Lonely Planet Writer

A new trend? San Diego brewery among first to brew beer with 'toilet' water

America’s craft beer scene has generated some offbeat brews in recent years. Oregon’s Rogue Ales created Beard Beer with yeast from the brewer’s beard, Delaware‘s Dogfish Head made their Celest-jewel-ale with crushed lunar meteorites, and San Diego’s Stone Brewing have just introduced the aptly named Full Circle Pale Ale, made with recycled wastewater.

Cheers! Wastewater beer goes down a treat in San Diego.
Cheers! Wastewater beer goes down a treat in San Diego. Image by Getty Images

The limited-release beer was brewed to promote Pure Water San Diego, the city’s initiative to provide one-third of its water supply locally by 2035. Made using advanced treated wastewater from the program, the hoppy pale ale’s “toilet to tap” moniker didn’t deter guests from finishing the batch in less than twenty minutes, according to local news station KGTV. “Among the pale ales that I’ve made, it’s probably in the top three,” said Steve Gonzalez, Stone’s Senior Manager of Small Batch Brewing and Innovation. “Those who drink the beer will get some caramel and tropical fruit notes. It’s a very clean-tasting beer.”

San Diego’s Mayor Kevin Faulconer also attended the Pure Stone event, and after pouring and tasting the first glass, gave the brew a glowing endorsement. “If no one told you Stone Full Circle Pale Ale was made with recycled water, you’d never know it,” the Mayor told Lonely Planet. “It’s just as delicious as any San Diego craft beer but it definitely has the cool factor of coming from our high-tech, sustainable and safe Pure Water treatment facility.”

Wastewater beer making a splash in San Diego.
Wastewater beer making a splash in San Diego. Image by Getty Images

While Stone doesn’t have plans to market Full Circle Pale Ale at the moment, the brewery is open to creating more beers using recycled wastewater, as the project embodies its commitment to sustainability and innovation, according to a representative.

The Escondido-based brewery opened its doors in 1996, and has since become one of the country’s largest craft breweries, with outposts in Richmond, Virginia and Berlin, Germany.

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