‘Toast’ beer made from food waste launched
Toast Ale is a craft beer, specially brewed using fresh surplus bread that would otherwise be wasted. The bread is sliced, toasted and mashed to make breadcrumbs ready for the brewery process. It takes approximately one slice of bread per 330-mililitre bottle of ale.
It is brewed with malted barley, hops and yeast at Hackney Brewery. Toast advertises that the process adds ‘caramel notes that balance the bitter hops, giving a malty taste similar to amber ales and wheat beers’.
Stuart, who is a member of the Champions 12.3 food waste coalition launched at the World Economic Forum last week, says that he was inspired to make beer by a Belgian brewer who follows the same process. The initiative aims to tackle the problem of food waste, which amounts to about 15 million tonnes of food each year in the UK, according to figures by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
Toast Ale was featured in celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Suffolk-based farmer Jimmy Doherty’s Channel 4 programme ‘Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast’ on Friday (22 January) in ‘The Food Waste Fight’ section of the episode. During the feature, the hosts highlighted the issue of bread waste in UK households, quoting a statistic that 24 million slices of bread are thrown away every day.
All profits from Toast Ale will be going towards Feedback, one of Stuart’s initiatives, which campaigns to end food waste.
Toast Ale hopes to put itself ‘out of business’
Stuart said: “Tackling the global issue of food waste has taken me all over the world. I was at the Brussels Beer Project where I first found out about this innovative brewing process that turns a colossal global problem into a delicious, drinkable solution.”
He wants the model to inspire the home brewing community across the UK, in order to use up leftover bread. Stuart adds: “We hope to put ourselves out of business. The day there’s no waste bread is the day Toast Ale can no longer exist.”
Jon Swain, co-founder of Hackney Brewery, added: “The important thing for us, as brewers, was to create a beer that tasted good and stood up against other craft beers.
“We worked hard to brew a beer that wasn’t just a fad, but something that people could enjoy time after time and would have a significant impact.”
Friday Night Feast
This is not the first time that Oliver and Doherty have highlighted food waste issues in the UK on their programme.
Last January, the series met farmers who lamented the fact that retailers are wasting ‘significant’ amounts of fruit and vegetables due to tough quality controls on physical appearance. The duo approached supermarket Asda with the idea of a trial wonky fruit and vegetable range
After launching its ‘Beautiful on the Inside’ range in five stores across the country from January, Asda has since expanded to a further 20 due to the range’s popularity. The produce included in the scheme, which started with misshapen carrots, pears, apples and citrus fruits, has also been extended to include sweet potatoes and garlic, with plans for further expansion this year.
The success of the range, Asda says, has also allowed it to relax specifications on incoming produce, meaning less waste is being created earlier in the supply chain.