Water Treatment Company and Breweries to Make Charles River Beers for HUBweek

You love that dirty water, but would you drink it?

The Charles River isn’t the stream of sewage it once was: The EPA gives it a B+ for cleanliness (though that’s down a little from the A- it earned in 2013, its highest grade in decades), and for the past four years, people have been diving in. Someday soon, there could even be a permanent swimming area along the banks of North Point Park.

But would you drink a beer made with that beloved “dirty water?”

A Newton-based water purification company is poised to find out. In celebration of HUBweek, an annual, weeklong festival of Boston creativity and innovation, Desalitech is collaborating with six Boston-area breweries to make beers using water from the Charles River. During Brew the Charles, a signature HUBweek event on Friday, September 30, you’ll have a chance to sip the results, and, alongside a panel of experts, vote for your favorite.

Brew the Charles is a follow-up to one of last year’s inaugural HUBweek events, which saw a limited release of Charles River Pale Ale at Harpoon Brewery, made with Desalitech’s expertise. This year, Harpoon will give it another go, along with brewers from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), Cape Ann Brewing Company in Gloucester, Castle Island Brewing Company out of Norwood, Idle Hands Craft Ales of Malden, and Ipswich Ale.

A portion of the proceeds from Brew the Charles tickets sales go toward the Charles River Conservancy’s Swimmable Charles program. (If you’re really gung-ho about the chance to swim in the river, you can support its IndieGoGo campaign, too.) The ticket includes samples of up to 12 brews.

“The Brew the Charles competition is an exciting opportunity to showcase the amazing work going on across the region, highlighting the growing beer industry right here in our own backyard,” says HUBweek cofounder Linda Pizzuti Henry. “We’re thrilled to partner with Desalitech and the six local breweries to reimagine—and taste—one of Boston’s most famous natural resources—the Charles River.”

In early August, Desalitech will facilitate the water sampling from the Charles, then take it back to its facility and make it potable using the treatment process reverse osmosis. Then, the water will be delivered to the area breweries, and they’ll do the rest.

“We are proud to be a Massachusetts company that is helping large businesses and municipalities rethink their conventional water sources and reuse more of their water,” says Desalitech CEO Nadav Efraty. “We are thrilled to join with HUBweek and the Bay State’s creative local breweries to educate the public about the importance of water efficiency and the future of our natural resources.”

HUBweek is a unique civic collaboration between the Boston Globe, Harvard University, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital. The inaugural HUBweek festival took place in October 2015, with 106 events over eight days, drawing more than 46,000 attendees, the organization reports. To learn more about this year’s activities, visit hubweek2016.org.

HUBWeek Closing Party, featuring Brew the Charles, $25, Saturday, October 1, 5-10 p.m., Power Station, 540 Harrison Ave. South End, Boston, register at hubweek.org.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com