Steve Woods and his winning American Cream AleJudges at the 3rd Annual Sustainable Water Challenge/Pure Water Brew competition selected winners Saturday from 40 beers made by Oregon home brewers. The beers, representing a variety of styles, shared a common main ingredient: highly purified water from a wastewater treatment plant.
The winning beer, announced Saturday, was an American Cream Ale created by Steve Woods of Portland.
"The American Cream Ale was super clean, crisp and easy tasting—everything a Cream Ale should be," said master certified beer judge Bill Schneller. "Water sustainability is more important today than ever. This is something we need to pursue and take the stigma off recycled water."
Photos from this year's competition are available for download: bit.ly/purewaterbrew.
Begun by as a partnership between Oregon Brew Crew, Clean Water Services and Carollo Engineers in 2014, the Pure Water Brew competition seeks to jump start a conversation about the nature of water and build awareness that all water is recycled water. It's time that we judge water by its quality and not its history.
The water used to make the beers came from Clean Water Services' wastewater treatment plant in Tigard. Before it went into the brew kettle, the water went through a high-purity water treatment system that uses many of the same technologies and techniques as premium bottled water companies. The purity of the water exceeds the most stringent drinking water standards.
To compete in the Sustainable Beer Challenge, you have to brew one of the lower-gravity varieties that connoisseurs know can only be made from great water—like a Saison or Kölsch, a Pale Ale or Pilsner. Unlike, say, porters and stouts, these beers can't be accused of hiding anything. Portland-area home brewers used the water to create a variety of beers for the competition at Raccoon Lodge on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. Winners were announced following a tasting by judges from the local community, including Roy Rogers, Washington County Commissioner and Clean Water Services Board Member and Dr. Colleen Johnson of the Environmental Quality Commission.
The Best in Show winner received $100, and the other selected winners received $50 each. Every brewer in the competition received $20 to offset the cost of ingredients.
The winning beers will travel to the international Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans where they’ll be featured alongside beers from Florida and Wisconsin at a tasting on September 27. WEFTEC is the world's largest water quality exhibition.
Since starting in Oregon in 2014, the Pure Water Brew concept has spread nationwide. Wastewater utilities in Florida, Wisconsin and Arizona have partnered with brewers to create beer with purified water.
"Water is part of a constantly renewing cycle, from river to ocean, from wastewater treatment center to beer can," said Andy Duyck, Chairman of Clean Water Services Board of Directors. "There's no better way to showcase the quality, safety and taste of highly purified water than working with one of Oregon's most creative communities, our home brewers."
Much of the country and the world is experiencing extreme drought conditions, and scientists expect the trend to continue for years to come. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 34 percent of the American West—and 50 percent of Oregon—was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the beginning of August 2016.
"The population is growing, the climate is changing, and drought is threatening sources of clean water in the West and around the world, but there’s hope in new technologies that purify water safely and efficiently," said Brian Haslip, Vice President of the Oregon Brew Crew and Chair of the Sustainable Water Challenge. "We need to think creatively about water and help people overcome the 'ick' factor in wastewater reuse."
In recent years, Oregon has gained a global reputation as a beer lover's paradise. Oregonians consumed almost 3 million barrels of beer in 2015, 22 percent of which was brewed in the state. The brewing industry contributes nearly $4.5 billion to Oregon’s economy and employs more than 8,500 people.
Sponsors of the 2016 competition are Carollo Engineers, the Oregon Brew Crew, Imperial Organic Yeast, Evoqua Water Technologies and Black & Veatch. More information about Pure Water Brew is available at purewaterbrew.org.
Government & Public Affairs Manager
Clean Water Services