Courtesy of Andrea Lowry Photography

The nearly identical beers from Seismic Brewing and Barrel Brother Brewing are being poured side-by-side at an event this week.

September 07, 2017

Beer has long had a reputation as the preferred alcoholic beverage of average joes, so in many ways, it's the perfect beverage to help normalize the idea of reclaimed wastewater. Yes, the idea of "reclaiming" wastewater into drinkable water is inherently a bit gross, but putting reclaimed water in beer form helps make it more palatable, both physically and mentally. So as the technology behind reclaimed water has continued to grow, a number of breweries have jumped on board to support it. Earlier this year, the acclaimed and popular Stone Brewing brewed a test batch of beer whipped up from former wastewater.

But of all the experimental beers using reclaimed water, a new pair of beers from Seismic Brewing, Barrel Brothers Brewing and Cambrian Innovation is probably the most interesting yet. The two brews share identical recipes, however, one was brewed with normal city tap water while the other was brewed with reclaimed water from Seismic's brewing process. And this week, people will have the chance to try the two beverages side-by-side.

The two beers, named "Water is the Essence of Wetness" and "Wetness is the Essence of Beer," are a collaboration between two California breweries—Santa Rosa's Seismic and Sonoma County's Barrel Brothers—and Boston's Cambrian Innovation, which provided the wastewater recovery technology behind the project. Seismic has already been using one of Cambrian's treatment systems to reuse their own water for things like cleaning, but this is the first time they've brewed with it. The two brews will be poured at the CCBA California Craft Beer Summit starting today through to September 9.

"As soon as the California Craft Brewer's Association asked us to showcase our water conservation efforts at the Summit, I knew we had to take it to the next level and brew with reclaimed process water," Pat Delves, Director of Sustainability and Logistics for Seismic, said in a statement. "Our goal is to help remove the 'ick' factor from people's minds, and educate them about the possibilities of water reclamation and reuse. We believe that by combining education, best practices, and innovative technology, we can continue to move the ball forward, and help other breweries do the same."

To perfect these unique brews, Seismic brought in Barrel Brothers to collaborate on the beers which are a hybrid between a Helles-style Lager and an American Pale Lager. "We wanted to brew beers that would really highlight the quality of the water," Wes Deal, Co-Founder and Brewmaster at Barrel Brothers Brewing Company, said. "We're excited about what we've come up with, and look forward to hearing feedback at the Summit!"

Meanwhile, according to Matthew Silver, Founder & CEO of Cambrian Innovation, though his company works with a number of well-known breweries to help minimize their water waste, this beer is the first time water reclaimed with this technology has actually be turned into a beer. "Seismic's commitment to sustainability and, more specifically, water sustainability, truly sets them apart," said Silver. "They're our first customer to begin brewing a beer with the water reclaimed one of our EcoVolt solutions…we can't wait to try it!"

We can't wait to see the results. Hopefully, someone is keeping tabs on whether anyone can tell the difference.