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It’s a pretty crappy beer, but not for the reason you’d think

Tim Nelson
May 30, 2018

If you’ve ever been to a frat party or picked up the cheapest 30 rack you could find, you’ve probably already compared beer to raw sewage. Perhaps inspired by such jokes, a team of brewers and environmentalists in Sweden are now offering the very real chance to drink wastewater that’s been transformed into a palatable pilsner.

The so-called “sewage” beer is the product of a partnership between Stockholm’s Nya Carnegiebryggeriet (New Carnegie) brewery, their parent company Carlsberg, and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL). Named PU:REST, the 4.8% abv pilsner is brewed with hops, organic malt, and authentic Swedish sewage water collected and purified at Stockholm’s Hammarby water treatment plant.

While breweries get off on fermenting unorthodox ingredients all the time, this release serves a higher social purpose: convincing Swedes that treated sewage water is perfectly fine to drink. The IVL’s Staffan Filipsson described that challenge as “not technical but primarily emotional,” and figured that brewing a beer with a sewage water base would be a clever way to convince the public of its potability.

When approached by IVL, Nya Carnegiebryggeriet, who’ve brewed everything from Nordic sours to West Coast IPAs, welcomed the opportunity to make a new beer out of old water. “We couldn’t resist the challenge,” said Brewmaster Chris Thurgeson. “We share the view that both producers and consumers must dare to think differently if we are to successfully take care of Earth’s resources.”

The concept also fits in neatly with “Together Towards Zero,” Carlsberg’s initiative to have the company’s water use by 2030. The Danish brewery co-owns Nya Carnegiebryggeriet alongside Brooklyn Brewery.

According to Business Insider Nordic, the brew that Swedes are calling bajsöl (literal translation: “poop beer”) is on tap at the brewery’s on-site restaurant now. Starting July 2nd, PU:REST will also be available in Swedish liquor stores and at select beer festivals. Hopefully plenty of Swedes will be saying skål to sewage beer and a more sustainable drinking future under the midnight sun shortly thereafter.



 

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