might be about to irreversible change one of the world’s most popular alcoholic beverages. Beer. According to the new information, this bubbly beverage may lose its signature bitterness and get much more pricey in the future, all thanks to rising temperatures.

Beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage worldwide and the third most consumed in general after tea and coffee, so it’s no wonder that the idea of changing its flavour has set people abuzz. But to understand how climate change is going to have these effects, it’s important to first understand what beer really is. 

The four basic components of beer are water, grains, hops and yeast. Grains are mashed and malted to form wort, into which the hops flower is added which gives beer its distinct flavours and variations in bitterness. And it's the hops plant that is currently under threat

Researchers from the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Cambridge University have uncovered how climate change might greatly impact the quantity and quality of European hops flowers. The study shows that the growing popularity of craft beers has driven up the demand for high-quality hops. Additionally, the scientists observed a decline in the alpha bitter acids of hops, which significantly influence the flavour of beer. This decrease is attributed to the higher and more extreme temperatures.

But simultaneously dry spells and warmer temperatures have proven to harm the growth of these flowers. The scientists' models predict that traditional hops yields in Europe may decrease by 4 to 18 per cent by 2050. Furthermore, the production of hop acids, which contribute to flavour, is expected to decline by 20 to 31 per cent.

Since the pandemic, it’s estimated that beer prices have risen an average of 13% and with this newfound demand for hops coupled with the decreasing yields, it seems that we’re on track to see another inevitable spike in the future. So if for any reason, you haven’t been concerned about the climate crisis in the past, here’s a new and “beery” good reason for you to get involved.