It's the circle of life.
Good news for anyone who urinated at Denmark’s Roskilde music festival in 2015. The beer that event organizers made with your pee is finally available for drinking!
Back in July 2015, we wrote about how North Europe’s largest music festival had introduced a new “Piss to Pilsner” initiative. Far less gross than it may sound, the plan was never to brew beer directly from people’s pee, but to instead use the urine to fertilize the barley used to make beer. “In the beginning, a lot of people thought that we had a filtration where the pee went directly into the beer, but that is of course not right," said Henrik Vang, managing director of Danish beer company Norrebro Bryghus which brewed the product.
Obviously, barley doesn’t grow overnight, so even though the festival happened nearly two years ago, the fruits of all that peeing are just coming off the bottling line now. Fittingly, the final product is called “Pisner” – though Reuters reporter Julie Astrid Thomson suggests after a sip that your average drinker wouldn’t even know the difference. “[It tastes] nothing like urine at all,” she confirms – meaning it’s even better than some American beers on the market I’ve tried.
About 50,000 liters of urine were gathered at the 2015 Roskilde festival, eventually yielding about 50,000 bottles of Pisner which will be sold at select stores around Denmark. At this time, the brewery has no plans to extend the project, but though it’s also not completely off the table. “We want to test our brewers and test our opportunities to make recyclable beer,” said Vang.
Interestingly, making beer out of waste products hasn’t been confined to just Denmark. California’s Stone Brewing made headlines earlier this year when they took part in an initiative to make a batch of beer from entirely reclaimed wastewater. Though that beer wasn’t made available for public sale, it would seem society is moving closer to a world where what was once our pee will become our brews. Based on the amount of times beer sends me to the restroom, I can’t think of a more fitting circle.