In Race Against Climate Change, Innovations To This Ingredient Could Determine The Future of Brewing
By Tara Nurin

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When’s the last time you walked into a bar and told the bartender, “Gimme your maltiest beer.” Right. Never.

When it comes to beer ingredients, hops and yeast have all the fun. But malt – almost always made from malted cereal grains like barley, wheat and rye – serves as the workhorse in beer, providing color, the starches needed to turn sugary water into alcohol, and the backbone of the flavor. Though craft beer nerds love to pontificate about the latest New World hop and brewers get excited about whatever lupuline variety Oregon State University might release next, as you read this thousands of farmers and scientists around the world are pioneering major advancements in grains destined for brewing.

Before you dismiss these developments as too “inside malting” to merit your interest, consider this: these achievements don’t just minimize certain common, unpleasant off-flavors; increase the length of time it takes before a beer tastes stale; allow growers to make major strides toward water conservation and sustainability; or improve farming in third-world countries. One unifying goal for these plant scientists is nothing less than ensuring you still have cold beer to drink as the planet gets warmer and more drought-prone . And that, it would seem, should capture your interest.

“I get goose bumps just thinking about it.”

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