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Fat Tire Makes A Lousy Beer On Purpose As Climate Change Warning

by Rudy Sanchez on 04/23/2021 | 2 Minute Read

The direst consequences of continued climate change are pretty well-known by now. Entire ecosystems will get disrupted to the point of destruction, and millions of humans will be displaced as shorelines erode and regions become inhospitable. A warmer planet will make growing, raising, and growing food more difficult, inevitably creating conflict among nations for scarer resources. Despite the possibility of mass death and the wholesale destruction of our homeworld, some remain unmotivated to act or even acknowledge the impending doom.

But how non-plussed would doubters be if a climate change ravaged world also meant no more tasty beer?

A dystopian world unable to produce palatable brews is the premise behind Fat Tire’s newest beer, Torched Earth, as part of an awareness campaign this Earth Day. Rather than create something tasty inspired by pristine wilderness, the brewers at New Belgium’s flagship brand envisioned the sort of beer they’d be able to produce in a climate-ravaged world. 

Editorial photograph

The beer starts with a smoky malt to emulate the wildfire-affected water supply. Torched Earth doesn’t use grains like barley and wheat, which will be harder to produce and subject to low or no yields some years due to a lack of water and higher temperatures. Instead, heartier alternatives like drought-tolerant millet and buckwheat take their place. And as much as they’d love to work with fresh, bold, and aromatic hops, those will be nearly impossible to grow, so instead, dandelions get used for bitterness along with shelf-stable hops extract in a Hail-Mary attempt at flavor.

Editorial photograph

For the label, Fat Tire commissioned artist Kelly Malka, who drew on her personal experience of seeing her home country of Morroco already suffer from wildfires and other effects of climate change for her neo-futuristic depiction of a fire-swept landscape featuring a worse-for-wear version of the brand’s iconic bicycle.

The beer is also meant to bring attention to New Belgium’s climate plan, which includes becoming a net-zero emissions company by 2030. New Belgium is also encouraging consumers to call on other brands to come up with a climate plan as well because no one wants a millet-made beer.

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