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California brewery creates beer brewed from used shower water

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

If drinking beer can save the planet, count us in

Brewing beer takes a lot of water. So what should a brewing company do after the kind of historic drought California just suffered? Half Moon Bay Brewing Company thinks they may have the solution.

Their sister independent craft brewery, Mavericks Brewing, has been experimenting with beer brewed from treated grey water. Recycled water, also known as grey water, is taken from the water that runs down the drain in sinks, showers, dishwashers and washing machines (your toilet water stays right where it is, so don't worry) and then purified.

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Mavericks uses this grey water to brew their new Mavericks Grey Water Tunnel Vision IPA — the beer on the left in the photo above.

The beer isn't available yet in stores — federal law doesn't allow food or drinks made with recycled water to be sold, though according to Mavericks founder Lenny Mendonca, "Standards for recycled water are actually higher than for groundwater use." They even point out that in the old days, brewing beer was actually primarily done because most fresh water was undrinkable, and the brewing process helped sanitize it.

The company has done a couple of tastings, though. "We have had only positive response to the tasting, including blind taste tests," Half Moon Bay Brewing Company marketing director Mary Oldham told SheKnows. "We have provided tasting for specific civic-minded sustainability events, starting with the Meeting of the Minds (a sustainability and technology conference) last fall, and then a public tasting for an event held here at The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, the Sustaining our Seas Sustainability Festival in January.

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Oldham tells us the brewery makes their same Tunnel Vision IPA with the treated grey water, "and in a blind taste test it was either picked as superior or you could not tell the difference." She says it's all about changing people's mindset about how precious a resource water is. "The more the public is aware, the more likely recycled water for drinking and making beer from it will be a reality."

As for when that's going to happen, Oldham says the company has reached out to their congressional rep, Rich Gordon, and that there is possible legislation that could at least remove some obstacles and get a public discourse going.

"The U.S. is way behind on this," Oldham tells us. "Israel recycles 94 percent of its water, Singapore 100 percent. Beer is normally brewed at a 5-to-1 ratio (5 pints of water creates 1 pint of beer), so it is a natural product for recycled water."

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In the meantime, you can try some of the Grey Water Tunnel Vision if you happen to be in Los Angeles this summer at the IDEAS Conference June 15 and 16.

Grey water beer sounds like a good idea, but even if it's legal, will people really be OK with drinking beer made from recycled water? Only time will tell, but I for one am totally on board for a beer that apparently tastes great and does good for the environment, too.

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