Brewshed Alliance Puts Focus on Clean Water in WA

PHOTO: Brewer Kevin Klein tests the wares during the beer-making process. Since water is beer’s chief ingredient, water quality is a critical factor. Photo courtesy NW Peaks Brewery.
May 12, 2014
SEATTLE – Craft brewing is a booming business in Washington, and some local breweries have chosen water quality as a cause they’re eager to champion. A growing number of them are joining the Washington Brewshed Alliance. They’re speaking up, in partnership with the conservation community, to preserve the headwaters and surrounding habitat of rivers and streams that supply the state’s drinking water.Lyndsay Gordon, outreach coordinator, Washington Wild, says the popularity of craft-brewing is proof that wilderness has benefits beyond its recreational use.”For us, that’s a very important part of conservation: getting input and representing all the stakeholders. And while breweries may not be the most obvious or traditional conservation ally, they’re a completely natural one,” Gordon says.Washington Wild is working on gaining federal protections for more than 500 river-miles in the state, on the Olympic Peninsula and in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. And more breweries are lining up to use local water: The Washington Beer Commission says the number of craft-brewers in the state now tops 200, employing over 13,000 people.Kevin Klein founded NW (Northwest) Peaks Brewery just over three years ago. He describes himself as an avid outdoorsman and says he has always had an eye on conservation issues in the region, but water quality really came into focus when he started making beer.”Water chemistry and the importance of water was pretty apparent when I started brewing just at home. I knew and researched where the water came from, just because it’s such an important aspect of brewing and of how the final product, the beer, comes out tasting,” Klein says.In Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, the Washington Brewshed Alliance hosts a pub crawl on Thursday, May 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants are asked to wear green to the event. The group also sponsors regular beer tastings and happy hours and has a Brewer’s Festival coming up in July.The Washington Beer Commission tallies brewing and related statistics for the state, at
Chris Thomas, Public News Service – WA

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