Beer made from recycled toilet water wins admirers

“NEWBrew” is no ordinary beer. The new Singapore blond ale is made with recycled sewage.

The alcoholic beverage is a collaboration between the country’s national water agency, PUB, and local craft brewery Brewerkz.

First unveiled at a water conference in 2018, NEWBrew went on sale in supermarkets and at Brewerkz outlets in April.

“I seriously couldn’t tell this was made of toilet water,” said Chew Wei Lian, 58, who had purchased the beer from a supermarket to try after hearing about it.

“I don’t mind having it if it was in the fridge. I mean, it tastes just like beer, and I like beer.”

NEWBrew uses NEWater, Singapore’s brand of drinking water recycled from sewage, which first flowed from treatment plants in 2003 to improve the island’s water security.

PUB says the new beer is part of an effort to educate Singaporeans on the importance of sustainable water use and recycling.

The idea of processing sewage into drinking water, once largely resisted, has been gaining support in the past decade as the world’s supply of fresh water is increasingly under stress.

Singapore’s NEWater is made by disinfecting sewage with ultraviolet light and passing the liquid through advanced membranes to remove contaminant particles.

Key to expanding the technology is to persuade the public that, once the water has been processed, it’s just water.

“NEWater perfectly suits brewing because it tastes neutral,” said Mitch Gribov, Brewerkz’s head brewer.

“The mineral profile of water plays a key role in chemical reactions during brewing.”

However, not everyone is convinced.

“There are many kinds of beers around,” said Singapore student Low Yu Chen, 22.

“If I wanted a beer, I’d pick something made of normal water.” — Bloomberg

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