No Water, No Beer

By: Halle Brown

The water we use to drink and fuel our thriving outdoor industries is the same water that flows through our rivers, lakes, and streams. But the impacts of climate change, pollution, and rapid population growth put serious strains on Colorado’s water supply and our many water-dependent industries, which includes Colorado’s booming craft beer scene. As water becomes less available, our breweries — and local beer lovers — could seriously suffer.

Dave Bergen pours a beer on tap at Joyride Brewing

The key ingredients in beer, which consist of water, yeast, hops, and barley, depend on a healthy environment to flourish.  Barley and hops, in particular, are sensitive to temperature and precipitation extremes. The hotter, drier future that many climate models predict for Colorado doesn’t bode well for them or the agriculturists, brewing industries, and communities that rely on them. Small craft breweries will feel these impacts the most.

In 2018, a study explored the effects of severe drought and extreme heat on the growth of barley and the broader beer industry and found that the price of a six-pack could increase $1 to $8 per pack in the near future.

That’s a big jump from the prices Coloradans now see at their local grocery or liquor stores.

Joyride Brewing pintBut fear not; Colorado’s breweries are working to protect our water and Colorado’s beloved craft beer scene. At Save the Ales 2019, we partner with breweries from around the state that are committed to making their products and business more sustainable with projects ranging from water conservation to installing solar panels.

Edgewater-based Joyride Brewing, this year’s featured Save the Ales brewery, recognizes these important steps in protecting our precious resources. By focusing on keeping their distribution and ingredients as local as possible, Joyride minimizes the amount of air pollution emitted in the transportation process. The brewery also partners with local organizations, including Conservation Colorado, to protect our water resources and ensure a future with healthy, flowing rivers. 

The night of the event — August 8, save the date! — Joyride will unveil a low alcohol session-style pale ale made from 95 percent Colorado ingredients. According to Joyride’s Marketing Manager Dave Bergen, this small yet mighty beer, will pack mild hoppy flavor and toasty undertones with a lingering sweetness.

As you take a sip, you are reminded of the small but meaningful changes we can each make to protect the future of our water.