Torched Earth: Beer Brewed to Identify Effects of Climate Change

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Water lovers everywhere enjoy a rich, frothy ale as reward for a day well spent on the water. Sharing beer with friends is a time-honored tradition among watermen and waterwomen who also traditionally share a passion for protecting our oceans and planet.

Now, Fat Tire, the flagship beer of New Belgium Brewing Co., releases Torched Earth, a beer from a simulated climate -ravaged future and it tastes awful. Time to listen up.

Torched Earth Fat Tire Beer

Torched Earth by Fat Tire Tastes Bad on Purpose

This Earth Day, Fat Tire released “Torched Earth Ale”. This simulated climate change impacted beer is made with smoke-tainted water, dandelions, and drought-resistant grains like buckwheat. The result is pretty awful. However, knowing that these are less-than-ideal ingredients for brew-making, Fat Tire uses them to point towards what would be available and affordable ingredients to brewers in a climate-ravaged future unless aggressive action is taken now to confront the climate crisis. Torched Earth’s resulting dark, starchy liquid with smokey aromatics is not likely to win any awards; but, it does highlight the stakes of climate change for beer lovers everywhere.

If you don’t have a climate plan, you don’t have a business plan.”

As part of the initiative, Fat Tire also launched a sustained campaign asking beer drinkers to make a “Last Call for Climate”. This all-call asks beer drinkers to influence their favorite brands to adopt 2030 climate plans. As of this year, 70% of Fortune 500 companies still lack any meaningful climate action plan. These plans are necessary to help companies achieve or be well on the way to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030, which is the year scientists say catastrophic climate change could be irreversible without bold action. Fat Tire created a seamless online tool allowing users to see which Fortune500 companies have plans already –and which do not –in order to reach out directly to those that aren’t prepared yet.

Watch the video below to dive deeper into the inception and environmental direction of Torched Earth.

Fat Tire becomes 1st Certified Carbon Neutral Beer in U.S.

Last year, Fat Tire –the flagship beer from New Belgium Brewing –became America’s first certified carbon neutral beer. New Belgium also announced plans to achieve net-zero emissions across the entire company by 2030 .

If you don’t have a climate plan, you don’t have a business plan,” said New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer. “Aggressive action to help solve the climate crisis is not only an urgent environmental and social imperative, it’s also a no-brainer for companies seeking to create long-term shareholder value, compete with rivals like China, and create good-paying jobs here at home. As a medium-sized company, New Belgium can only have a medium-sized impact. We need more of the big guys to step up, too.”

Rising Costs and Weather Patterns to Effect Brew Making

Like every part of our economy, the brewing industry is in the crosshairs of climate change. As the crisis grows unabated, traditional ingredients like barley would be far more expensive as growing regions shrink due to increased temperatures. Extreme weather events and constant drought would cause the loss of entire crop years. Thus making perishable ingredients like hops and malt rare, at best. This is BAD NEWS if you like IPA. All kinds of ingredients would become perpetually tainted by smoke from wildfires, which are growing rapidly hotter and more dangerous with each passing year.

Fat Tire New Belgium Brewery Torched Earth beer
Fat Tire is America’s 1st carbon neutral beer… and now Torched Earth is here to remind us why.

Torched Earth Inspired by Drought Resistant Crops & Wildfires

To make the limited-edition Torched Earth, brewers at New Belgium started with smokey malt to mimic the impact wildfires will have on water supply. Then, they added drought resistant grains like millet and buckwheat, which are most tolerant to shifting agricultural zones. For bitterness, brew makers added dandelions –which grow anywhere –and shelf-stable hop extract, a far cry from fresh hops, with far less aroma.

What is 2021’s Most Sustainable SUP on the Planet?
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Fat Tire commissioned Torched Earth’s apocalyptic label artwork from Kelly Malka, a Los Angeles-based artist and first-generation Moroccan immigrant, Malka has experienced firsthand the devastating direct impacts of climate change, including worsening wildfires and air pollution in her own community. For inspiration, Malka drew on neo-futuristic worlds in popular films and television to depict the iconic Fat Tire bicycle in an uninhabitable world swirling with flames.

Where to Buy & How To Make Beer More Sustainably

Fat Tire’s Earth Day edition “Torched Earth Ale” will be available through New Belgium liquid centers in Fort Collins, Colo. and Asheville, N.C. as well as in limited quantities online at newbelgium.com. Online orders will include two four-packs of 16-ounce cans for $39.99.

To help fellow beer companies on the journey to net-zero emissions, New Belgium also will be releasing a detailed blueprint as a model for the beer industry. This detailed resource that will help any brewer measure their carbon footprint and take steps to become carbon neutral. A wide variety of studies and analyses show that investment in climate solutions is a vital part of future business success. Visit DrinkSustainably.com to learn more and check out the “Last Call for Climate” online tool.

Fat Tire Torched Earth beer
Torched Earth: A Beer from the Future with a Wake Up Call to ACT NOW.

About Fat Tire

Fat Tire Amber Ale was first introduced by New Belgium Brewing in 1991. The award-winning easy-drinking ale from Colorado instantly became a favorite of skiers, climbers and cyclists across small mountain towns before then establishing itself as one of America’s most popular beers.A member of 1% For The Planet, Fat Tire has embodied a commitment to social and environmental responsibility for nearly 30 years by implementing energy efficient brewing practices, advocating for public lands protection and most recently becoming America’s first certified carbon neutral beer in July 2020.

About New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing is recognized as a leader in sustainability and social responsibility. Founded in 1991 in Fort Collins, Colorado, the company expanded to Asheville, North Carolina in 2016 and Denver, Colorado in 2018 and is now the 4th largest craft brewery in the U.S. Dedicated to proving that business can be a force for good, New Belgium is a Certified B Corp and was the first brewery to join 1% For The Planet. The brewery has donated over $29 million to charitable causes since 1991. New Belgium is famous for its flagship beer, Fat Tire Amber Ale, along with year-round favorites like Voodoo Ranger IPA and La Folie Sour Brown Ale; as well as an award-winning wood-aged sour program and innovative limited release beers. To learn more about the full product lineup and New Belgium’s Human Powered Business model, visit NewBelgium.com

Drink sustainably, y’all.