Tank room at DC's Atlas Brew Works
Atlas Brew Works Making the connection between healthy forests and clean water. © Atlas Brew Works

Stories in Maryland/DC


Celebrating the connection between healthy forests and clean water.

Did you know that beer is 95% water?  And that more than half of our drinking water is filtered by America's forests?

That's why The Nature Conservancy is celebrating fall with OktoberForest, a collaboration with local brewers to raise awareness about the importance of forests in providing clean water.  We sat down with Atlas Brew Works Head Brewer, Daniel Vilarrubi to talk about the importance of clean water to the brewer's art.

Oh, by the way, Atlas Brew Works is powered 100 by solar power!

The team at Atlas Brew Works
Atlas Brew Works (L-R) Justin Cox, CEO; Daniel Vilarrubi, head brewer; Corey Poole, director of operations; Austin Liebrum, brewer. © Atlas Brew Works

Why is clean water important for brewing beer?


Water makes up 90 to 96 percent of all of our beers. Without clean water we cannot make good beer. Contaminants can create all sorts of off-flavors in beer.


Forests, water, and hops are all required for brewing good beer. Can you comment on the collaboration of these three things?


Forests help to provide us with clean drinking water. They help to filter the water we use and prevent erosion. Both of these functions help in growing hops as well, which end up in our beer!


What water source does Atlas use?


We use DC tap water. We run the water through a carbon filter (much like an industrial Brita filter) in order to remove chlorine, chloramine, sediment, VOCs, and other flavor and aroma compounds.

Carbon filters will not remove heavy metals, however. Fortunately our water was tested and we do not have a problem with heavy metals. Certain areas of DC and other parts of the country and the world would require much more filtration or osmosis if they were to brew beer without contaminants that would color the flavor and aroma of the beer.


Final thoughts on Atlas brewery in relation to forests and clean water?


Clean water is absolutely critical for making good beer, and forests are critical to clean water sources. As such, forests are also critical to beer quality for all breweries, including Atlas.


Protecting forests, water and beer
OktoberForest If you like beer, you should love trees. © The Nature Conservancy

Visit nature.org/OktoberForest to learn more about the connection between healthy forests and clean water, and see the list of participating OktoberForest breweries across the country!

What is OktoberForest? Love your beer, love your forest. Learn how forests help beer, and what you can do to help forests.


Forest - Water - Beer

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