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Toilet To Table: Louisville Breweries Make Beer From Recycled Water

Varieties Beer Different Types Of Hops Alcohol
Varieties Beer Different Types Of Hops Alcohol

Four Louisville breweries are using recycled water from a local wastewater treatment plant to prove there is no such thing as new H2O.

It's all part of the Next Round Brewing Project, a collaboration between several local groups including the Metropolitan Sewer District, Isopure, Akasha Brewing Company, Apocalypse Brew Works, Gordon Biersch and Holsopple Brewing.

Project Developer Robert Bates said the idea is to teach people that water is a valuable resource and we have to take care of it. Bates said brewers are already doing this on the West Coast where fresh water is less abundant.

“For brewing especially, we like to say you should always judge water by its quality and not by its history,” Bates said.

The Next Round Brewing Project used treated wastewater from a plant that dumps into Floyd's Fork. MSD worked with the water purification company Isopure to bring in additional technology to treat the recycled water to levels safe for drinking, then passed it along to the brewers.

But why, as a brewer, would you choose to use this water?

“Oh I love to experiment and we’ve done other projects with water, we did one with Beargrass Creek,” said Leah Dienes, head brewer at Apocalypse Brew Works.

Dienes made a German-style lager named "Hellis on Earth"  she describes as crisp, light and malt-forward.

Gordon Biersch Brewer Nicholas Landers made a heady, bock beer with a German name that translates to "Kitchen Sink".

"I basically just took what I had lying around, some nice fine, tasty malts," Landers said. " But being that it is reclaimed water, I think 'Kitchen Sink' beer was a very apt name.”

Head Brewer Spencer Guy from Akasha Brewing made a key-lime blonde ale he describes as a summer beer with a little bit of tartness that clocks in around 4.6 percent.

“I think we are going to call it 'Floyds Essence' because all of this water is coming from Floyd’s Fork and you can taste the water and where it’s coming from in everything,” Guy said.

All three breweries plus Holsopple Brewing will showcase their beers this Sunday at the Water for Life event under the Big Four Bridge from 1 to 4 p.m.

The beers will also be on tap at the respective breweries in the coming weeks.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.