Skip to content

This Is the Reason Your Favorite Beer May Taste Different

Scientists are warning beer drinkers that this surprising factor could change brew's flavor.
beer tap handles at bar

There are some things that just don't taste the same, good or bad. Homemade vs. store-bought, plastic vs. glass bottle, bottle vs. fountain just to name a few. If you're a beer fan, you may have a preference between draft, bottles, and cans of your favorite brew. But a new look at climate change and its effect on the production of beer's ingredients have scientists posing a warning — beer could taste different soon.

Research done at North Carolina State University is looking at how hotter nights impact the growth of the major ingredients in beer. Hops, barley, and wheat all can have altered tastes if the air rises as they grow.

RELATED: The Most Commonly Searched Beer in Every State, According to Google

"A warmer day can severely damage a young, tender plant or a plant at the reproductive stage when the heat-sensitive flower tissues are developing," says Colleen Doherty, an associate professor of molecular and structural biochemistry at the college. "However, one majorly scary aspect of climate change, at least from the beer production perspective, is that nights are warming faster than days."

Plants save some growth for when it is cooler, Doherty says, which makes the night a perfect time. But if the night is warmer, the plants can't follow their new schedule.

The iconic smells and tastes of the plants in beer are results of the compounds changing during the brewing process. But those chemicals are first made when the plant is still growing. If the temperature is too warm both day and night, the plant can't tell when it is supposed to make those changes.

No evidence has been found yet as to beer that may taste different currently. But Doherty says the scientists at NC State are continuing to follow the developments.

Consumers aren't noticing a difference yet. Beer is skyrocketing in popularity right now. Sales at convenience stores went up over 16% for the first week of August compared to the same week last year. Sales at supermarkets and grocery stores went up almost 10% that week, too.

Unfortunately, another type of alcohol isn't doing as well as beer is. You'll never guess what is The One Alcohol That's Down a Whopping $2 Billion In Sales.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald is a health and food writer and a certified yoga instructor. Read more
Filed Under