Suds

Czech Beer in Jeopardy

According to Frank Zappa, “You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline… at the very least, you need a beer.” So what does this mean for the future of the Czech Republic, where the national pilsner is in peril? The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute says that the quality of Saaz hops, used to make pilsner lager, has been decreasing in recent years, and the blame rests with increased air temperature. Using a high-resolution dataset of various criteria, the study found that the concentration of alpha acid, the compound that produces the delicate, bitter taste of pilsners has fallen by 0.06 percent a year since 1954. They predict bigger decreases using models of hop yields and quality under future global warming scenarios. “It's not just Czech hops that are at stake here,” says Francesco Tubiello, a crop specialist at the European Commission. “The famous hop-growing regions of eastern Germany and central Slovakia are facing the same situation.”