Beer, Down by the Banks of the River Charles

An Israeli-led water purification company teamed up with Boston's Harpoon Brewery and created a limited edition pale ale made with water from the Charles River

By Tess Cutler|October 8, 2015 3:10 PM

The Charles River, which flows through Boston, is notoriously nasty. It was once so polluted with sewage that people who fell into the running current were advised to immediately get a tetanus shot [1]. In fact, the classic rock band The Standells even wrote an homage to the river, called “Dirty Water [2],” the sounds of which sends home Red Sox fans from Fenway Park after a win.

So when Israeli Nadav Efraty, CEO of the water purification company Desalitech, approached the Boston-based Harpoon Brewery with an idea to craft a beer out of the contaminated river, they must have thought he was meshuggah. And yet, defying all odds, Harpoon and Desalitech got it done: Together they concocted an initial run of 18 kegs of “Charles River Pale Ale” from 300 gallons of water from the river Charles.

Liz Melby, Director of Communications at Harpoon, described the ale to me thus: “It is a light-bodied, copper-colored ale with a slightly spicy, fruity hop aroma. The malt profile and hop bitterness up front leads into a sweet, smooth, hoppy finish.” Notice: no mention of “dirty.”

Unfortunately the pale ale is a one tap wonder, since Harpoon only made one batch of the river brew which will be available next week at Harpoon’s Beer Hall during a beer bonanza called HUBweek, which coincides with the annual head of the Charles Regatta. For now, no plans for more batches are in store.

Related: Running With My Fear [4]

Find this story online: