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Boiseans Taste Recycled-Water Beers and Ciders on Grove Plaza


  • Lex Nelson
At the first tasting showcase for the City of Boise initiative Pure Water Brew Boise on Oct. 21, the city's brewery and cidery partners offered tastes of alcoholic beverages made from recycled water, while a nearby sign prodded attendees to think about the origins of what they were drinking.

Lost Grove Brewing offered a German-style kolsch made from recycled water. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • Lost Grove Brewing offered a German-style kolsch made from recycled water.
"All water aspires to be beer," it read, "—but this water deserves it."

Presumably, the water in guests' brews became beer-worthy during the stringent purifying process that took it from toilets and shower drains to a liquid cleaner than tap water. And while getting drinkers over the "ick factor" of those origins can be difficult, Mad Swede Brewing, Barbarian Brewing, Lost Grove Brewing and Longdrop Cider Co. were up to the challenge. In fact, Lost Grove sales representative Tom Richards, who was pouring at a booth Sunday evening, said his brewery ran toward the recycled-water angle with its Kolsch German-style ale, rather than away from it.

"We wanted to really showcase the water that we got. Because the water itself is super unique, we wanted to do a beer that was going to really emphasize how clean and nice that is," he said.

A taste of a $2.50 half-pint proved that the beer's signature light-bodied bitterness wasn't hiding any funky flavors.

Longdrop Cider poured tastes of its blood orange-black current cider made from recycled water. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • Longdrop Cider poured tastes of its blood orange-black current cider made from recycled water.
"This falls right in line with our ethics," Richards said about Pure Water Brew Boise. "We try to be as sustainable as possible."

Longdrop Cider President Chris Blanchard echoed that sentiment. Between pouring tastes of the cidery's blood orange-blackcurrant, cold brew coffee and honey-rubarb ciders, all made with recycled water, he filled Boise Weekly in on the values that attracted Longdrop to Pure Water Brew Boise.

"We are an environmentally focused company; that's baked into our mission. We're working on B-corp certification right now. We also have pioneered up-cycling fruit at our Washington State plant, so we've done a number of those types of things to try and demonstrate environmental leadership and sustainability," he said, adding, "As far as we know, we're the first cidery in the country who's ever made cider from direct-reuse potable water, so that's super cool."

Sunday's event was as educational as it was delicious. In addition to the four Boise Pure Water Brew partners, Mother Earth Brewing Co. was there to serve up its own recycled-water beer, and the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association was on hand along with City of Boise representatives to answer questions from customers. Attendees could even use the city's "Flush Mapper" to follow the contents of their toilets from their homes to the nearest Water Renewal Facility—and from there into their glasses.

"I think people are mindful and that's part of what makes Boise so special, people are mindful about our resources," Colin Hickman, communications manager for the city, said as he looked out over the 30-strong crowd. "This has been an incredible pilot, to just see what does that next step look like in the ways that we can better utilize our resources and get the most out of every drop."