PORTLAND, Ore. (NBC/KGW) — Oregon is known for specialty beers, but what about a beer made with sewer water? What if the water was purified to a point even cleaner than drinking water?
“I’ve been brewing beer since 2006,” said home brewer Jeremie Landers.
It’s not his full-time job, but home-brewing is certainly Landers’ favorite hobby. He’s even converted the garage of his North Portland home into a tap room.
“I love the experimentation process,” said Landers.
That is why this summer, Landers will be one of more than a dozen local home-brewers taking part in a unique experiment.
“Call it former sewer brewing,” said Landers.
Instead of normal tap water to make their beer, the brewers will be using what was once sewer water — straight from the treatment plant. It’s all part of a competition Washington County’s Clean Water Services is putting on to demonstrate different uses for its water.
“’Is there another use we can use for it to meet our long-term water needs?’, and Oregon needs to be thinking about that,” said Mark Jockers, with Clean Water Services.
The agency says this special purification system is able to make sewer water even cleaner than your typical drinking water.
“The water that comes from the high-purity water system is the cleanest water on the planet,” said Jockers.
And when it comes to making beer, the purer the water, the better the brew.
“If you’re starting with absolute zero, you can add a lot more in and get a lot more creative with it than if you were to just use say bull-run water,” said Landers.
“Someone joked it’s from sewage from brewage,” said Jockers.
Despite the initial gross factor, we found beer drinkers surprisingly accepting of the idea. But don’t expect to be finding the “sewage brewage” on store shelves anytime soon. The competition this summer is just for fun. The Department of Environmental Quality actually has to change one of its policies to allow the home-brewers to use the water straight from the plant. But if it does, the competition will go on as planned.