‘Crick or Creek’ Boniface beer promotes Water Week

By on June 5, 2019

To many purists, water is the most important ingredient in beer. Breweries all around the world champion the purity of their water, or treat or process water before it gets near a recipe. After all, beer is 90 percent water.

“Water is obviously something that is dear to the brewing industry,” said Dain Shirey, co-owner of St. Boniface Craft Brewery. “It is the main ingredient in beer. Without it you are not going to have beer. Hops and all of those things are important, but it starts with the water.”

Water’s importance is why the Ephrata brewery was so keen to become involved with Lancaster Conservancy’s Water Week. To help draw attention to Water Week’s education, conservation, and family events taking place now through June 8, the brewery created Crick or Creek, a limited release New England India Pale Ale. For every beer purchased in can or on draft, the Conservancy receives a $1 donation.

“We wanted to release a branded beer in can and keg to try and reach a much broader population in advance of water week,” said Fritz Schroeder, director of marketing and development with Lancaster Conservancy. “From inception we were trying to make the connection to our local products. Water plays a key role in everything.”

Fetish Brewing Company in Lititz created Water Week beers in 2017 and 2018 and continue to serve as a sponsor, including providing beer for the week’s culminating Water Week celebration on June 8 at Rock Lititz. In the weeks leading up to Water Week, cans of Crick or Creek sold quickly, but St. Boniface retained a couple kegs and cases for Water Week events.

“I’m happy to see people supporting the efforts,” said Shirey.

Schroeder recognized a need for broader outreach to help the community realize the importance of water as a county resource while working with the City of Lancaster on green infrastructure, education, and outreach. Lancaster County has 1,400 stream miles. Seventy-five percent of those stream miles feed public water systems. But, half of those streams are polluted.

“Approximately 50 percent of the streams in Lancaster County are listed as impaired,” said Jay R. Snyder, Ephrata Borough environmental resource manager and Cocalico Creek Watershed Association member.

The Cocalico Creek Watershed consists of 140 square miles in northern Lancaster County. Polluted streams are a “solvable problem” in the next generation, said Schroeder. Snyder agrees, but work needs to start now.

Mike Price (left) and Jon Northup, co-owners of St. Boniface, pose on the banks of the Cocalico Creek with some of the Crick or Creek beer made for Lancaster Water Week.

“We have some really good partners in the Cocalico area,” said Schroeder. “It’s completely solvable if we focus on implementing the right technologies and reaching the right people.”

Water Week was created in 2017 with the hope of reaching those people. Throughout the week, the Conservancy and other participating partners hold special events, all with the focus on water.

“We want to elevate clean water in our community. We want to make (clean water) a priority and we struck on the idea of creating an awareness campaign, and we shaped it as Lancaster Water Week. We set about working with community partners to put together a series of events,” said Schroeder. “We have attempted to organize the week kind of like a community festival with the idea that there is something for all senses, all age groups, and all interest levels. We have deliberately made it fun.”

One fun event takes place at Poole Forge, just outside of Churchtown where the Conestoga River meanders through the historic landmark. Conestoga River Snorkeling takes place on Thursday,

June 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. Participants over the age of 10 (adults are encouraged, too) will gear up with in-water guides and get into the Conestoga to explore the river from beneath the surface. All gear and instruction will be provided with a $20 fee. Participation is limited; as of press time space was still available.

Other events include a Native Plant Conference and Sale at Millersville University, Rain Barrel Painting at PCA&D, and the Conestoga Clean Up.

“The goal is to remove as much trash from the Conestoga River as possible,” said Schroeder. “The workdays (like Conestoga Clean Up) are significant for us because that is where the rubber hits the road.”

Volunteers work from a number of points along the river and may get wet as they remove old tires and other “legacy trash” from the river. The Conestoga Clean Up removed 7.5 tons of trash in the first two years, said Schroeder.

Crick or Creek beer was created to celebrated Lancaster Water Week.

“Whether you say ‘crick’ or ‘creek,’ we all want to have clean water no matter what,” said Shirey, who is in the majority by saying creek.
St. Boniface got involved with Water Week on the recommendation of James Futty, co-owner of The Fridge in Lancaster. This is not the first time the brewery has built a beer around efforts to improve water conditions; St. Boniface released Well Wisher, a beer to benefit third world water efforts, in 2017.

“The clean water community has really banded together these past couple of years. We all understand we have a common goal,” said Schroeder.

More information about all the Water Week events, including Millport Conservancy (A Day On Lititz Run) and Rock Lititz, can be found at lancasterwaterweek.org.

Michael C. Upton is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com. 

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