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Recycled Scottsdale water brewed into beer for Canal Convergence festival

Beers served at the upcoming Canal Convergence festival are made with Scottsdale's recycled water.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A good beer can be judged by a variety of factors, including its stylistic accuracy and technical merit. But pure water is always at the heart of a good brew.

A panel of judges gathered at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to judge five local beers competing for Best-in-Show at this year’s City of Scottsdale Canal Convergence festival. Each of the five beers offered a variety of flavors and stoutness, but they all had one thing in common.

“All the beer that the judges are going to sample today and are going to be provided at Canal Convergence are made with recycled water,” said Brian Biesemeyer, the executive director of Scottsdale Water.

The City of Scottsdale runs its water through an advanced filtration method they call Ultra Purified Water.

“We take wastewater and treat that at a traditional wastewater treatment plant, then take the product, the effluent, and send that through ultrafiltration, ozone, reverse osmosis, and UV [filtration] as an additional treatment,” said Biesemeyer. “That’s called our advanced water treatment facility, and through that, we produce drinking water quality water.”

It’s the kind of water that is perfect for brewers.

“There are some beer styles and brewers that will start with Reverse Osmosis water, which is basically stripped of all the minerals, and they will add different brewing salts and different things to the water to get that right profile of the different minerals to try to recreate those world beer styles,” said Dennis Mitchell, president of the Beer Judge Certification Program.

If there was anything off about the water used by the brewers in the competition, Mitchell and the other judges couldn’t tell. That’s something Mitchell would notice.

“Water quality is a huge part of the beer-making process,” Mitchell said.

The City of Scottsdale doesn’t plan to use its Ultra Purified water for just beer-making; they plan to incorporate that water into the taps of homes and businesses in Scottsdale by 2024-2025.

“We live in a desert. We think it’s the way to make sure that we have a sustainable water resource in this great desert we live in,” Biesemeyer said.

A wet hops brew made by Goldwater Brewery and Four Peaks Brewer took the Best-in-Show award and will be featured at the Canal Convergence festival held November 4-13 at the Scottsdale Waterfront.

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