…now there’s a study showing that hops are being compromised. By global warming!
Climatologist Martin Mozny of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute and colleagues say that the quality of Saaz hops – the delicate variety used to make pilsner lager – has been decreasing in recent years. They say the culprit is climate change in the form of increased air temperature.
Mozny’s team used a high-resolution dataset of weather patterns, crop yield and hop quality to estimate the impact of climate change on Saaz hops in the Czech Republic between 1954 and 2006.
We all remember the dreaded hop shortage from 2007, and that wasn’t pretty. But now we may have some indication as to what caused that shortage. And it’s also proof that global warming is definitely happening!
Well, maybe. These kinds of studies are always interesting, and it does show some correlation, but it doesn’t show any causation. There are way too many variables to completely connect this to global warming, but it’s something to at least think about, especially if these type of studies are repeated in different areas of the world.
Mozny notes in the article that this type of decrease in hop quality is being seen in Germany and Slovakia as well. I haven’t heard anything about this change happening in America yet, but we’ll surely be following this trend. And if you’re feeling a little down about raising the earth’s temperature, thus compromising the hops that let us enjoy a Friday night, maybe consider drinking some beer from these breweries that place the importance of the environment next to the importance of their beer:
Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, NY: You’d think a big city brewery in a bustling metropolis would place production and cost-efficiency well above environmental protection. Not so. The Brooklyn Brewery runs on 100% wind power through purchasing wind power from a wind farm in Upstate New York. Not many other breweries in the nation can make a statement like that. A small brewery making a big difference.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA: We rave about Sierra Nevada a lot here, but even their commitment to the environment earns our praise. With the solar panels on the roof, a fuel cell training lab on-site, and a machine that recycles expelled CO2 in the brewing process and uses it in dispensing their beer, Sierra Nevada sounds more like an experimental science lab than a brewery. All this is astonishing when you consider the size of the establishment. And the delicious beer they serve.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland, OH: Great Lakes Brewing is one of many breweries that recycles their barley and gives it to local farmers. But they’re one of the few breweries that makes a commitment to printing all menus and promotional material on recycled prodects, using biodiesel in delivery trucks and shuttles, and creating food from barley used in the brewing process. Any brewery that’s in the mood for reusing materials makes us want to reuse their beer when we’re thirsty.
Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, WI: Using 100% organic malts and hops, this smaller brewery in Wisconsin also makes a commitment to using wind energy as a source of power, as well as making a dedication to include Wisconsin growers in their plans for future beer production. The brewery also offers tours on Fridays that showcase the brewery’s dedication to a better environment through operational procedures that are making beer better and more eco-friendly.
New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, CO: Using one of the most efficient brewing kettles in the country, treating their waste water in eco-friendly ways, and always pushing to reduce their carbon-footprint, New Belgium Brewing not only makes some great beer, but also does it all while making a positive impact that will be noticed by generations of beer drinkers to come. Plus, who ever wants to pass-up a Fat Tire when you find it on tap at a bar? Not us.