Photo in the News: "Global Warming Beer" Taps Melted Arctic Ice

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August 3, 2006—From rising sea levels to stifling heat waves, the effects of global warming are shaping up to be a worldwide buzz kill.

But brewers in Greenland seem to be going with the flow, having found a new use for one of their homeland's fastest growing—but least celebrated—natural resources: melted Arctic ice.

On July 31 a team of canny entrepreneurs unveiled Greenland Beer, an ale brewed with water melted from Greenland's ice cap, at a public tasting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Staffed by indigenous Greenlanders and located some 390 miles (625 kilometers) south of the Arctic Circle, Greenland Brewhouse is the world's first Inuit microbrewery.

And if reaction from tipplers at the tasting was any indication, the brewers may be on to something. Electrician Flemming Larsen described the ale to the Associated Press as "smooth, soft, but not bitter … different from most other beer."

"Maybe that is because it's ice-cap water," he said.

The water, the brewers say, is the beer's key ingredient, having been locked away for more than 2,000 years in Greenland's vast ice sheet.

"Today, with all the pollution … you cannot get cleaner water than melted ice-cap water," Greenland Brewhouse co-founder Salik Hard told the AP.

If scientists are right, he'll probably never have to worry about a shortage.

A series of studies released this spring found that Greenland's glaciers are melting into the ocean twice as quickly as they were five years ago because of global warming, and at its current pace Greenland's melt could become irreversible by 2100.

—Blake de Pastino

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