Water – two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. Very simple from a molecular structure, but very complex as to what other items may actually be in the water. As water makes its way to the tap, there are various minerals, metals, and other chemicals that are included in water. These “ride -alongs” and dissolved items affect the taste of water and how beer will taste, or the flavor of beer. Depending on what is dissolved in water can change the PH (acidic or alkaline) of the water and make water that is “hard” or “soft”. Hard water has a high mineral content and soft water has low mineral content – specifically low or no calcium and magnesium ions. Certain geographic areas have been known for their beers directly attributed to the water and prime examples are Burton-on-Trent, England with perfect water for Pale ale and Plzen, Czech Republic with perfect water for Pilsner.
In Colorado, there are very plentiful water sources from snow melt and from underground (aquifers). Adolph Coors choose Golden, CO, because of the water supply after scouting out a location for a brewery. Per Coors, The water is a soft water from the aquifer and Coors describes the water as “perfect” and “pure” for the beer they brew. Nearly all breweries today treat their water and may include additives to assist in brewing the style desired and as a yeast nutrient. Home brewers need to know what type of water they have in order to avoid potential ill-effects to the style they are brewing.