While scientists gauge the impact of climate change, working to predict our future, New Belgium Brewing Co., found a way to brew one. It’s just a future, however, that it hopes we never experience.
The Beer of a Future You Don’t Want
In honor of Earth Day, New Belgium created a very limited edition version of Fat Tire dubbed Torched Earth Ale. According to the Fort Collins, CO-based brewer, the beer was made using agricultural ingredients that might survive climate change: less-than-ideal options such as smoked malt, dandelions, hops extract, and drought-resistant grains like millet and buckwheat. By comparison, the brewery’s flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale uses three types of hops and four malt strains.
“While it’s technically beer, it’s not great.” New Belgium writes on its website. Other descriptors used by reviewers include “terrible,” “pretty gross,” and “intentionally awful.”
Torched Earth is part of a campaign that New Belgium is calling Last Call for Climate. In 2020, Fat Tire Amber Ale became the first certified, nationally distributed, carbon neutral beer. Now it hopes that other companies will make similar commitments. According to New Belgium, 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies don’t have a plan to address climate change by 2030. The company is asking for beer drinkers help in a “last call” on Twitter to pressure these companies to come up with better way to deal with climate change.
Cody Reif, R&D brewer at New Belgium, says that he hopes people who taste Torched Earth can associate its disappointing flavor with hope. “We can still change things. We can make it that this doesn’t become the future of beer.”
The future affected by climate change may be grim, but thanks to New Belgium, now we know that a future without good beer is even grimmer.
“If this was the beer of the future,” Reif says, “I would probably drink less beer.”
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