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Climate Crisis Will Change Taste of Beer, Making It More Expensive

two glasses of Beer
Climate crisis, including increased droughts and less rainfall, will change the taste of beer. Credit: k.ivoutin / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A new study shows that the quality and taste of beer is going down, and it might become more expensive in bars due to climate change. Experts warn beer prices could rise in the future for British and European drinkers because hop yields are dropping.

The researchers pointed out that more frequent droughts in agriculture will directly affect the amount and quality of hops grown.

Hops are what make beer taste and smell the way it does, and they come in various types. The study shows climate change is causing a decrease in the quality and quantity of traditional aroma hops in Europe. It is a call for quick action to keep international beer markets stable.

Decrease in hop yields from 12 to 35 percent between 2021 to 2050

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications and revealed that all scenarios indicate a decrease in hop yields ranging from twelve to thirty-five percent from 2021 to 2050 in all the main hop-growing areas of Europe.

Britain will also be affected by these declines, but the most significant drops in hop production are expected in Slovenia, Portugal, and Spain, according to the report.

Certain regions in Europe produce hops with citrus, floral, and fruity scents favored in many UK beers.

The authors mentioned farmers will need to find ways to adjust and reduce the impact of a warming planet on their crops.

The report also states that because agricultural droughts are expected to increase significantly in Southern Europe and moderately in Central Europe, there will be a need to increase the area where aroma hops are grown by twenty percent compared to the current production area to make up for the expected decrease.

In the summer, almost half of the land in the European Union experienced “severe” drought conditions, which put added pressure on food production.

Czech Republic known for most beer consumption

Beer brewing in Central Europe has a long history spanning thousands of years, and it is an essential part of the culture. A report by the Japanese beermaker Kirin says people in the Czech Republic consume more beer per capita than any other place on Earth.

In Germany, where there has been a 500-year-old “purity law” governing beer production, the world-famous Oktoberfest attracts six million beer enthusiasts from around the globe every year, reported The Guardian.

The study discovered that the alpha acid content in hops, responsible for beer’s unique aroma, has decreased in all regions.

Due to increasing temperatures and reduced rainfall, some hop farmers have taken measures such as relocating their gardens to higher altitudes, placing them in valleys with better water availability, and altering the spacing between crop rows.

Andreas Auernhammer, a hop farmer in Spalt of Southern Germany, mentioned that the overall rainfall in his fields hasn’t changed significantly, but now, the timing of the rain has become less favorable for crops.

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