Turning Bread Into Beer

The guys at Toast Ale are onto something damn clever. They’re turning bread that would otherwise be thrown away — from catering companies, bakeries and food manufacturers — and turning it into the best substance known to humankind. Beer.

Yep, good ol’ old bread is a perfect starting point for making beer.

This isn’t anything new. Bread used to be a common basis for beer. An amphora excavated from the German village of Kasendorf in 1935 contained not only traces of beer, but also traces of the bread used to make it. Delicious! Imagine chunky bits of bread floating in your ale! Dating from the 700s BC, this is the earliest known evidence of beer-brewing in Europe.

So, yeah, nothing new.

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Now, cos we’re all modern and fancy, we tend to use raw grains to make beer. But brewers like Toast Ale are turning back the clock and resurrecting this ancient tradition, and it’s all for a good cause.

Or two good causes even.

One, they’re contributing to the solution of a food waste problem. Two, they send their profits to Feedback, a global food waste charity.

What Toast is doing is not novel. There’s a mob in Brussels doing the same thing. The Brussels Beer Project makes Baby Lone, a beer that harks back to Babylonian times. At 7%, it sure packs a wallop. Every beer is two slices of bread, they say. Two slices and a punch in the noggin, I reckon.

Plenty of other organisations are trying to turn food waste on its head, by either moving excess food to people in need, or deliberately selling ‘ugly’ foods.

I’ll be exploring many of these initiatives over the coming weeks as I look at food insecurity, the role of logistics in food loss, and the psychology of food waste. I hope you’ll join me!

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