While turning the tide on plastic waste in the world’s oceans is gaining momentum with many people around the world, other eco-unfriendly issues are emerging which also need our attention.
Food waste, for example. In a world where food poverty blights many nations, food wastage in developed countries is an eco–scandal.
Campaigners claim roughly a third of all UK food is wasted with bread featuring at the top of the list. We can easily see how this is happening. Too much stock left in supermarkets at the end of the day. Commercial sandwich makers cutting off the crusts and jettisoning the first slice of the loaf to meet their view of what we consumers demand in a pre-packed sandwich – the plastic packaging a double whammy. Families throwing away bread that has gone stale.
Taking up the bread waste challenge, TOAST is a beer brand set up in London to demonstrate that surplus bread can be put to effective use for a different product, in this case beer.
We know that alcohol can be made from any organic plant, barley, wheat and sugar cane, of course, but also artichoke leaves and orange peels, considered waste until they became the ingredients for Cynar Italian liqueur and Curaçao. So why not bread?
Toast Ale Ltd founder and anti-waste campaigner Tristram Stuart was inspired to launch Toast after discovering the Brussels Beer Project ‘Babylone’ beer, brewed to an ancient recipe from fermented surplus bread. What better way to preserve bread than by brewing beer!
Experiments were done in cooperation with several artisanal London breweries, ending with the whole TOAST range of pale ale, IPA and a lager brewed at the Wold Top brewery in Yorkshire.
Toast’s flagship beer is named Purebread, a fresh golden classic English pale ale suitable for vegans, with malted barley and a selection of hop varieties like Cascade and Chinook to give it a modern moderate bitterness.
They claim there is “a slice of surplus fresh bread in each bottle” and all profits are poured into the charity Feedback campaigning to end, or at least reduce, food waste.
In Tesco I found TOAST Bloomin’ Lovely IPA at 4.5 per cent abv, dry and sharply hoppy ale that Toast labels as a “session ale”, which I found totally believable, and TOAST Craft Lager named Much Kneeded (ouch!) which, at five per cent, is a good lager in an English rather than German style, sharply hoppy too and needs to be cold. Both are priced at £1.80 for a 330ml bottle, so not cheap, but within the price range of speciality craft beers.
Waitrose is also listed as a stockist, though only the IPA was in my local branch, or you can buy online (12 bottles minimum) direct from www.toastale.com.
The names and promotion notes may be punny, but the cause is deadly serious. Worth giving them a try. As Stuart says, this is a “Food waste rev-ALE-ution”!
New Beaujolais this month
An aide memoire, Beaujolais Nouveau day is Thursday, 15 November. Look out for parties/promotions that night and into the weekend