...and then they came for our beersA problem with the beer supply: Is this what it's going to take for people to take climate change more seriously? NPR reports that the historic drought that California has been facing could leave a bad taste in the local beer. Lest we forget, water is the main ingredient in beer, and the local water supply has definitely been affected:
Like several other smaller local breweries, Lagunitas makes its beer with water from the Russian River, a 110-mile waterway that provides drinking water for more than half a million people. [...] "If [the county] shifts us over to groundwater, we'd have to sacrifice our nice water supply — that unique, signature, clean Russian River water," says Jeremy Marshall, head brewer at Lagunitas.
The problem with groundwater, he says, is that it's heavy in minerals that don't go well with beer. "It would be like brewing with Alka-Seltzer," Marshall says.
Water flavors could be masked in more malty or bitter beers, but more grainy and hoppy styles of beers might not fare so well. "A beer that might normally taste crisp and refreshing could have an astringent taste — kind of planky, like Popsicle stick," Marshall says.
Beer-lovers don't despair. There are technical solutions to this (reverse-osmosis and then remineralization, etc), but the underlying point is that changing climate patterns and more extreme climate events can affect all kinds of things. Beer might not be the most important, but it's a good reminder that we must be better stewards of Earth's natural resources and be careful with our clean water supply. Like oxygen, we might not realize how important it is until it's scarce...