Here's How Beer Will Taste In A 'Climate-Ravaged Future'

Oct 29, 2021by Olivia - F&F

New Belgium Brewing has released its limited-edition Torched Earth Ale; a beer made from ingredients that would be available to brewers in a climate-ravaged future. Curious? So are we! Let’s take a look at why this awful-tasting beer is making headlines — for all the right reasons!  

New Belgium Brewing Torched Earth AleNew Belgium Brewing Torched Earth Ale

This Is What ‘Climate Change In A Can’ Tastes Like!

Aptly nicknamed ‘climate change in a can’, New Belgium Brewing’s Torched Earth Ale uses smoke-tainted water, weeds like dandelions, and drought-resistant grains to represent the future of beer brewing if big companies don’t take aggressive action on climate change.

The brewers at New Belgium started with smokey malt to mimic the impact that wildfires will have on water supply, then added drought-resistant grains like millet and buckwheat, which are most tolerant to shifting agricultural zones. They also added dandelions for bitterness and shelf-stable hop extract, which is far less aromatic and fresh. 

“The resulting dark starchy liquid with smokey aromatics is not likely to win any awards, but does highlight the stakes of climate change for beer lovers everywhere".

Beer Barley Climate ChangeBeer Barley Climate Change

The Climate Crisis Will Impact Beer — Unless We Take Action

So, why on Earth would a brewery create a disgusting beer? Well, beer is one of the world’s most-loved alcoholic beverages — especially here in Australia. When we think of the climate crisis, we don’t often think about how it’ll affect our favourite beverages, like beer, wine and coffee. The reality is that these beverages are likely to look and taste different if our climate crisis unfolds. 

“Like every part of our economy, the brewing industry is in the crosshairs of climate change. As the crisis grows unabated, traditional ingredients like barley would be far more expensive as growing regions shrink due to increased temperatures,” said the New Belgium brewers. Plus, “all kinds of ingredients would become perpetually tainted by smoke from wildfires, which have rapidly grown hotter and more dangerous in recent years”.

New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire BeerNew Belgium Brewing Fat Tire Beer

New Belgium Brewing Produced America’s First Carbon-Neutral Beer

That’s why the team at New Belgium Brewing are doing everything they can to reduce their own emissions and shine the spotlight on the future of brewing — if we don’t act! Last year, the folks at New Belgium Brewing created America’s first certified carbon-neutral beer, called Fat Tire

It’s all part of their climate plan, which includes reaching net-zero emissions by 2030. To achieve this, the company is transitioning to 100% renewable energy and encouraging other breweries to do the same. Plus, the team have donated $17 million to nonprofits working on climate solutions and land and water conservation, as well as climate-resilient crop varieties. “If you don’t have a climate plan, you don’t have a business plan. Aggressive action to help solve the climate crisis is not only an urgent environmental and social imperative,” said New Belgium CEO, Steve Fechheimer.

Beer BrandsBeer Brands

“Last Call For Climate”

To spur meaningful climate action from big companies, New Belgium Brewing is asking beer-drinkers to speak up. Around 70 per cent of Fortune 500 companies lack a meaningful climate action plan, therefore, through the “last call for climate” online tool, users are able to check whether their favourite brands have adopted 2030 climate targets.

If they haven’t, the tool allows you to contact the company via Twitter: “70% of Fortune 500 companies don’t have a real plan to address climate change by 2030. They need to step up and do more. It’s our #LastCallForClimate. Ask your favourite brand to make climate action their business at”. Pretty cool, right? 

New Belgium has also released a “how-to” toolkit to help fellow breweries to measure carbon emissions and eventually become carbon neutral!

I think we can all agree that a future without beer is pretty hard to imagine! New Belgium Brewing is hoping that this bold (and unusual) move will help to tackle the brewing industry’s carbon emissions and raise public awareness of climate change — including its potentially awful impacts on our beloved beer. 

If you’d like to get involved in New Belgium’s initiative, or learn more about the Torched Earth ale — head to the Drink Sustainably page and watch this behind the scenes YouTube video by New Belgium!

We love seeing creative ways to raise public awareness of climate change! Check out the blogs below for more. 

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