The Atacama Desert in Chile is the driest non-polar desert in the world, and some parts of this desolate terrain have not seen a drop of rain in decades. So it probably seems an unlikely place for a brewery. But in the heart of this parched landscape, in the town of Pena Blanca, you can find reprieve from the heat with a beer from one of the most unique breweries in the world, reports Popular Science.

The Atrapaneblina (or "fog catcher") brewery makes its beer from local water captured entirely from fog nets. According to its owner, the fog water gives the beer a taste and quality unlike any other on Earth.

Although the Atacama Desert does not see much rainfall, the region is often shrouded in a thick fog that locals call "camanchaca." Moisture from this fog is pretty much the only lifeline for the flora that cling to existence here. 

Ever since the 1950s, a now-retired physics professor, Carlos Espinosa Arancibia, has been testing nets that can capture the fog's water. With openings less than one millimeter across, the nets allow water droplets to condense out of the fog. As the droplets accumulate, they form a drip can drains into a container. The water is so pure that it can be safely enjoyed without any other form of treatment. 

It's this super-clean fog water that the brewery uses to brew its beer, a golden amber Scottish ale with brown foam. Because water is still a scarce resource here, the brewery only produces 6,300 gallons of beer per year, but that just makes a sip of this distinctive beer all the more special.

The good news is that the netting is inexpensive, only about $1,000-$1,500 for 430 square feet of the stuff, so the hope is that this technology can help to stave off desertification throughout the region. The nets also have a minimal effect on the local ecosystem, so developing a wider system of fog nets should be viable in the future. 

For more information about Atrapaneblina beers, you can check out their website here

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Bryan Nelson ( @@brynelson ) writes about everything from environmental problems here on Earth to big questions in space.

Beer brewed from Chilean desert fog
Brewery in Chile makes its beer using water captured by fog nets in one of the driest places on Earth.