One of our favourite Amsterdam breweries – De Prael – featured in the Carl Goes Amsterdam city guide, has created a rainwater beer called Hemelswater: code blond.

The Hemelswater: code blond project has been undertaken in collaboration with MediaLAB Amsterdam, an applied research centre known for its cutting-edge innovations and experimentation. The idea for producing rainwater beer stemmed from climate change and the high amount of rainfall Amsterdam receives every year. Indeed, ‘Hemelswater’ means ‘heaven’s water’, while ‘code blond’ refers to the coloured weather warnings Amsterdammers are familiar with seeing when the clouds start gathering over the city. Rain is particularly problematic in Amsterdam, due to the urban environment and ‘floating islands’ structure, meaning there is little opportunity for rainwater to be absorbed. Instead, flash floods and subsequent damage to buildings and livelihoods is an issue.


Photo by De Prael
Translation: No rain, no beer

Rain entrepreneurialism

Hemelswater: code blond by De Prael Brewery

Photo: De Prael Brewery

Organisations such as Amsterdam Rainproof are popping up, with social entrepreneurs finding ways city residents can help, and coming up with leading edge responses to problems associated with rainfall. One such entrepreneur is the co-founder of Hemelswater, Joris Hoebe, who teamed up with students and researchers at MediaLAB Amsterdam and De Prael brewery.

They set up two large tanks at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam to catch 1,000 litres of rainwater. De Prael filtered the rainwater and used organic malted barley to produce the 5.7% beer. The beer is on sale from De Prael brewpub in the red light district, as well as bars and restaurants around the city.

Recycling rain: a city wide project


Photo by Hemelswater

The rainwater beer experiment doesn’t stop here though. Hoebe wants businesses, bars and restaurants to get on board by housing rainwater tanks on their rooftops and elsewhere on their premises. When full, he envisages electric cars coming to pick up the water. The water would then be filtered and used to produce other water-based goods, which could be anything from soft drinks to soups.

De Prael has made social innovation part of its ethos ever since it was established more than a decade ago. In particular, the brewery had made a point of employing staff who were facing obstacles in the jobs market. This latest venture shows huge promise for helping the city run more efficiently and contribute to environmentalism goals. The benefits could be immense, but let’s not forget that the beer tastes great too: palatable, punchy and offering an exclusive taste of Amsterdam.

Click here to read more about Amsterdam by Citizen Carl!

MediaLAB Amsterdam
De Prael brewery
Hemelswater Facebook page 


Carl Goes Amsterdam

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