Turning water into beer

How important is water in brewing? And what are we to make of beers that spruik the virtues of ‘pure spring water’ and the like?

There’s a hint in Malt Shovel brewer, Chuck Hahn’s answer when asked about his water source some year back.  ‘Camperdown springs’, he replied.

So, if some of Australia’s most successful craft beers use tap water – albeit filtered and suitably adjusted – maybe the ‘spring water’ thing doesn’t matter too much.

This simply demonstrates the quality of modern town water and the ability of brewers to add minerals on demand to subtly influence beer styles.

The demystification is demonstrated clearly in England’s Burton-on-Trent.

This uniquely mineralised water, ideal for ale brewing, is emulated around the world and gave rise to the term ‘Burtonised’. These days, a former Bass brewer told me, even Burton water is de-Burtonised to make lager, then re-Burtonised to make ale.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007