It might be hard to believe, but a major brewery just created a beer that tastes bad — intentionally.
On Monday, New Belgium Brewing announced the release of Torched Earth Ale, a limited-edition beer in its Fat Tire Ale line that’s specifically crafted to emulate what post-apocalyptic brews might taste like. The beer is made with the scant ingredients that would be available to brewers if we fail to prevent climate change: smoke-tainted water, dandelions, and drought-resistant grains. The resulting taste is reportedly quite dismal, and that’s the point.
The company is seeking to make a statement about the disastrous effects climate change have on agriculture, and how this greatly impacts major ingredients in beer, like hops and malt.
“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,” said New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer in an emailed press release. “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.”
This isn’t the first time New Belgium has taken an interesting approach to raise awareness on the growing need for action that will ensure a sustainable future in brewing. In 2020, after Fat Tire Ale became the first certified carbon neutral beer, New Belgium marked the occasion by marketing $100 six-packs. The steep cost of the release was intended to reflect the grave future in which beer will become dramatically more expensive because of climate change.
Along with the release of Torched Earth Ale, the company has also unveiled its own plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. To help other beer companies follow suit, New Belgium offers a digital blueprint on its website as a resource for breweries that are looking to operate sustainably.
If you find yourself craving the taste of burnt dandelions — or more likely, you want to support New Belgium’s green efforts and buy a pack of Torched Earth Ale — you can order it online or try it at taprooms located in Asheville, N.C., or Fort Collins, Colo.