Jon Larson and his winning SaisonJudges at the 4th Annual Oregon Brew Crew 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 Clean Water Services’ Durham wastewater treatment plant.
The winning beer, announced Saturday, was a Saison brewed by Jon Larson of Portland. As the Best in Show winner, Larson’s Saison will be brewed by the Green Dragon Brew Crew at Rogue Eastside Pilot Brewery. The Green Dragon Brew Crew will be using highly purified water from Clean Water Services treatment plant to brew a limited release batch of the Saison for public release this fall.
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 a 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 the Rogue Eastside Pub & Pilot Brewery. Winners were announced following a tasting by judges from the local community, including Roy Rogers, Washington County Commissioner and Clean Water Services Director.
The Best in Show winner, Jon Larson, received $100. The other selected winners received $50 each and all brewers 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 Chicago where they'll be featured alongside beers from Arizona at a tasting on October 3. 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 Art Larrance, owner of Cascade Brewing and co-founder of the Oregon Brewers Festival. "We need to think creatively about water and help people overcome the 'ick' factor in wastewater reuse."
Sponsors of the 2017 competition are the Oregon Brew Crew, Black & Veatch, HDR, Kennedy/Jenks, Carollo Engineers, Brown and Caldwell, Imperial Organic Yeast, Crossroads Mobile Canning and Evoqua Water Technologies. More information about Pure Water Brew is available at purewaterbrew.org.
Government & Public Affairs Manager
Clean Water Services