The Importance Of Water

from theweeklybrew


For those who watched the news last night, or who have been following this story since it broke, you know that Widmer is ticked at the city of Portland. The EPA has ordered that the city puts in place a filtration system for the reservoir. For awhile Bull Run was one of the few reservoirs that managed to dodge the rule requiring the system. A federal court however has ruled that the city must install the system and Widmer is understandably ticked.

Most people don’t understand to what degree that filtering the water can change the flavors of beer. When a brewer wants to brew a specific regional style from another country water is often the most important thing to manipulate. The mineral content is what gives regional beers their distinct quality, and unique flavors. The problem is Widmer doesn’t really produce “regional” beer. So to what degree does this decision effect Widmer? First off filtration would remove all mineral content from the water. This means Widmer, and others, would need to add minerals back into their water in order to maintain a consistent flavor in their beers.

For commercial breweries consistency is one of the most important things for maintaining sales. People want to know that when they pick up a Widmer Heffe that it will taste exactly the same as it did last time. If the filtration system is put in place Widmer would have to use brewing salts in order to maintain a consistent profile. This increases the cost for breweries. But to what degree would breweries have to change? Portland already uses both chlorine and ammonia in the drinking water taken from Bull Run. Undoubtedly these chemicals are all either boiled off or filtered out. My questions is to what degree is the filtration system going to change things? I only wish I had a before and after analysis of the water used in their brewing so I could give a definitive answer.

So what is your opinion on the filtration system? Should Oregon defy federal law as it does on many other things (doctor assisted suicide and medical marijuana come to mind)? If Oregon does defy the EPA during a time when the Environmental Protection Agency has so much power will it be hanging itself in terms of funds?

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One Response to “The Importance Of Water”

  1. Scott says:

    Hmmm, I guess it depends on what kind of filtration they use. Straight filtration shouldn’t remove minerals, I think you have to move into the realm of reverse osmosis or distillation to effect mineral content. I wonder what kind of of filtration they are talking about using and if Widmer might just be more concerned with an increase in the cost of water that they use.

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