Human beings are quite good at turning beer into urine, but up until recently, nobody (that we know of) has reversed the process.
The owners of a brewery in Denmark have unfortunately changed that.
Nørrebro Bryghus, a Danish microbrewery located in Copenhagen, is now using human waste water to help brew their new “Pisner” beer, reports Reuters.
But lest any drinkers swear off the brewery’s offerings forever, Nørrebro Bryghus claims they’re not using the urine in the actual brewing process; rather, they’re fertilizing their barley — which will eventually be utilized to brew the beer — with the waste water.
"When the news that we had started brewing the Pisner came out, a lot of people thought we were filtering the urine to put it directly in the beer,” said Henrik Vang, the chief executive of the brewery. “We had a good laugh about that."
And just like the beer itself, the idea for the brewery’s Pisner reportedly came from an unlikely place.
According to Reuters, it was Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Council who first floated the idea as a way to encourage a more sustainable business model for breweries. They even have a word for it: They call it “beercycling,” and the process is helpfully illustrated on the label of each bottle of Nørrebro Bryghus’ new Pisner.
Vang also told the International Business Times that he was gung-ho about the idea because he’s always looking to further his company’s efforts to experiment with organic and recycled beers.
“We wanted to test our brewers' ability to make recycled beers," he said.
Luckily for Vang, the fertilizing pee wasn’t too hard to come by. The brewery has reportedly collected its supply of urine — all 50,000 liters of it — from the urinals of Denmark’s 2015 Roskilde Music Festival, which draws around 130,000 attendees per year. One of the concert-goers, Anders Sjögren, even sampled the finished product and claimed he couldn’t tell it was made with pee water.
"If it had tasted even a bit like urine, I would put it down, but you don't even notice," he said.
All in all, the brewery has enough human pee to produce around 60,000 bottles of Pisner.
The release of the brewery’s Pisner also follows news of Belgian researchers who created a method for separating nutrients and water from urine in 2016. At the time, they hoped to be able to use the recycled urine to provide clean drinking water to rural areas, to create fertilizer, and yes, to brew beer.