Want Great Beer? You Need Clean Water

by Peter Lehner Some archeologists think humans learned how to make beer before bread—beer is that fundamental to human civilization. We know they were making beer at least 7,000 years ago, in what is now Iran. Ancient Sumerians, about 5,000 years ago, spiced their beer with cardamom and coriander. In 16th century Belgium, monks flavored their brew with bitter orange peels. I’ve always favored Belgian beer myself--my mother is Belgian—but I confess I’ve never sampled this version. Back then, beer (or ale) was sometimes a safer alternative to water, especially if you didn’t know where your water was coming from—heating during the brewing process would kill off most pathogens. Today, modern brewers rely on clean water to make their product. Because no matter how carefully craft brewers tweak their malt and hops and strains of yeast, at the end of the day, beer is about 90 percent water. That’s why craft brewers across the country are rallying behind the Clean Water Act, o…
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