6 Mass. Breweries Are Competing (Bostinno)


6 Mass. Breweries Are Competing to Make the Best ‘Charles River’ Beer

And a leading local water purification company is lending a helping hand.

– Lifestyle Editor, 7/25/16, Bostinno

Six Massachusetts breweries are about to embark on a competition to brew beers using an ingredient from a rather unlikely source: the Charles River.

“Brew the Charles” is the first competition of its kind from HUBweek, the weeklong innovation celebration kicking off September 25, during which Cape Ann Brewing Company from Gloucester, Norwood’s Castle Island Brewing Company, Harpoon Brewery, Malden’s Idle Hands Craft Ales, Ipswich Ales and Sam Adams will all create an exclusive brew using “that dirty water.”

To ensure proper quality control, Newton-based water purification company Desalitech will oversee the withdrawal of water from the Charles and treat it using its breakthrough in the traditional process known as reverse osmosis. In a nutshell: Dirty water is pushed against membranes with tiny pores that only allow water molecules to pass through and nothing else. So, “dirty” water goes in, clean water comes out.

“As industry turns its attention more and more to water reuse and sustainable business practices,  we are proud to be a Massachusetts company that is helping large businesses and municipalities rethink their conventional water sources and reuse more of their water,” said Nadav Efraty, CEO of Desalitech. “We are thrilled to join with HUBweek and the Bay State’s creative local breweries to educate the public about the importance of water efficiency and the future of our natural resources.”

Before you turn your nose up, remember that the Charles is not only clean enough to swim in, but last year was called “the cleanest urban river in America” by the Charles River Conservancy, the same group currently raising money to bring a permanent swimming destination to the river.

Last year at HUBweek, Desalitech partnered with Harpoon to brew a one-off beer using Charles River water called Charles River Pale Ale. (I tried it and lived to tell the tale, so there’s that.)

“We had so much fun brewing the Charles River Pale Ale last year, we jumped at the chance to do it again this year. The Charles is a local treasure and the idea that we get to work with some friends in the industry to highlight its importance is outstanding,” Liz Melby, Harpoon’s director of communications, told me.

This year’s competition builds on that success, opening the floor to six notable local breweries who will be judged by a panel of experts, fellow craft breweries and the audience on hand at a yet-to-be-named site to deem whose was most successful.

“The Brew the Charles competition is an exciting opportunity to showcase the amazing work going on across the region, highlighting the growing beer industry right here in our own backyard,” said Linda Pizzuti Henry, co-founder of HUBweek. “We’re thrilled to partner with Desalitech and the six local breweries to reimagine–and taste–one of Boston’s most famous natural resources—the Charles River.”

It’s a bit early to know what types of beers we might expect. But it sounds like the participating brewers are taking the “competition” part of this to heart.

“Most of us have grown up in the Boston area and the Charles has always been an iconic landmark close to our hearts,” Castle Island Brewing Co. Founder Adam Romonow told me. “When we heard about the opportunity to tackle this unique challenge while promoting conservation of the river, we immediately knew we had to get involved. Plus, we always love a good competition.”

Read the article in Bostinno.

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