Food

Fancy a pint of Pisner? It's made with the power of human urine

The apex of “beercycled” sustainable hipster craft beers

The apex of “beercycled” sustainable hipster craft beers

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

What do you get when you collect 50,000 litres of human urine at a music festival? Well, after the appropriate amount of time spent questioning your life choices and some very forward thinking, you get 60,000 bottles of decidedly unique beer. That is, if you're good at turning lemons into lemonade.  

Norrebro Bryghus, a daring Danish brewing company, collected the pee of thousands of concert goers at Roskilde (Northern Europe's largest music fest) with one aim in mind: to brew a beer like no other before it. Made with the most enlightened craft brew lovers in mind, the brewery cleverly (and safe to say, boldly) called their creation Pisner. Presumably, you need no guidance with the etymology of the pun heavy name (pssst: it's from Pilsner + the Danish word for pee).

If your gag reflex needs stifling about now, may the following knowledge assuage it: Pisner would almost certainly test negative for traces of liquid human waste. The urine was used solely to fertilize fields of malting barley harvested for the production of the audacious brewski. Probably for the best too considering the barbiturate content of concert urine (and the obvious ick factor). That pioneers used pee in lieu of standard animal manure and chemical plant nutrients is a true first and Denmark's Agriculture and Food Council confirms as much. They've dubbed the concept "beercycling". Not to take anything from the Danes, but we've been gardening with human waste for a while now. Why am I proud of that?

Henrik Vang, Chief Executive at Norrebro Bryghus said "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 and we had a good laugh about that." Of course you did, Henrik, but can you blame them? You did siphon off 11,000 gallons of human peepee and then market a beer called Pisner. Dude.   

If you still have your doubts, rest easy that one of the concert goers has tried the beer he "helped make" and gives it his full blessing. After a cold quaff of Pisner, Anders Sjögren, a Roskilde attendee said "if it had tasted even a bit like urine, I would put it down." A true purist. Besides, a man's gotta have a code and Drink Nothing That Tastes Like Piss is a good place to start. Although with beer, that's a challenging distinction to make. Still, Sjögren insists "you don't even notice." The pee. He meant the pee.

Norrebro Bryghus made no mention of a refund policy on bottles returned empty. Or full, if ever you wanted to help the company keep the whole sustainability-of-craft-beer-production thing going.    

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