If you like beer, you should probably listen to all those reports and studies about how a warming planet is ruining the Earth.
The main ingredients in beer – grain, hops, yeast, and of course water – are already in high demand because of the growing craft beer industry around the country. Throw strange weather patterns in the mix, and it can really impact what goes into your beer and how it tastes.
It's with that in mind that Bent Paddle Brewing has a beer to help stop climate change.
The Duluth-based brewery released Climate Generation Black IPA this week. Five percent of proceeds from the limited-release beer go to Climate Generation – a group that's dedicated to engaging people and their communities to find solutions to climate change, a news release says.
The 750ml bottles are available at liquor stores across the state, as well as at the brewery, local bars and restaurants.
"We hope that this beer brings people together to discuss what we can do now to address the threat of climate change over a pint of Climate Generation Black IPA," Laura Mullen, co-founder of Bent Paddle, said in the release.
This is the latest effort in Bent Paddle's sustainability mission. The brewery has pushed for clean water initiatives, and works to reduce its carbon footprint. It also uses local equipment and ingredients plus energy-efficient lighting, and donates its spent grain to local cattle farmers.
Here's a look at how changing weather patterns are already affecting your beer:
Beer is made up of at least 90 percent water, so naturally water is a major concern for breweries. Without access to a large supply of clean water, your beer could taste a bit funky.
For example, the years-long drought in California is forcing breweries to rely on groundwater because supplies from the Russian River are restricted, NOAA explained earlier this year.
But groundwater often has a lot of minerals in it, so it's been changing the taste of the beer – and not in a good way, NPR News reported in 2014. Some California brewers have moved their operations where more fresh water is available, or have turned to different brewing methods to save water.
Plus, without water, farmers can't grow the other ingredients in beer. (More on that next.)
We got a preview last year of what climate change can do to a hop harvest.
The majority of American hops (about 73 percent) are produced in Washington, but last year the warmer- and drier-than-average winter reduced snow pack in the region, which led to a drought, NOAA said.
This limited the availability of aroma hops (they've become the more popular type of hop with many breweries), while bitter hops thrived. And because warmer winters are likely the new normal for the Pacific Northwest, the future of certain hop varieties could be in jeopardy.
If a brewery has to resort to using different hops, it could change the flavor of your beer.
And if there are fewer hops available, breweries will be paying more for them – and it could mean you'll be paying more, Eater explained. The price for hops has gone up 250 percent in the past decade due to rising demand and lower yields, CERES said.
What else breweries are doing
Scarcer clean water resources and the threat to American-grown hops are just some of the reasons breweries across the country (including Bent Paddle) have signed the CERES Brewery Climate Declaration. It's a pledge that they will find sustainable ways to make beer in hopes of preventing further damage to the environment – and save the future of beer.
The video below explains how breweries are making changes, including reducing their carbon footprint, using renewable energy, cutting transportation emissions, and becoming LEED certified, to name a few things, a news release said.