The three glasses of amber liquid on the table looked – and tasted – about the same. But one of them was not the usual type of beer.
It was brewed from Newater, Singapore’s very own brand of recycled water.
The special beer, Newbrew, was specially prepared by national water agency PUB and home-grown restaurant and brewery Brewerkz to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), a global water conference that kicked off on Sunday (July 8).
That evening, members of the press were invited to taste three unlabelled glasses of beer – normal beer, Newbrew and Pure Water Brew, a beer from the United States made using recycled water.
To this reporter’s untrained palate, all three beers tasted rather similar, differing only in the extent of their bitterness.
Organisers said the results of the taste test would be revealed only at the end of the conference on Thursday.
Trade visitors will be able to taste Newbrew at selected events during the conference, including at the Water Expo and on Industry Night.
While there are no immediate plans to commercialise the Newater brew, Mr Bernard Tan, SIWW managing director, said PUB will monitor feedback from the events.
He added that the launch of Newbrew was a public outreach opportunity to highlight how Singapore’s ultra-clean, ultra-high-quality recycled water is well within international standards of safe drinking water.
Added Mr Tan: “We are happy to partner Brewerkz to develop a special, one-off brew that we can all safely toast. We look forward to another decade of excellence at SIWW.”
Research fellow Ezequiel Santillan, 33, a fan of craft beer, said the launch of Newbrew was a good public outreach exercise. “Singaporeans love beer, so changing perceptions about Newater through beer is a good initiative.”
Newater is used mainly by industries requiring ultra-clean water, such as the water fabrication and electronics industries, and is also used to top up Singapore’s reservoirs.
Brewerkz managing director and head brewer Sean McLin said the restaurant was honoured to be the first brewery to design a brew made with Newater.
“The quality of Newater is as good as it gets, and this is doubly special as the brew is crafted in celebration of SIWW’s decade of innovation and excellence in water – a key ingredient in the art of beer making.”
A spokesman for Pure Water Brew, which has been available in parts of the United States since 2014, said the brewing of beer using recycled water also highlighted the scarcity of water resources.
She said: “Water is too precious to be used just once.”