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Hydrolager – Crafting Sustainability in Every Sip

    Author: Lana Piskorowski

    In Fall of 2023, MWH partnered with Wren House Brewing, one of Arizona’s biggest names in craft beer, to sponsor the creation of Hydrolager. This beer is one of the first of its kind, brewed entirely with 100% reclaimed water and ingredients from water-conscious .

    Bringing in the City of Scottsdale, Wren House created a craft beer that not only tantalizes the taste buds but also tells an important story about Arizona’s water future. In a region stressed by shrinking water resources and rising temperatures, Hydrolager reveals that reclaimed water can be safely and deliciously repurposed.

    The brewing process for Hydrolager is unique. It begins with grinding malted barley from Sinagua Malt in Camp Verde, part of a project to offset water use during peak demand, and an experimental, waterwise Sonoran white wheat from Grain R&D in Queen Creek. Next, the most important ingredient is introduced: Scottsdale’s recycled water. Treated to exceed the purity of tap water, it saves resources by bypassing reverse osmosis for purification. The water and grain are then mixed in the mash tun, initiating the brewing process. The hops chosen are of the Centennial variety, cultivated at Crosby Hop Farm in Oregon, renowned for their water-saving techniques like drip irrigation – a practice of increasing importance for Arizona’s farmers.

    Hydrolager has an amalgamation of flavors, with subtle notes of lemongrass and honeysuckle complemented by a crisp dryness. The dry hops (adding hops during fermentation) impart floral notes with much less bitterness than other lagers using the same techniques. A hint of lime and sweet pear emerges post-sip, amplified by the beer’s higher carbonation, creating a refreshing and memorable experience.

    Featured at the One Water Brewing Showcase in November, Hydrolager served as a conduit for discussions on innovative ingenuity and adaptation in conserving our water supply in the Phoenix metropolitan area and beyond.

    Most cities in the valley today treat and reuse wastewater, encompassing everything from toilet water to the runoff from sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines. In wastewater treatment plants, this water undergoes a process involving various settling tanks, where heavier substances settle to the bottom, and microscopic organisms consume some of the bacteria. This water is then treated and used for irrigation or to recharge local aquifers.

    Although Scottsdale has been engaging in this practice for over two decades, it wasn’t until 2018 that Arizona allowed this water to be used as a potable source. Now, Scottsdale employs reclaimed water in demonstration projects like the One Water Brewing Showcase, actively working to dispel the stigma surrounding a water source of growing importance.

    Hydrolager turns the idea of recycled water into a relatable, enjoyable experience, challenging tastebuds and opening new avenues for sustainable practices. MWH’s longstanding focus on water reuse goes beyond a single project. With a heritage dating back 200 years, MWH has been at the forefront of water reuse since the early days of John D. Watson and subsequently, James M. Montgomery in advanced reuse projects. From the first large percolating filter plant to the US’s first semiconductor water reuse facility, we will continue to innovate and collaborate with thoughtful partners to usher in a future where reliable and sustainable water resources are a mainstay for communities and industries worldwide

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