On April 22, New Belgium Brewing released a truly awful tasting beer to remind people of the concerning future we all potentially face if nations and businesses don’t address climate change.
And with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference drawing world leaders to Glasgow, Scotland on October 31, we thought it a good time to readdress New Belgium’s terrible tasting beer, because time is running out.
Made with smoke-tainted water, dandelions, and drought-resistant grains – some of the less-than-ideal ingredients that would be available and affordable to brewers in a climate-ravaged future, Fat Tire: Torched Earth Ale is described by the brewery as “a dark starchy liquid with smoky aromatics is not likely to win any awards.”
In addition to producing this deliberately putrid beer, New Belgium’s Fat Tire brand also launched a sustained campaign asking beer drinkers to make a “Last Call for Climate” by demanding their favorite brands adopt 2030 climate plans.
As of this year, 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies lack a meaningful climate action plan (one that will help companies achieve or be well on the way to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030, the year scientists predict that catastrophic climate change could be irreversible without bold action.
To make it easy, Fat Tire has created an online tool allowing users to see which Fortune 500 companies have plans already – and which do not – and reach out directly to those that don’t.
Last year, Fat Tire, the flagship beer from New Belgium Brewing, became America’s first certified carbon neutral beer. New Belgium also announced plans to achieve net-zero emissions across the entire company by 2030.
“If you don’t have a climate plan, you don’t have a business plan,” said New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer…
Like every part of our economy, the brewing industry is in the crosshairs of climate change. As the crisis grows traditional ingredients like barley would be far more expensive as growing regions shrink due to increased temperatures.
Extreme weather events and constant drought could cause the loss of entire crop years, making perishable ingredients like hops and malt rare. And all kinds of ingredients would become perpetually tainted by smoke from wildfires, which have rapidly grown hotter and more dangerous in recent years.
To make this purposely awful brew, New Belgium started with smoky malt to mimic the impact wildfires, then added drought resistant grains like millet and buckwheat, which are most tolerant to shifting agricultural zones. For bitterness, they added dandelions, which unfortunately will never go away grow and shelf-stable hop extract, a far cry from fresh hops.
For those of you interested in spending your hard-earned cash on what might be the worse beer you’ve ever had, Torched Earth Ale may still be available in limited quantities online.