beer tastes worse


climate change is starting to degrade the quality of beer. Or so say a team at the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute lead by the climatologist Martin Mozny.

The team has just published a study in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology which concludes that “even with the modest warming so far experienced, [hop] yields [in the Czech Republic] have stagnated and quality declined”.

But it is the decline in quality of the Saaz hops, which produce the famous Czech pilsners, that is perhaps most worrying for beer lovers.

The “Alpha” acid content – “a major determinant of quality”, according to the team, as it’s the compound that produces a pilsner’s defining bitter taste – is likely to fall a further 13–32% if the predicted warming occurs.

The Guardian, 15 Sep 2009