Hackney Brewery produces pale ale to tackle food waste

Peter Hills of Hackney Brewery. Credit: Toast Ale

Peter Hills of Hackney Brewery. Credit: Toast Ale - Credit: Archant

Brewers are hoping people will be raising a toast with their new creation while they help tackle food waste.

Brewers have to get the temperature right. Credit: Toast Ale

Brewers have to get the temperature right. Credit: Toast Ale - Credit: Archant

Directors of Hackney Brewery Jon Swain and Peter Hills have linked up with food waste charity Feedback to launch Toast Ale which is made from surplus loaves of bread.

All profits will go to the charity, which aims to halve food waste by 2030, after it reported that 15 millions of tons of food are wasted every year across the UK.

Mr Swain said the brewery in Haggerston wasted no time in agreeing to get involved.

He said: “It’s something that really appealed to us and our principles so when we were approached, we jumped on board straight away. The process is an interesting solution to an important problem.


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“We have already produced three beers and they have been received pretty well, we are now onto the fourth brew so I guess we must be doing something right.”

Toast Ale is made with surplus bread from bakeries and delis across London that hasn’t been sold by closing time and would otherwise be thrown way.

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The bread is mashed into breadcrumbs after being sliced and toasted, before brewing it with malted barley, hops and yeast.

The leftover bread has replaced about a third of malt barely which would usually be used and then toasted to add a caramelly note.

The starch and the sugars in the bread are then broken down by the enzymes in the barley and after fermenting for about four weeks, the beer is ready.

Since the first bottles were brewed, celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have picked up the ale.

The hope is that the brewing method will take off and be implemented across the UK and the globe.

“We are the stepping stone for this and the aim is to take it to the broad reaches of the UK but even people in America have expressed an interest in the process,” Mr Swain added.

“We just need to take it day by day and home the recipe a little and ensure while we are doing a good thing, we still want to be making a lovely beer.”

Feedback founder Tristram Stuart, approached The Hackney Brewery pair after coming across a similar project in Belgium known as ‘Babylone’.

He said: “Tackling the global issue of food waste has taken me all over the world. It 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.

“We hope to put ourselves out of business. The day there’s no waste bread is the day Toast Ale can no longer exist.”

Toast Ale is currently available online at £3 per bottle.

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