While 84% of all craft beer consumers like to choose their beer based on the season, one beer company is focusing on creating their beer around giving back instead of making seasonal flavors.
Toast Ale is a pale ale that saves one slice of donated, stale bread per each bottle of beer created. The beer’s profits raise money for Feedback, an organization that fights food waste across the nation.
The idea for creating a beer using surplus bread originated in London last year and recycled a full 3.6 tons of bread within the first 15 months of Toast Ale’s production. The creation was taken from an ancient Babylonian beer recipe that used bread as one of its primary ingredients.
Inspired by this idea, NYU food system graduate student Madi Holtzman tried to find a microbrewery in New York City that would take on this bread recycling program.
“I was obsessed with bread, specifically, because it’s the one thing that even soup kitchens and food pantries have to turn away,” she explained to Fast Company.
However, she had some difficulties finding a brewery that could afford to work on her project.
Chelsea Craft Brewing Company eventually signed on and brewed their first batch in March. They used a little different process than the original Toast Ale, and the end result was an American pale ale that is a tad more malty and hoppy. This is because the bread replaces about 30% of the malted barley typically used in the process, and the bread is part of the base malt that creates alcohol.
The beer has been a success, boasting some citrusy notes, a caramel undertone, with a hint of warm, fresh-baked bread. What’s even better is that since the donated bread replaces other ingredients, the beer is less expensive to create than other craft beers.
Feedback is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for producing the first 100 barrels of its Toast Ale. That first batch will be sold at Whole Foods starting in July, and if all goes as planned, the bread recycling project will be self-sustaining.