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Emilie's Education Series: Water

Jun 04, 2013 Comments (0)  | Tags: Beer Geekery Emilies Education Series: Water

Water is life. Really, it is. Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface and makes up over 50% of the human body. Without water, we would not exist. Do you know what else wouldn't exist without water? BEER (gasp!).

Beer was an accident; it was not planned. Long story short, hunter/gatherers collected barley and put it in some sort of vessel. They left the vessel to go hunting. It rained and the water activated the sugars inside of the barley to grow.

It rained again. This time, it must have been a torrential downpour because it filled the vessel completely. Soon after, wild yeast ate up the sugars and converted them into alcohol and CO2. The hunters/gatherers came back, took a sip of this mysterious drink and the rest is history.

Why water?

Water is needed to fulfill different tasks in the brewing process. Warm water activates the sugars in malt to be released and thus, the creation of wort. Boiling water is used when hops are added to the wort and helps lessen the bitterness in hops as well as extract flavors and aromas from hops. Additionally, cold water is used to help cool down hot wort, which is essential for the fermentation process.

So where does Ninkasi's water come from?

The Ninkasi brewery could not be in a better location. Eugene, Oregon is home to one of the cleanest rivers in the world, the McKenzie River. In fact, the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) has won several local, regional and national awards for having the best-tasting and cleanest water from the McKenzie River. When we use our water for brewing, we get to take it straight from the tap.

The McKenzie River is a combination of the Cascades, mountain springs and melting snow. At Hayden Bridge, EWEB pumps water from the river to the filtration plant where the water gets treated. After treatment, the water is dispersed through the distribution system and into the taps of Eugene.

We believe one of the main reasons our beer is so delicious, is due to our proximity to this amazing water source. We work hard to protect it and support organizations that do so as well. Check them out here!

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