OREGON HAS GIVEN THE OK TO MAKE BEER FROM SEWAGE WATER
The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission recently approved the use of recycled sewage water to brew beer, the Oregon Public Broadcasting’s environmental news organization EarthFix reports.
Brewed via a purification process developed by Oregon’s Clean Water Services, the beer would not be available for commercial or retail use, and the finished product would still need to undergo tests to make sure it is safe to drink. And it won’t be on tap at any bars. It would only be served at tasting events hosted by its manufacturers, the home brewing club Oregon Brew Crew, and other water professional society functions.
Oregon’s Clean Water Services hosted a brewing competition to challenge beer enthusiasts to make beer out of “30 percent purified wastewater,” according to EarthFix. Overall, the point of developing this beer is to encourage innovative uses of the wastewater and spark a nationwide conversation about conserving water in creative ways in the midst of news about severe water shortages along the West Coast, a spokesperson for Clean Water Services told the news outlet.
While Oregon rushes to catch up with Crescent City Homebrewer Brian Smith, they have missed the point. Brian has been touting his “canal water” brews for years now and most club members mistakenly assumed he was being facetious. The “earthiness” of his beers apparently comes from the full spectrum chemistry of his source water. Belgium’s Zenne Valley produces Lambic beer, San Francisco Bay has sour dough bread, while Jefferson Parish has its drainage canals. Instead of simply recycling waste water, Brian utilizes our native microorganisms. Across the globe, nature provides unique little pockets of micro-flora which perform acts of magic but you need to recognize what you’ve found and then develop the necessary techniques to bring it all together.
In a recent interview, Brian revealed that he selectively brews different beers at various times of the year based on the ever changing water composition in Jefferson Parish drainage canals. He also determines whether to draw the water from either the Soniat or Number 4 canals based on a formula he developed which incorporates a number of pertinent factors. These include tidal phase, abundance of recent rainfall, ambient temperature, barometric pressure, and mosquito larvae count, among other criteria. At this time, it seems prudent to keep the still evolving but imperfect formula away from the fool hardy who might easily misuse it.
Brian has initiated a GO FUND ME account in hopes of raising enough capital to purchase a gas chromatograph and pizza oven to further his research. He is also exploring the application process for a Government grant to finance the construction and operation of a lab & pilot brewery with our local beer brewing community targeted as the principal beneficiary. When this technology is fully developed, it is likely that many artisan bakeries will also benefit from recycled drainage canal water. Another possibility is developing a washed-rind cheese-making industry in South Louisiana.
Brian’s overall goal is social justice through mycology which certainly qualifies him as a true visionary and one of those few persons willing to go that extra mile for the benefit of everyone else.