In celebration of the city’s first annual Beer Week, Louisville Water is raising a glass to our friends in this booming industry! From stouts to sours, IPAs to lagers, there’s a unique local spin in every pour, and a little of our drinking water, Louisville Pure Tap™, too!
It takes good water to make good beer. After all, beer in its final stage is nearly 95 percent water. The climate in Kentucky is not ideal for crops like barley and hops, so many of our area’s brewers outsource these from other regions. This means that the only local ingredient in a lot of the beer produced in Louisville is actually Pure Tap!
Brewers share quite a rich history with Louisville Water. As early as 1862, they were some of the first customers to subscribe to Louisville Water service. These early brewers were often immigrants, and they produced beer in the styles of their ancestry – English ales and porters eventually made way for German lagers as the city’s population grew and changed.
Even as far back as 1891, the Courier Journal boasted that, “The beer made in Louisville has a recognized reputation at home and abroad for its excellence, the water used being found to possess qualities favorable to the manufacture of beer.” Of course, water treatment technology has advanced significantly since that time, and our water quality is now better than ever—and even more ideal for brewing.
The profile of Louisville’s tap water is a perfect starting point for brewers, featuring moderate hardness and alkalinity, with low levels of chloride, sulfate, and sodium. This means that the water does not have to undergo any additional ‘treatment’ by the brewers before it goes into the beer, saving time, money, and resources.
“Our breweries are deciding what the product is going to taste like, not the water,” stated Derek Selznick, Executive Director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers (KGB). That’s a competitive advantage we get [in Louisville].”
What’s more, Louisville Water regularly provides detailed chemistry reports to local breweries, so they can see the exact chemical profile of the water and produce a consistent product. Louisville Water scientists will also be presenting at the upcoming Educational Conference for the KGB in November. The event will give area brewers a chance to talk one-on-on with Louisville Water scientists to discuss water quality, treatment, and distribution as it relates to brewing.
The city of Louisville has seen a boom in craft breweries over the last 10 years, contributing greatly to tourism and commerce. Now, with over 20 independent breweries and counting, craft beer enthusiasts can enjoy an array of unique styles and flavors – all made with Pure Tap! With so many options to try, it is vitally important to drink responsibly. During Beer Week and every week, as you enjoy all that the vibrant Louisville beer scene has to offer, please remember to stay hydrated. Drink safely and drink like a local – have two glasses of Pure Tap for every alcoholic beverage you consume.