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Oregon Brewers Use Purified Recycled Wastewater To Make Beer

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— As the drought continues in California, people are looking at different ways to treat water for consumption. In Oregon, they're launching a Pure Water Brew Challenge where they're asking home brewers to make a great tasting beer with treated sewer water.

Jeremie Landers from Oregon Brew Crew spoke with KCBS and said he actually got the idea of toilet-to-tap beer from Clean Water Services in Oregon, a protective water resources management utility.

"The idea was basically to take effluent, about 30 percent of it, that goes into the river and instead take that and purify it and see if anything can be done with it. It's absolutely high-quality purified water."

State regulators have approved the safety of the water and the purification process, but people might not necessarily want to drink the beverage if they knew where it came from.

"When I first heard about it, I was kind of wary and then I asked questions like, 'Does it contain hormones? Are there any chemicals?' When you take a look at the report on what is actually in it, you've got literally just H20, you've got very few trace elements, and everything else has been completely removed from this wastewater. It's actually safer than any kind of tap water.

Landers said minerals do need to be added to the purified water in order to make the beer.

"Last year when we had the 30 percent effluent, I had to add in some extra salt to make the water emulate a different city in Germany. When it came out, it actually tasted like a good German Pilsner."

You can't get the beer in stores or in bars quite yet. Last year the brew was featured in a completion with what Landers called "beerlebrities" as judges.

"I took second place," Landers said. "It's just like normal beer, made with normal water, except you have to add some brewing salts in. When you think about it, all water is recycled. It's been around since Earth was created. It's just all recycled water.

The "ick" factor is definitely there but with California's drought problem in such a severe state Landers thinks purified water may actually start becoming more of a thing that makes people think twice about where their water comes from and how recycled water can be used.

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