‘Bottoms up’: Charlotte beer is first in the Carolinas to use recycled wastewater

CHARLOTTE — You can thank the residents of Northwest Mecklenburg County for providing the wastewater that is being used for the newest beer at Town Brewing.

The water came from their homes, but experts say this water is clean, this process is the future, and this beer is delicious.

It looks like any other craft beer produced in Charlotte but it’s unlike them all.

“The concept was very foreign,” Brandon Stirewalt of Town Brewing said.

The pale ale is unique not for its taste but for what it is made with.

“My family, even though they know I’m the engineer and I’m in the business, they’re like, I’m not sure,” Chris Thompson of the water treatment company Xylem said.

It’s called Renew Brew. Town Brewing in Wesley Heights is partnering with Charlotte Water and Xylem to produce the first beer in the Carolinas using recycled wastewater.

Charlotte Water processes 85 million gallons of wastewater a day. But instead of returning it to the Catawba River, this water goes through extra purification and is tested for 150 contaminants.

A company called Xylem did the process.

“Normally, it just goes back to the creek and it would go back into the lake system and down downstream, so we recapture it before it did that,” Thompson said. “And then we utilized it to brew beer, which is a really fun concept.”

Charlotte Water says the water is like any other H2O and this could be a solution for communities where it is scarce

“It represents innovation, creativity, and investment of infrastructure,” said Charlotte Water Director Angela Charles. “It represents the hard work of staff.”

That hard work is paying off. They put Renew Brew in a blind taste test at the Queen City Brewers Festival. It won Best in Show.

“It was just icing on the cake,” Stirewalt said. “And I think really proof in the pudding, if you will, that the beer was made from such clean water that showcased all of the product inside of that beer.”

According to Charlotte Water, the wastewater is cleaned using “state-of-the-art carbon filtering, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation (Ozone + Ultraviolet treatment).”

This is a demonstration product so it is not for sale. But the public can try it at Town Brewing’s 420 Festival next month.

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