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Photo: Toast Ale 
Toast Ale brews its commercial ales with surplus bread at a brewery in Yorkshire. It also pairs up local breweries and bakeries to help them tackle food waste in their own communities.

I have never been a beer drinker, but I have to give a thumbs-up to Toast Ale in the UK because it’s trying to reduce food waste through an unusual brewing process.

Carolyn Beeler of PRI’s The World has the story. “It’s a Wednesday night in central London and the trendy Temple Brew House pub is packed with people out for after-work beers and burgers. A crowd in one corner is sipping intently from half-pint tasting glasses, savoring a beer they helped brew about a month earlier using an unusual ingredient: leftover bread. …

“The beer was brewed at the pub’s tiny in-house brewery in collaboration with Toast Ale, a British craft beer company that uses waste bread to make beer on a commercial scale.

“ ‘In the UK, 44 percent of all bread is wasted,’ says Toast Ale’s chief brand and finance officer Louisa Ziane. ‘So we take surplus bread from bakeries and sandwich makers, and we replace a third of the barley that would otherwise have been used to brew, upcycling bread that would have otherwise been wasted.’ …

“Once the company starts turning a profit, it plans to donate those profits to Feedback, a charity that fights against food waste and shares a founder, Tristram Stuart, with the beer brand. (The company says it’s been able to make donations to Feedback already through its local collaborations.) …

“Around the world, about one-third of the food that’s produced ends up going to waste. That’s a big problem for the world’s hungry, but it’s also a big contributor to climate change: Producing that food emits as much greenhouse gases as many individual countries. …

“ ‘There are bakeries up and down the country who are left with surplus bread at the end of the day, and there are also over 2,000 breweries in the UK,’ Ziane says, so Toast is playing matchmaker with these local bakeries and breweries. …

Toast says it works with bakeries to make sure they’ve exhausted the options to get bread to people who would eat it before agreeing to turn it into beer. …

“Michael Mulcahy, who helped stir up that mash with a red plastic shovel, says, ‘It takes it away from being a hippie environmentalist thing,’ Mulcahy says. ‘It’s the pub. It’s the guys at the bar drinking beer, it’s football and baseball.’

Toast’s beer recipe is online for home-brewers to try, and the company has franchised or licensed its brand in South Africa, Brazil and Iceland. Last year they expanded to the New York City area.” More here.

My husband once tried home brewing, but it was a lot of work, and the beer that resulted didn’t taste as good as the beers he could buy. Still, if someone is into home brewing, the Toast recipe could be fun to try.

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