Oct. 26, 2007 11:13 AM
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. – Fans of Snipes Mountain Brewery’s cloudy Hefeweizen relish the subtle wheat flavor of the bright, summery brew, and like beer drinkers everywhere, they know when their favorite brew tastes a little too hoppy or bitter. Connoisseurs could be in for a surprise this year, and they may not be alone.
Small brewers from Australia to Oregon face the daunting prospect of tweaking their recipes or experimenting less with new brews thanks to a worldwide shortage of one key beer ingredient and rising prices for others.
Oh, and one other thing: Beer prices are likely to climb. How high is anybody’s guess. Craft brewers don’t have the means to hedge against rising prices, like their industrial rivals.