Summer is more active. Winter is snowier. Spring is more graceful. And the weather in the fall suddenly falls. as such Climate change Accelerating, the drumbeat of grim environmental news can leave us pining for a beer. But even that cold comfort is no longer given.
Silver Bullet et al. It is the end product of agriculture, and there is no raw material in beer more important than barley malt. It’s the primary ingredient for most beers, from back brewery to the spicier local brewery IPA. But in recent years, barley farmers have dealt with droughts, heat waves and floods that can negatively affect the quality and productivity of crops.
“You are at the mercy of the climate,” says Jason Sahler, owner of a Brooklyn brewery. strong ropewhich uses hops and New York State grains.
To better navigate an environmentally uncertain future, and keep beer flowing, some farmers and breweries are turning to flexible grains and newly developed malt strains better suited to an uncertain world. Origin Malt of Ohio works with farmers to grow nut puffins, a hardy winter barley well suited to harsh Midwest weather. Breed by Cornell University in Ithaca, Excelsior Gold barley excels in wet New York spring.
Earlier this year, Dogfish Head partnered with Patagonia Provisions on a boring rig containing topsoil-conserving Kernza, a trademarked perennial grain with deep roots that locks carbon into the soil.
“We found Kernza to have these lovely peppery, earthy undertones,” says Sam Calajeon, founder of Dogfish Head, who promotes the beer mission with the slogan: “Drink up to droop.” “It’s an easy proposition for consumers to understand that it tastes good and does good.”
Here, three beers use flexi grains.
NE IPA Flash Beta: Nocterra Brewing Powell, OH
Named after slang for a rock-climbing brown, Beta Flash acidic IPA is fermented with Origin Malt’s Puffin, a type of proprietary winter malt that grows well in Ohio and elsewhere in the Midwest.
[Price varies by store; nocterrabrewing.com]
Craft Dog Head Kernza Bells Brewery
Jointly released with Patagonia Provisions, this pilsner contains organic Contessa kernels and a perennial grain called Kernza, a relative of wheat whose roots efficiently derive nutrients from deep in the earth.
[$11.99, 6-pack; drizly.com]
Earthquake Brewing Company Tremor California Light Lager
California farmers practice no-till farming methods, a sustainable measure that reduces soil erosion, and grow the 100 percent organic barley that forms the basis of this award-winning light ale.
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