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"Brewshed" Campaign Marries WA Water, Beer Quality

PHOTO: The Brewshed motto is "Clean Water = Better Beer," and a growing number of Washington craft brewers agree. They're signing up to help protect the Pacific Northwest's wild river systems. Photo credit: iStockphoto.
PHOTO: The Brewshed motto is "Clean Water = Better Beer," and a growing number of Washington craft brewers agree. They're signing up to help protect the Pacific Northwest's wild river systems. Photo credit: iStockphoto.
April 5, 2013

SEATTLE – When you raise a glass of locally made beer in Washington, you're also toasting the clean mountain water that is its main ingredient.

Craft brewers around the state are signing up to be part of Brewshed, a campaign to raise public awareness of the need for clean, wild rivers that feed the watersheds and provide water for drinking and brewing.

Pam Brulotte, co-owner of the Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth, says she and her husband picked their location specifically to use water from the Icicle River.

"For us, it was just super-important to highlight that in our brewery, that we do have really amazing water,” she says. “But we want to keep it that way, and keep it clean and pure. And Brewshed, as far as protecting these waters, just lines up with our philosophy."

Brewshed's participating breweries agree to hold tasting events with conservation groups, and to advocate for protecting Northwest watersheds.

National Beer Day is Sunday, marking the date in 1933 that President Franklin Roosevelt took the first step to end 13 years of Prohibition, by allowing people to brew and sell beer.

Today, Brewshed participants can name the exact sources of water they use. Kevin Klein, brewmaster at Northwest Peaks Brewery in Seattle, says the water has to taste good right out of the tap. He confirms that its characteristics affect beer quality and flavor, and thinks Pacific Northwest brewers have a big advantage when it comes to water quality.

"I know in other areas of the country, I can taste the water from the tap and I just do not like how it tastes,” he says. “And you can tell that it's kind of musty, dirty, chlorinated or kind of salty, and just not appealing."

Klein is also an avid climber and hiker and says he wanted to join the Brewshed movement to support the need to protect the wild places in the state that are the sources of its drinking water.

Learn more about the Brewshed initiative on the Washington Wild website. Click on "Get Involved," and then on "Brewsheds."

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA