Skip to main content

This beer is made with recycled wastewater (and the company says you won’t be able to tell)

Let's be honest -- you've probably imbibed something worse than wastewater beer

Beer pint
Pawel Kadysz/Unsplash

If you simplify beer down to its most basic ingredients, you’ll find water, malts, hops, and yeast. While the hops, malts, and yeast are tremendously important, it’s difficult to undervalue the importance of water. Specifically clean water. Most brewers in the U.S. might take this for granted, as clean, potable water can be found in most taps from Temecula to Tampa Bay. But, while safe, clean drinking water is prevalent everywhere, sometimes we take it for granted. This is especially true when there are drought conditions, or flooding adds bacteria and other waste into an area’s drinking water.

Also, for all the clean water in the U.S., there’s a lot of wastewater from toilets, sinks, and anywhere else we pour water from. Most of us just see murky, dirty water that we’re glad to see slowly swirl down the drain. When Aaron Tartakovsky, co-founder and CEO of Epic Cleantec, sees wastewater, he sees a seemingly untapped market. A market of energy and rejuvenation.

Beer made using wastewater

His company, based in San Francisco, takes wastewater from high-rise buildings in the city and uses advanced, innovative water filtration technology to clean it and make it usable again. And it’s not just drinking water Tartakovsky is interested in though (because technically, you aren’t supposed to drink any of the water, according to the state).

The company also turns water into soil amendments and even uses it to create new, clean energy. But that’s not all. He’s developing techniques to help the planet and counteract the effects of climate change. That’s a big challenge and one that Tartakovsky is very interested in.

Technically, according to California regulations, even though Tartakovsky says that the water is absolutely clean and drinkable after his process, it’s still considered non-potable based on the state’s standards. This is something that will take a long time to change.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Tartakovsky from using the water as a base to brew beer. Specifically, water from sinks, washing machines, showers, and other taps in a San Francisco apartment building of 550 apartments.

His company collaborated with Chris Garret from Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co. in San Carlos, California, to create a Kolsch-style beer called Epic OneWater Brew using wastewater that was cleaned by being filtered through membranes that are the equivalent of one-thousandths of the diameter of human hair. It’s then disinfected using UV light and chlorine. That’s pretty small, to say the least.

The brewery crafted 7,200 cans of the special beer, but the odds that you or I will ever try it is unlikely. That’s because, while the company believes the water used might be cleaner than the water any of us drink out of our tap in our kitchen, California’s rules and regulations make the sale of this beer impossible. Regardless of how clean the water may be, it’s still wastewater and considered non-potable.

How safe is the beer truly? Well, Tartakovsky served the beer to guests at his own wedding. Do you think he would risk that if it wasn’t completely safe to drink?

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
You won’t believe these 6 ways to clean burnt pots and pans
You'll be surprised what a few household items that you already have can do for your dirty pots
Getting ready to clean a burnt pot

We've all had to say goodbye to an unfortunately burnt-beyond-repair pot. However, not all crispy pans are a lost cause. So before you cast out that crusty iron pan or that over-browned brownie sheet, we've got some tips that might keep them around a few more rounds.

With just a few everyday household products, you will be surprised at what a little bit of nature (and a lot of elbow grease) can do. Here's how to bring those burnt pots back to life. These methods aren't that hard to do, but they do take a little patience and some elbow grease. Fortunately, the reward is extremely satisfying! So, here is how to how to clean burnt pots and pans.
The vinegar and baking soda method

Read more
10 classic summer cocktails everyone should know how to make
Enjoy your summer with these incredible, classic drinks
Gin cocktail

We are right at the cusp of summer. It's the season of backyard campfires, yard games, dangling your feet off a dock, and seemingly endless sunny days. It's a great time of year for refreshing, crisp beer. But it's also the perfect time for classic summer cocktails. Lucky for you, there are many to choose from. And while we love a rich, complex, boozy Old Fashioned or Manhattan any time of year, in the summer, we tend to opt for thirst-quenching, fresh cocktails.
Classic summer drink recipes

The best part? These iconic, refreshing summer drinks are all reasonably easy to whip up. You don't need an advanced degree in mixology and a whole cabinet of tinctures, herbs, and other ingredients to make them. Most of them are only a few ingredients and the ones with more are still fairly easy to shake up. These are the summery drinks that everyone should know how to make. Keep scrolling to see them all and learn a few new recipes to wow your friends and family this summer.
Margarita

Read more
6 essential Scotch cocktails that you need to know
If Scotch is your thing, then you need to put these on your home bar list
Rusty Nail cocktail

Scotch whisky isn't called the water of life for nothing -- it's a divine spirit that works on so many levels. It brightens the days of the sad, and it calms the nerve-wracked masses. It's always there for you. You can drink it neat, on the rocks, or with a few drops of water — however you choose, it's a wonderful liquor.

We will admit that there are times when we want to enjoy Scotch whisky in a cocktail. We're not saying use that bottle of Macallan 50 Years Old to mix up a drink, but if you've got a nice mid-shelf whisky, you can occasionally step outside your comfort zone and mix up a Scotch whisky cocktail to drink any time of the day.

Read more