On average, an American will go through 98 gallons of water a day. While about a quarter of that is exactly what you think it is, the remaining 75 percent is called “grey water.” It’s got dirt, soap, and other contaminants, but those are relatively easy to filter out. In turn, that could be converted back into potable water, but most people turn their nose up at the idea. Enter Half Moon Bay Brewing and Russell Drinker, turning that grey water into beer.
Half Moon has NASA behind them, believe it or not. Saving water is crucial on a space station, so NASA has developed technology that’s essentially Earth’s water cycle on a smaller scale. The idea is equally appealing to brewers, as California’s beer scene has been hit hard by the state’s ongoing drought issues; as it takes three gallons of water for every gallon of beer, the kind of people who put a brick in their toilet aren’t enormously enthused with craft brewing. Hence, Half Moon is putting the grey water beer to the test in their Mavericks IPA to promote the technology.
It’s an excellent idea, and in more ways than just publicity. NASA’s system is one of the premier water-recycling tools in the world at the moment: polluted water would be an enormous disaster for any NASA mission, so they’re rigorous about water purity. These systems could both drastic cut water usage across the world and also save an enormous amount of money. Lagunitas has been converting its wastewater into cleaning water and saving on trucking it off-site in the process, for example.
Currently, finding Half Moon’s special version of Mavericks IPA will be tricky, as they’ve only made a few batches. But don’t be surprised if in the future, your beer was once your bathwater.