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Water Chemistry for Brewers: How Climate Change Is Interfering with Your Most Important Ingredient

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Drought and variability in local water conditions are leading to headaches for brewers, but there are ways to stay on top of your water’s composition. SPONSORED CONTENT

In February 2022, the British journal Nature Climate Change published a startling report. The western United States, it said, is experiencing its worst drought in 1,200 years. Not only has this mega-drought lasted more than two decades, but it also covers 95 percent of the West. Brewers from Colorado to Wyoming to California are watching nervously as the problem grows more acute.

“Last summer, Jackson Lake was drained to 20 percent of capacity to alleviate the pains of farmers, and the entire West is getting a very bad snowfall year,” says Sean McClurg, lead brewer at Roadhouse Brewing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

By the beginning of March, when most of the season’s snow should have already fallen, it had only snowed 244 inches in the ski destination—not much more than half the average winter total.

“Every mid-to-late May, the Jackson Lake dam gets opened up to flush out sediment, but the less water we have, the less capability we have to do that,” he says.

Even in a normal year, routine or seasonal changes to the amount […]

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