Cheap beer is often said to taste “like piss,” but one brewery is looking to make that a good thing. Danish brewery Nørrebro Bryghus is planning to release a beer made from 54,000 liters of human urine.
Before you get too nauseated, the brewery is using the urine to fertilize barley—there isn’t any actual pee in the beer itself. But that didn’t stop them from punnily naming the beer “Pisner,” with the tagline “from piss to pilsner.”
“We want to be a part of the Beercycling project partly due to the story it has already told, but also because it is interesting to partake in a project which addresses the challenges of sustainability and circular economy,” said Henrik Vang, executive director at Nørrebro Bryghus.
The beer was first announced in 2015 as a way to give waste liquid a second life. The brewery collected urine from eager volunteers at the Roskilde Festival near Copenhagen, the largest music festival in northern Europe, and accumulated more than double their target volume of 25,000 liters. Even acts like Florence and the Machine and Pharrell Williams were encouraged to join in on the effort.
In the spring of 2016, the urine was then sprayed over the barley crops, which produced 11 tons of malted barley. The brewing process has just begun, and the beer should be available for tasting come summer.
The brewery has gotten the seal of approval from the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, who see no difference between human pee and bovine or porcine pee (which are commonly used as fertilizers), and the council is teaming up with the brewery for the project.
“Just as we have seen shops sell goods that would otherwise have been thrown out, Beercycling allows us to recycle a product that is normally flushed down the drain,” said Karen Hækkerup, CEO of the council. “When it comes to circular economy, Danish farmers are some of the best in the world. If you can brew a beer with urine as fertiliser, you can recycle almost anything.”
The idea seems so smart, we hope American brewers catch on and take advantage of the “resources” created at massive music festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella. As one Roskilde Festival goer smartly noted, “This way, you can do your bit for the environment and have fun at the same time—you drink then you piss, simple!” We couldn’t have said it better.