Monday, November 16, 2015

The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting has attracted 46 states
and 50 countries." (Photo: Jeanne Mozier)
By Alex PalmerThe process is
similar to a wine competition.
Each distinguished judge, dressed in their
black-tie best, raises a glass and observes the liquid"s appearance, smelling
it, taking a taste, and scoring the flavor, mouthfeel, and aftertaste.
But
unlike wine, the top scorers in this competition have no color, no odor, and
little, if any, flavor.It"s the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting,
which for 25 years has gathered together city officials, bottlers,
researchers, and other H20 enthusiasts to spend a weekend celebrating and
sampling hydration.
What began as a publicity stunt to draw attention to the
mineral water spas of Berkeley Springs, W.V., has evolved into a respected and
heavily attended gathering.
Forty-six states and 50 countries have submitted
entrants over the years; this year"s competition, held in February, saw
entrants from as far away as Greece, South Korea, and New Zealand.Restaurant
consultant and former broadcaster Arthur von Wiesenberger helps give the event
legitimacy.
He began as a connoisseur of champagne and caviar before turning
his attention to a healthier product, writing the books A Pocket Guide to
Bottled Water and The Taste of Water."Tap water varies from state to state,
town to town and even tap to tap," says von Wiesenberger, explaining what
attracted him to the substance.
"Not all water is created equally."He trains
the competition"s 10 or so judges, who are usually amateur tasters when they
begin.
Von Wiesenberger walks them through the unpleasant elements to look for
(particles, cloudiness), smell for (chlorine, plastic, sulfur), and taste for
(mustiness, salt, chemicals).
They also learn what qualities to seek in the
event"s other categories, including bottled and purified water.
A judge from the 2014 competition.
(Photo: Jeanne Mozier)
But while minimal
flavor is important, the top-performing waters have tended to be those that
embrace the natural zest of their source.
Jeanne Mozier, vice president of
Travel Berkeley Springs, which produces the event, pointed to a string of wins
from Canadian waters.
She attributed the better flavor of those entrants to
the fact that Canada is more flexible than the U.S.
in treating its municipal
water."Last year"s winner, Clearbook, B.C., drew their water from a highly
protected spring source but didn"t have to follow the cookie-cutter program
that says ‘you must put in this and that," which destroys the water"s
taste," Mozier says.
"Atlantic City won another year, which surprised us, but
it was enhanced because the sand naturally filters the water sourced from
there."Related: Think Before You Drink: Where in the World is Tap Water
Safe
This year"s winner was Hamilton, Ohio.
The rest of the top five were as
follows:2nd: Emporia, Kansas
3rd: Clearbrook, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
4th: Three way tie—
Montpelier, Ohio
Dickinson, North Dakota
Eldorado, Colorado
5th: Independence, MissouriThe tastings are the main attraction, but the
gathering also includes seminars and discussions about public health and
environmental issues around water.
Among the topics this past February were
the effect of climate change on water sources, as well as a case discussion of
the 2014 contamination of drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians due to a
leaky chemical storage tank.
That disaster last year led the Water Tasting
organizers to introduce a new Clean Water Pledge, asking participants to agree
to the statement "Water is for life.
I pledge to do all I can to keep our
water clean."More from Mental Floss:Which City Has the Tastiest Tap Water?13
Straight Facts About the Leaning Tower of Pisa25 Things You Should Know About
Las Vegas (and the Nearby Strip)WATCH: I Want to Suck Your Blood (Cocktail) in
Whitby, England
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.

The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting has attracted 46 states and
50 countries.  (Photo: Jeanne Mozier) By Alex Palmer The process is similar
to a wine competition.
Each distinguished judge, dressed in their black-tie
best, raises a glass and observes the liquid's appearance, smelling it,
taking a taste, and scoring the flavor, mouthfeel, and aftertaste.
But unlike
wine, the top scorers in this competition have no color, no odor, and little,
if any, flavor.."Last year"s winner, Clearbook, B.C., drew their water from a
highly protected spring source but didn"t have to follow the cookie-cutter
program that says ‘you must put in this and that," which destroys the
water"s taste," Mozier says.
"Atlantic City won another year, which surprised
us, but it was enhanced because the sand naturally filters the water sourced
from there."Related: Think Before You Drink: Where in the World is Tap Water
Safe
This year"s winner was Hamilton, Ohio.
The rest of the top five were as
follows:2nd: Emporia, Kansas
3rd: Clearbrook, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
4th: Three way tie—
Montpelier, Ohio
Dickinson, North Dakota
Eldorado, Colorado
5th: Independence, MissouriThe tastings are the main attraction, but the
gathering also includes seminars and discussions about public health and
environmental issues around water.
Among the topics this past February were
the effect of climate change on water sources, as well as a case discussion of
the 2014 contamination of drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians due to a
leaky chemical storage tank.
That disaster last year led the Water Tasting
organizers to introduce a new Clean Water Pledge, asking participants to agree
to the statement "Water is for life.
I pledge to do all I can to keep our
water clean."More from Mental Floss:Which City Has the Tastiest Tap Water?13
Straight Facts About the Leaning Tower of Pisa25 Things You Should Know About
Las Vegas (and the Nearby Strip)WATCH: I Want to Suck Your Blood (Cocktail) in
Whitby, England
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.

The Berkeley
Springs International Water Tasting has attracted 46 states and 50
countries.  (Photo: Jeanne Mozier) By Alex Palmer The process is similar to a
wine competition.
Each distinguished judge, dressed in their black-tie best,
raises a glass and observes the liquid's appearance, smelling it, taking a
taste, and scoring the flavor, mouthfeel, and aftertaste.
But unlike wine, the
top scorers in this competition have no color, no odor, and little, if any,
flavor.

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