Swap Out Your Beer for One of These Food Waste-Reducing Brews
Beer is a summer staple– it’s undeniable that nothing goes with barbecue quite like cracking a cold one open.
But what if you could make that beer…better?
Enter Toast Ale, a UK-based company that turns unwanted bread into bespoke brews. The company was founded in 2015 by Tristram Stuart, who based Toast’s model on an ancient Babylonian recipe for turning leftover bread into sweet brews.
Though fruits and vegetables often get all the attention when it comes to food waste, bakeries are another place where perfectly good product often gets discarded. As Toast Ale points out on their website, bakeries often are forced to toss loaves at the end of the day, sandwich shops have to cut their crusts because they are unattractive to consumers, and supermarkets are required to discard loaves past their expiration date, even if the bread itself is perfectly safe and edible. All told, some 44% of bread made in the UK goes to waste. By inserting themselves into the system, Toast Ale hopes to divert and repurpose bread that would otherwise end up in landfill.
“In the UK, we source from a sandwich maker. The heel ends of loaves are usually discarded and sent either to animal feed or landfill– from a single factory, approximate 13,000 slices of fresh bread are discarded every day,” Louisa Ziane, the Chief Brand and Finance Officer for Toast tells us.
In the two years since its founding, Toast Ale has already expanded around the world, with their products for sale in the UK, US, and South Africa.
“We have 3 different beer styles in the UK– a Lager, IPA and Pale Ale– and have just launched an American Pale Ale in New York. Each beer has its own unique taste profile. The American Pale Ale has a pronounced hop flavour and aroma, complemented by smooth caramel notes,” Ziane explains. “Each country is brewing a different style depending on the popularity in the local market, but the process is the same as traditional brewing – we just replace 1/3 of the malted barley with surplus fresh bread. There will be some variation in the final product due to the ingredients available locally.”
While there is some variation from brew to brew, Toast Ale is careful to maintain their flavor profiles.
“We use the same malt, hops, and yeast strain in each brew to maintain the taste profile and every brew is quality checked,” Ziane assures.
So where to start? Ziane recommends, “The Pale Ale is our first beer and very popular with customers. It’s an easy-drinking beer with a clear hop aroma and moderate bitterness and body. The IPA packs in more hops, whilst the lager is sweeter but still with a hoppy flavor.”
To learn more (including where you can buy Toast Ale), visit their website.
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