Recycled-Water Beer is a Thing of the Future

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photo: courtesy Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

Grain, hops, yeast and water—it doesn’t take much to brew beer. But with California’s drought crisis, water is scarce in the Golden State. So one brewery has decided to combat the shortage and become a bit more sustainable by testing out recycled greywater—water that’s previously been used in showers, sinks and washing machines—when brewing one of its beers.

Of course, the water doesn’t come straight from the sewers. It’s cleaned using a NASA water-recycling system. Architect Russ Drinker had the idea for the recycled-water beer in 2014 but only put the plan in motion last year when he approached Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, which produced a batch of its Mavericks Tunnel Vision IPA using the cleaned water.

In a blind taste test, the IPA brewed with greywater performed well, with some tasters saying they preferred it over a traditional IPA and would happily serve it in their restaurants.

As of now, California prohibits using recycled water in commercial products, mostly because of the “yuck factor” associated with it, so the beer has only been available for a few tastings. Brewers have high hopes for commercially produced greywater beer in the future, though.

“This is the product [where] people think that water is the most important ingredient,” said Lenny Mendonca, the owner of Half Moon Bay, in an interview with The Guardian. “So if I can demonstrate to people that not only is [greywater beer] good, but it’s great, then why wouldn’t you use that water for everything else?”

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