The year 2016 was a crazy year for water in NH. The private and municipal well contamination caused by St. Gobain Performance Plastics and by Pease AFB were two of the most significant eye openers with regard to NH water quality in a very long time.
During this same year, the local NH Craft Brewer’s industry also had a banner year in development of their beer varieties and brewery capabilities. This market growth has been impressive as have efforts to source local ingredients that support proprietor’s visions of serving the NH public.
But where does consideration of water quality come in when making beer? Since NH is becoming known as a tourist destination to visit for those who appreciate the business of beer, we thought we’d give you an idea of how we think about water quality as it relates to the business of beer because this is what we do.
Looking beyond the varieties of beer and the entertaining characters who run these businesses, NH municipal water can have chlorine, chloramine and other chemicals in it. While well water brings hardness, iron, manganese, and arsenic up for discussion. By law, arsenic must be removed from the water if it is used for public consumption. Does water quality make a difference to the folks that drink the beer? Beer brewers have a certain taste in mind and there is no question that what’s in the water can impact the final flavor. I’d guess that those folks who are concerned with their own personal water quality would appreciate beer that has been made with clear, clean water. Those people who aren’t as sensitive about their consumable water probably don’t care as much if sediment, chlorine or chloramine are left in their beer. Luckily, there are NH craft beers available for either of these tastes.
A variety of water treatment is utilized to address these water quality concerns. Backwashing filters remove solids and chlorine or chloramine from municipal water sources. Water softeners will remove hardness, iron and manganese. Specialty media can be used to remove arsenic. These systems can be used together in configurations that address water that has high mineral content or they can be used individually, if the water quality is less complex. By choosing the right combination of treatment systems, we can make exactly the water quality the brewer wants.
No longer can we assume that the water we get from our wells or our municipalities is worthy of consumption. Private Wells should be tested if they haven’t been in a while. Since mankind is putting pressure on our land and our infrastructure, we should think about water quality a little more than we once did. Maybe it is worthy of asking the question of your favorite brewery: How do you address the quality of water that is used in your beer? The answer may allow you to rest assured or it may create a personal need to drink another beer.
If you’re in the brewing industry and are interested in learning more about Secondwind and how we’ve helped local breweries treat their water contact us today. We will work with you to meet your budget and specific water system needs.