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Reusing water to craft a unique summertime beer

Declaration Brewery serves up a sustainable beer to celebrate Denver Water’s 100th anniversary.

A new beer on tap this summer has a refreshing taste that goes down with a message of sustainability.

Centurion Pilsner is a limited-edition beer from Declaration Brewery to celebrate Denver Water’s 100th anniversary.

The Declaration project marks the first time water purified in Colorado has been used to brew beer.

“Purified water is water that’s gone through homes and been cleaned at a wastewater treatment plant,” said Damian Higham, senior water planner at Denver Water. “The water is run through an advanced water purification system so it’s safe to drink — and in this case, safe to brew.”

Declaration tapped the first keg of Centurion beer on June 1, and plans to distribute it to local restaurants and liquor stores this summer.

“As beer brewers, we’re always trying to do something new,” said Mike Baker, scientist in residence at Declaration Brewery. “Reusing water to make beer is something we’ve never done before, and it’s been fun learning about the purification process.”

Shana Colcleasure, water treatment technician, Denver Water, fills a container with purified water for Declaration Brewery.

Currently in Colorado, utilities can reuse water for irrigation and industrial uses, but they are not allowed to reuse water for drinking.

Centurion was allowed to use purified water on an experimental basis this spring as part of the PureWater Colorado Demonstration Project, an advanced water purification system brought to the state by WaterReuse Colorado to raise awareness about the benefits of reusing water.

The water produced at the PureWater project met all state and federal drinking water standards, and Declaration worked with health officials during its planning process.

“We got 4,000 gallons of purified water from the project,” Baker said. “It’s safe and about the same as the regular tap water we get from Denver Water.”

Declaration was the first Certifiably Green brewery in Denver and its owners pride themselves on doing their share to protect the environment.

“We use sustainable ingredients, so it made sense to try reusing water, since it’s is our primary ingredient,” Baker said.

Declaration decided to brew a pilsner because it’s lighter and clearer and shows off the purity of the water.

Customers at Declaration got a chance to sample the beer before its distribution to the public and gave it high marks.

“It’s smooth, clean-tasting, refreshing and perfect for summer,” said Lisa Blandford, one of the owners at Declaration. “I think it’s a fantastic idea to reuse water especially here in Colorado where water is scarce.”

Vince Bingen, brewer at Declaration Brewery, checks on the purified water that will be used to make a special craft beer to celebrate Denver Water's 100th anniversary.

Denver Water does not currently reuse water for drinking, but it is an option utilities across the state are exploring as a potential future water supply.

“The beer project is a great way to show the many benefits of reusing water,” Higham said. “It’s a way to get multiple uses out of every drop we bring down from the mountains.”

Proceeds from the beer will be donated to educational scholarships and endowments that support careers in the water industry.