Malt is an essential ingredient in beer making, along with hops, yeast and water. In the United States, malt is extracted from barley sowed largely in spring. However, as temperatures continue to steadily rise, the farming cycle of barley will need to adapt. A story published by the Associated Press (AP) reported farmers and brewers in the country are introducing new ways to safeguard the future of craft beer in the face of ‘human-induced climate change’.
One of the farmers featured in the story is Gayle Goschie, a fourth generation owner of the picturesque Goschie farm located in Portland, Oregon. The farm is managed by the three siblings Gordon, Glenn and Gayle. They sell their produce to wineries and breweries across the country. They planted their first hops about 130 years ago in 1904. Their latest Instagram post from September is about a massive thunderstorm devastating ‘an entire hopyard’. In another Instagram post, Gayle is seen sipping on beer named Torched Earth, ‘made with wildfire-tainted water, drought resistant grains like buckwheat and millet, and dandelion (instead of hops!).’ These are the ingredients that brewers in the United States are experimenting with as traditional crops suffer the heat of high temperatures. In India, millets beers are not new. Sikkim’s indigenous beer is made from finger millets. Breweries like Geist and Toit in Bengaluru and Great State Aleworks in Pune have millet beers on their menu.
Meanwhile at Goschie, with weather playing havoc, they needed to diversify their crop basket. While they are known to farm wine grapes and hops, this year their focus is on barley. They have switched to winter barley recently as temperatures continue to rise unabated. In the AP story, Gayle said: “All of a sudden, climate change was not coming any longer, it was here.”