If you live in Portland, you know that the great fluoride debate is raging again.  Some don’t want anything added to Portland’s good pure water. Others like the dental hygiene benefits and convenience of not having to give their kids fluoride drops. The debate peaked my interest when it turned to beer. Will fluorinating the water affect Portland brewers?

The answer seems to be yes, if only in terms of public opinion and consumption. Widmer is opposed, although they came to the conclusion that the amount of proposed fluoride will not “impact” the flavor or aroma of the beer (see Jennifer Anderson’s Portland Tribune article here).

Alex Ganum of Portland’s Upright Brewing, who favors fluoride, said the same in an August letter to the editor of the Oregonian. He also points out that Fort George Brewing in Astoria and Block 15 Brewing in Corvallis brew tasty beer with fluorinated water (see letter here).

Bridgeport is not taking a position except to support its customers. Brewmaster Jeff Edgerton told KATU in September that his customers “expect craft brews to be natural ingredients and so in a way [fluoride] taints the whole thing.”  He doesn’t believe his customers should have fluoride forced on them (see KATU piece here).

Now, I didn’t do the research on how much fluoride it would take to make a difference in beer taste or get into any of the medical research on the history of dental hygiene in Portland. I’ll leave you with this thought: Europeans don’t use fluoride and make some pretty good beer. Like Portland, however, Europe does not have a stellar reputation for dental health.