Reclaimed water could be craft beer's newest trend.
Maybe it’s because people know alcohol kills germs. Or maybe it’s because people will drink a beer under any conditions. But beer has been at the forefront of convincing people that drinking recycled sewage water isn’t something to turn your nose up at — unless you’re trying to better appreciate the hoppy aroma. And last week, the Stone Brewery became one of the largest names to lend its support to the use of recycled wastewater.
Back in 2015, a wastewater treatment plant in Oregon gave homebrewers gallons of its recycled water to turn into beer with the hope that it would help the idea of drinking something that was once sewage gain acceptance. More recently, this past weekend, San Diego promoted its plans to invest $3 billion in a project to get one third of the city’s water from recycled sources by 2021 with its own Pure Water Brew Contest – pitting 15 brewers against each other to show off the quality of San Diego’s recycled H20. But probably making the biggest splash was Stone Brewing: America’s ninth largest craft brewery also helped support San Diego’s initiative by brewing up their own wastewater beer — called Full Circle Pale Ale — proving even one of the country’s most renowned breweries isn’t afraid to get their feet wet when it comes to former sewage water.
Though the creation from the Escondido-based brewery reportedly earned the nickname “Toilet to Tap,” Stone’s Senior Manager of Brewing and Innovation Steve Gonzalez said that after he checked out the analysis of the recycled wastewater, he realized it would actually be perfect for brewing, only needing the addition of some salts. Stone’s Chief Operating Officer Pat Tiernan even suggested to the Times of San Diego that having wastewater as a stable water supply would be better for his brewery, saying that having to draw from multiple sources during the recent California droughts made brewing more complicated since different waters need different processing.
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But though wastewater may make life better in the long run, for now, only five barrels of Full Circle Pale Ale — described as a “straightforward beer” with a “tropical fine note” — were produced and were reserved for guests like the mayor of San Diego who attended a Pure Water promotional event held this past Thursday. But Stone apparently said that it hopes to start selling “toilet” beer in the future. It’s something to look forward to – seriously.