Hops and malts typically make the big ingredients headlines, but one could argue that the most important ingredient is water. (Just ask California…) So the Craft Brewing Business boys tip their hats to the Pure Water Brew Competition, which put the emphasis on the quality of the water used in its entries. The votes were tallied and the winners of the homebrew competition were announced:
- Best in show, Ted Assur, Vox Max Belgian
- Second place, Jeremie Landers, German Pilsner
- Third place, Mike Marsh, Single Grain Saison
- Fourth place, Nick Dahl, Kolsch
Clean water is the most important ingredient in beer and makes up more than 90 percent of its content. The historic German beer purity law Reinheitsgebot allows only four ingredients, all natural, in the brewing process — water, hops, barley and yeast.
“Because brewers rely on clean water for their livelihood, they keenly understand the water system is a cycle that is continually renewed,” said Jason Barker of the Oregon Brew Crew. “All the water we drink has been consumed before and will be consumed again — what better way to showcase that than in great beer?”
“All water is reused,” said Andy Duyck, chairman of Clean Water Services Board of Directors. “Mother nature knows that. We need to be judging water by its quality, not by its history.”
As drought conditions continue to threaten sources of clean water across the West, many communities are instituting conservation measures as well as reconsidering how they can purify water.
“This purification system produces some of the safest water on the planet,” said Andrew Salveson of Carollo Engineering. “The water used in this competition was purified with the same techniques used by premium bottled water companies.”
In June, 1,000 gallons of water were pulled from the Tualatin River immediately downstream from the Clean Water Services Durham wastewater treatment facility, where the flow is 30 percent effluent. The water was put through Clean Water Services’ high purity water treatment system to clean it above and beyond drinking water standards. After purification, the water was offered to Portland-area homebrewers who used it to brew beer for the Oregon Brew Crew’s groundbreaking Pure Water Brew competition. Thirteen brewers crafted 16 styles of beer to be judged.