3 Colorado Breweries Partner with CH2M to Make Beer with Recycled Water

When you take a taste of your favorite beer, do you ever stop to think about the ingredients? If you do, you no doubt think about the hops, the malt and the yeast that come together just perfectly to create the flavor you love. But how often do you consider the other necessary ingredient in your beer, the water? There is more water in your beer than all the other ingredients combined, yet it’s often the most overlooked. The reality is, without it, you’d have no beer at all.

Pure water isn’t just necessary for our beer, it’s critical for our very existence. Fortunately, while you may not give water much thought, Colorado-based engineering firm CH2M cares about your water and sustainable water technology. For more than 50 years, CH2M has led the industry in potable reuse. Now the company is spearheading the effort to drive sustainable water reuse technology and to build public acceptance of recycled water.

But just how do you get people excited to taste recycled waste water?

You use it to make beer.

This month, 105 West Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing Company and Lost Highway Brewing Company are working with CH2M to become the first Colorado breweries to produce craft beer from recycled water. Each of the three breweries has received two 55-gallon drums of direct potable reuse (DPR) water that they will use to make a special batch of craft beer. 105 West Brewing Company used their 110-gallons of water to brew a Hefeweizen. At Lost Highway Brewing they’re making a Belgian Marzen, a traditional Marzen with a Belgian yeast strain. We’re haven’t heard yet what Lone Tree Brewing has in store for their beer, but we’re sure it’s something good.

105 West Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing Company and Lost Highway Brewing Company are all partnering with CH2M to create Colorado's first beers made from recycled waste water. | BottleMakesThree.com

CH2M will feature all three beers at their private ReuseFest on October 13. During this Octoberfest-themed event, CH2M invited guests will have the opportunity to tour the treatment trailer, hear from technology leaders, and of course, taste the final beers.

“It’s our hope, and the hope of our partner breweries, that when our guests get a taste of these special batches of ReuseFest beer, their perceptions of water reuse will change for the better as they simply enjoy a great tasting beer,” said CH2M Reuse Technology Director Larry Schimmoller. “We appreciate the breweries donating their time and beer to help raise awareness and acceptance of DPR water.”

About The Water

The water being for these brews came from the Pima County Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility in Arizona. The water was pumped into a treatment trailer, where it’s was purified using a multi-barrier purification process. Need a more scientific explanation to make you feel better about drinking recycled water? Here it is: The treatment process includes ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection with advanced oxidation, activated carbon filtration and chlorine disinfection. Once the process is complete, what began as recycled community wastewater is transformed to safe, pure drinking water. Then the water hit the road towards yet another transformation, to become craft beer.

Source: CH2M

“Direct potable reuse is a real solution for stressed water supplies and for future-proofing water resources for resilient cities,” said Schimmoller. “By applying this technology to something our state loves – local craft beer – we’re highlighting the positive impacts recycled water can have in communities, and helping build public support for similar initiatives.”

In 2015 CH2M was named the Stockholm Industry Award Winner for transforming the practice and perception of wastewater. By pioneering the third step of wastewater treatment, the company challenged the concept of wastewater by showing that just because water has been used it doesn’t have to be wasted.

Would You Try Beer from Recycled Water?

If you’re curious to taste a craft beer made from sustainably reused water, 105 West Brewing, Lost Highway Brewing and Lone Tree Brewing are expected to make their beers available in their brewery taprooms in a few weeks when they are finished. We’re eager to give the beers a try to see if there is anything that would distinguish them from any other brew. Our guess is that these beers will be as great as you’d expect from this talented team of brewers.

If you’re not so sure about drinking beer made with DPR water, try to remember that all water is technically recycled from somewhere, CH2M is just helping speed the process along with science. Personally, we support their efforts to make sure we never run out of safe drinking water. Not only is it important for the planet and our very survival, but a sustainable water source means the breweries we love can keep making great craft beer. 

To read the full press release from CH2M about this brewery collaboration, visit: ch2m.com/newsroom/news/3-denver-breweries-tap-brew-colorados-first-beer-recycled-water


  1. Kevin McKelvey

    Being from California I know the importance of water, especially reclaimed water. California has been using reclaimed water (recycled sewage water) for irrigation only for years. The cost of a reclaimed water system and the pipeline for this is very expensive, they normally use this water for irrigating golf coarses and green spaces. It still amazes me that California claims to now be drought free, especially when Colorado is still considered to be in a drought! Obviously California gets quite a bit of their water from Colorado! Southern California recently built a desalination plant on the coast in Carlsbad (Southern California) that is supposed to be capable of up to 50 million gallons a day, they are using salt water directly out of the Pacific Ocean. Although I understand the need of water and water conservation people still insist on having such green lush lawns, why? We live in a desert! It seems to me that the Water Districts should go after this huge waste of water to preserve our water for the future!

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