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Global Warming Threatens Beer Industry

Czech beer Bernard
Czech beer Bernard

Lately a team of researchers from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute with the climatologist Martin Mozny on head published a study on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology reporting that recent climate changes impact negatively on hop yields in the Czech Republic. In turn it worsens quality of beer, especially famous Czech pilsners.

The study says that even moderate warming during the last five years has caused decline in quality of hop yields. And in the nearest future the situation may change from bad to worse. The scientists estimate that in coming years yields may drop by up to 10%.

Other threat to beer quality due to global warning is that content of so called Alpha acids that determine quality of brew and give it distinctive bitter taste is also dropping. According to this study the amount of above mentioned acids has been steadily dropping by 0.06% per year since 1950s and may drop even more – by up to 32% - if the negative warming trend remains.

All of these sound very sad indeed. In the long run it may mean that beer as we know it at the moment can change dramatically due to various artificial ingredients intended to improve is taste and quality. It can also become rather expensive due to the deficit of available hop.

We would like to hope that famous Czech beers won’t suffer such a fate and our successors will drink good old Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser, Staropramen, Branik and so on. It would be very unhappy course of events if they could only read about old and reach brewing traditions in the future analogue of Wikipedia.

Photo: Czech beer Bernard, by Karelj (wikimedia.org)

Date: 23/09/2009

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