4+ Million Years Old

Water samples on display

It really doesn’t matter what you drink: every ounce of water you’ve ever put in you is reclaimed. Someone, throughout history, has pissed, shat, cleaned, died, or somehow fouled it.  Yet, odds are if you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve been drinking clean water.

That’s just a fact.

Canned entries for the competition

We have technology (and have had, for awhile) the ability to clean our water and make what was unusable, fit for consumption.  And if we want to continue to do so, the plans for keeping our water drinkable in the future have to start now.

This was my biggest takeaway from the Sustainable Water Challenge. I talked to beer judges, water people, organizers and all of them were extremely excited about the event but none of them failed to emphasize how important using our water in a smarter way is.

“The registration signup filled in 12 minutes,” Jason, who managed this specific event, told me.

“We had 25 entries, nearly double what we had last year,” Jaime, the OBC Competition Coordinator, said. They capped the entries because of logistical issues that kept them from bringing more water for brewers to brew with. Clearly, it wasn’t just the water people who were enthusiastic about this.

Best of show judging

This year also included a push to have the entries canned, because that is a more environmentally friendly way to ship beer,  and the yeast for all entries was provided by Imperial Organic yeast, again because their model ties into the themes of the Sustainable Water competition.

The beer styles were chosen deliberately; no IPAs or Stouts. Lagers, cream ales, Belgian pales: beer styles that while tasty, represent challenges to make because any flaws in those styles cannot be covered up by hops or malt additions with excessively strong flavors.

I got to have a few sips of beers that didn’t make it to the best of show round and I can honestly say: The flaws in those beers came from brewing flaws-like a lager that had a buttery flavor-and not from a problem with the water.

Which is a good thing, because we’re going to need water to make beer. Let’s get as much of it back as we can.


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