Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/3/2015 (1811 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Milwaukee has been famously connected with beer-making since the mid-1800s. It was once the headquarters for Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller, though today Miller is the only large brewery left in town. And, as a new micro-micro-microbrew demonstrates, the local spirit of zymurgy (fermenting and brewing) is clearly alive and well.
But as Kathy Flanigan reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "There are disturbing aspects to Theera Ratarasarn's home brew."
There's the name — Activated Sludge. There's the logo — the international warning symbol for radiation.
And then there's the recipe: "It's brewed with purified Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District waste-water plant effluent."
For Ratarasarn, a waste-water engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the creation of a pleasant-tasting beer from effluent — water that's not quite fit to drink but is routinely released into lakes and streams — was kind of a mission. In much of the world, he notes, potable water is tough to come by. "Effluent is not as dirty as people think it is," he told a local TV station, "and if we can treat the water to the point where it can be consumed, then there's so much more we can do with it."
Before turning effluent into beer, he boiled, chlorinated, dechlorinated, filtered, distilled and nutrients added to it. The resulting pale-gold brew has an alcohol content of 5.15 per cent and, according to testers at a local craft brewery, it's pretty good.
Of course, jokes were made; you're surely not surprised somebody pointed out it's the colour of urine. But the consensus was that it "tastes great."
Less filling? Nobody said.
— Washington Post