Hopocalypse: Climate Change Threatens Beer’s Flavour

By: | October 16th, 2023

According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), which monitors global beverage consumption, beer ranks as the third most widely consumed beverage worldwide, following water and tea.

The quality of the hops used plays a significant role in this distinction

European beer styles enjoy global popularity, with nations like Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic standing out. These European brews are renowned for their rich variety of high-quality hop strains, a key element contributing to the unique attributes of these beers.

Brewing Storm: Climate Change’s Bitter Impact on Beer Lovers

A recent study from the Czech Academy of Sciences suggests that climate change may soon affect the quality of hops, potentially leading to changes in beer flavors.

The Czech Academy of Sciences, a renowned institution in the Czech Republic, has conducted extensive research on the quality and attributes of European beers, including Czech classics like Pilsner and Budvar.

In the study, researchers examined the average aroma hop yields during two periods: from 1971 to 1994 and from 1995 to 2018. They discovered that in certain crucial hop-producing regions, there was a substantial decrease of nearly 20% in hop output.

Warming Trends Threaten Bitterness: Hops Quality at Risk

Scientists attributed the decline in crop yields to drier conditions, likely influenced by recent climate changes. Furthermore, the researchers noted a decrease in the alpha bitter acids of the hops, which directly impacted the flavour of the beer. This reduction was attributed to rising and more extreme temperatures.

According to their study, it is anticipated that the bitter acids could decline by as much as 31% by 2050.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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