April 21, 2015 – Two developments in the brewing industry involve treated sewage in one case and leftover bread in another. The second sounds more palatable, for sure.
Oregon, home to a vibrant craft beer industry, has given the green light to beer brewed using recycled wastewater, also called sewage.
Clean Water Services of Hillsboro is proud of their ability to reclaim wastewater, which they provide to the Portland metro area for irrigation, industrial use and groundwater recharge. However, wanting to prove their water is totally potable, last year they organized a competition for beer made with about 30 percent recycled water. The next step is using 100 percent recycled water.
The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission approved the idea and a group of home brewers, Oregon Brew Crew will make a beer that can be served at home brewing events but not sold commercially.
The beer will have to undergo further tests and obtain approval from local health authorities before being served to the beer loving public. Wonder how many will line up for that one.
On a more appetizing note, a brewery in Belgium is rescuing leftover bread from supermarkets.
Known as the Beer Project, it is headed up by Sebastien Morvan one of the owners of a microbrewery operating in Brussels. He claims that about 30 percent of the barley used in brewing could be replaced with one and a half slices of bread per bottle.
The beer is called Babylone, a nod to the capital of Mesopotamia where the earliest reference to beer was found on a Sumerian tablet dating back 6,000 years.
Mr. Morvan’s idea isn’t new. In 1989 Anchor Brewing in San Francisco produced a limited edition beer named Ninkasi for the Sumerian goddess of beer. The recipe came from a poem or hymn dating back 3,900 years honoring Ninkasi. It used twice-baked bread, malt, honey and dates but no hops resulting in a sweeter brew. Recycling was as fashionable then as it is now.