If you find yourself a beer lover and always looking for the next craft brew, you need to take note on climate change. Global warning continues to impact all types of farming and agriculture, including those most important for beer such as hops and barley. With the long running craze, hops are one of the most important aspects of brewing beer. As of 2015, 70% of hops are grown in Washinton, 15% in Oregon, and 11% in Idaho.
The unusually high temperatures and drought made it harder for these little flavor flowers to be produced. According to http://www.uvm.edu mature hop plants need roughly 16 gallons per plant per week. A well producing vine will create between .75 to 2 pounds of dried hops per vine. Running the numbers, you can see that it takes an immense amount of water to keep the breweries running. That only counts the hops, not the malt. The droughts along the West Coast only make these numbers even more extreme to attain. According to University of Washington, the climate models show that the unusual heat from the previous year will become the new normal.
Not only does the additional heat and lack of rain water make it more difficult to irrigate these hop crops, it means that groundwater will be used. Groundwater has been reported to result in a negative taste for beer.
Sadly this all points to the fact that climate change negatively affects American’s favorite beverage in a very real way. Without hops, none of your favorite beers will ever be the same. As for most things, it is not too late to make a change. More and more breweries are realizing the impacts of climate change. Many of these breweries have signed the Brewery Climate Declaration. This document shows their commitment to sustainable practices.
IF you love beer, you care about climate change. It is never too late to change and/or help the world in a positive way.