Meet the Food Waste Warriors #2: Toast ale

Pic: Toast brewery  Credit: Tom Moggach

Since the first batch of beer was created in Hackney in 2016, the team creating Toast ale have had seven collaborative brew days at Temple Brew House, so East London Lines attended their latest, and biggest yet, event to talk to the Toast team and see how they work.

In the UK, over 44 per cent of all bread is thrown away – the equivalent to every day, 24 million slices of bread being thrown away, according to the charity WRAP. However today, our reporter Holly Pyne, alongside 20 others, was put straight to work tearing up 70kg of bread that had been saved from the same fate. For our brew the bread has come from the Flour station in Camden, because Toast prides itself on “matching up local bakeries with local breweries.”

David Ryan, the Customer Relationship Manager also emphasises the community feel of the beer: “Toast ale is a scalable thing – we deal with bread waste on a local level. As part of the Rev-ale-ution, Toast supports local organisations around the world so that they can do the same with their bread. There are now Toast beers brewed in USA, Brazil, South Africa and Iceland each working with local breweries and local products.

“For us, the bread is delivered for free, because if we weren’t taking it, the company would have to pay to dispose of it – this way, it’s a win-win situation,” David explains to us.

Pic: Holly Pyne

Vanesa de Blas Montoya, is the Head Brewer at Temple Brew House, who has collaborated with the Toast team on numerous occasions: “Last time we created a Chocolate chip cookie dough stout – I wish we still had some for you to taste but it has been such a success we’ve ran out.”

When asked about using weird ingredients, Vanesa says: “With this craft beer movement at the moment – like with anything creative – there’s always some people that do great stuff, and some people who do stupid stuff. I’ve had this beautiful Japanese beer with wildflowers – and then there’s this beer made out of yeast that has been sent to space, and it costs so much just because of that. You always get both sides with anything like this.”

“People were using bread to make beer in Babylonian times in Mesopotamia” Vanesa explains when we ask about using the bread, “that’s thousands of years ago so it isn’t a new thing, we’ve just got to rethink how we think of food.”

When first brewed in January 2016, the ale was launched in conjunction with its appearance on Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s Friday Night Feast. From today’s brew, they will be creating over 1800 pints of the beer.

Team Toast Pic: Miles Willis

Last year, Toast ale won the Silver Tasting Award for their IPA at the International Beer Challenge. “That one was particularly special,” says David “because it was decided by our peers and it proves that the beer we make is good – irrespective of how it’s made.”

As a start-up, Toast is not yet making money but are expecting their first profits in 2019. However, all profits that are made go to the charity, Feedback. According to Toast, they hope to donate over £3.6 million to food waste organisations by 2020.

If you want to get involved yourself and use up the leftover bread you and your family always have – then, click this link and have a go at brewing your own beer.

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