Will Climate Change Make A Beloved Belgian Sour Extinct?

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We’ll some climate change scientists are concerned…And Belgain Lambic lovers may have reason to be concerned as well…

Here’s the deal…

According to the Drinks Business, climate change scientists working at lambic.info are suggesting that rising temperatures in Brussels and the Pajottenland region south-west of the Belgian capital, where Lambic beer is produced — could  potentially cost brewers thousands as their stocks suffer from bezomerd, or “too much summer,” a colloquial term for overexposure to heat.

Lambic beer is made using wild yeast, and fermented in the open-air in order to react with bacteria present in the atmosphere.

So brewers rely on the natural environment to temper conditions, cooling their beers overnight in a range between 17.6 °F and 46.4 °F. Lambics which are traditionally brewed between October and April, are then stored in wooden barrels where they must be aged in temperatures below 77 °F.

Working in partnership with Belgian beer firm Cantillion, the researchers found that due to rising temperatures (the result of climate change), the window for brewing in Brussels has shortened by around 15 days since the 1990s, according to Belgian website BeerCity.

Mark Stone, one of the researchers overseeing the project, was alarmed when he was provided brewing records for us going back into the 1930s and realized that conditions essential to Lambic production we’re in fact tightening up…

“You could see that they were able to brew into October and April consistently in the past. For Jean, because of warmer autumns and springs, that sort of window is impossible now.”

“The threat of climate change on traditional Lambic production at Cantillon is indicative of the broader issue. That is, the impacts are not fully recognized until a threshold has been crossed, and adaptation strategies often exacerbate the problem while delaying the inevitable.”

Cantillon owner, Jean Van Roy, shared the scientist’s concerns adding that artificially cooling the 400,000 bottles of Lambic beers that they produce annually “would alter its flavor profile, and incur heavy production costs.”

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