A Taste of Place: Environmental Geographies of the Classic Beer Styles

  • Stephen Yool
  • Andrew Comrie


The environmental geographies of beer can be viewed as a coupling of Earth’s elements (yeast; hops; malt; water) and brewing ingenuity. Yeast literally brings life to beer, contributing distinctive flavors and frothiness. Hops do best at cooler latitudes, and in wetter climates, where soils, day length, temperature, rainfall and terrain all influence regional hop characteristics. Brewing malts are cultivated, mostly, in a cool swath of countries just poleward of 45° north latitude. Mixtures of minerals found in local water supplies impart characteristic flavors and mouth feel to beers brewed there. The geographic combination of variations in yeast, hops, malt and water produce, we argue, a ‘taste of the place’ that one can term the ‘terroir’ of beer. Climate change could, however, modify beer terroir. A warming planet would alter the latitudinal range of future hop and malt cultivation, leading to changes in supplies, quality, and prices.


Downy Mildew Malting Barley Brewing Process Lager Yeast Lager Beer 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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