From sewage to pure water to brewage

Brewers understand water. It’s an underappreciated, but critical component for any beer. And because water is so important to their craft, brewers recognize the need to use this precious resource sustainably. This commitment to conservation, along with their passion for technological innovation and ability to brew beer in small batches, makes Oregon homebrewers excellent partners to showcase the use of high purity water.

The concept for the Pure Water Brew competition was hatched when Art Larrance, co-founder of the Oregon Brewers Festival, owner of Cascade Brewing Co. and member of the Clean Water Services Advisory Commission, suggested that the best way
to start a conversation about recycling water is to brew beer with it.

Pure Water Brew began as wastewater that was cleaned by Clean Water Services at its treatment plant in Washington County, Oregon. They ran the water through their high purity water treatment system to clean it above and beyond drinking water standards. The purified water was then given to Oregon homebrewers to use as a blank canvas to showcase their brewing creativity. Brewers were able to use the high purity water, along with selected minerals, to custom-tune the water in order to modify the flavors of their beer.

Much of the country—and the world—is experiencing extreme drought conditions, and scientists expect the trend to continue for years to come. As we face this global challenge, it is critical that we explore innovative solutions to water reuse. But just because the stakes are high doesn’t mean the conversation has to be full of doom and gloom.

Some of the world’s best ideas have been hatched while sipping a pint.

“Clean water is closer than you think.” — Ted Assur, first place winner, inaugural Sustainable Beer Challenge

 “Judged tasting events are a big deal in the home brewing world. We feel really proud that our members’ beers have traveled to New Orleans and Seattle and Chicago to bolster Oregon’s reputation as a brewing nirvana where innovators are solving environmental issues with sustainable business practices.” — Jason Barker, chair, Oregon Brew Crew Education Committee

2019 Winners

Best in Show
Jenn McPoland – American Pale Ale

Second Place
John Abel – Blonde Ale with Lemongrass

Third Place
Stu MacLeod – Biere de Garde

Fourth Place
Kevin Callais – American Wheat


Mark Jockers
Clean Water Services
Government & Public Affairs Manager

Brian Haslip
Oregon Brew Crew