Toast Ale, a beer with a social conscience, has launched in South Africa. The idea is simple – the beer uses recycled bread to supplement the malt bill, with about a third of the malt being substituted for bread otherwise destined to rot in a landfill. According to the team behind Toast, 33% of bread in South Africa goes to waste, so they have partnered with Knead and Sandwich Baron to turn those discarded crusts into a pale ale. The beer is brewed at Devil’s Peak and uses around 250kg of otherwise unwanted bread in each batch.
The result is a thirst-quenching brew with a solid whiff of citrus – think orange peel and marmalade. Like a fool I was expecting the beer to taste like bread crusts and, well, toast, but it seems that the bread doesn’t lend a lot of flavour. “For me it was more about the mouthfeel that the bread gives than any flavour,” says JC Steyn, brewer at Devil’s Peak. “I used about 5% wheat in the grain bill, plus of course there’s another 30% or so from the bread, which makes it a nice full bodied beer.”
The bread went into the mash alongside the malt, with all 250kg torn into manageable pieces by the Devil’s Peak brewing team. The spent grains all go to a pig farm, so the bread was recycled a second time, surely making this one of the greenest beers in town.
Toast Ale was born in the UK with the concept brought to South Africa by local entrepreneurs Bianca Hansen and Jaen Beelders. As well as finding a home for unloved bread, the enterprise also supports local non-profit, Soil for Life, which helps build sustainable food gardens and teaches people to grow their own food.
The beer was launched last month in Cape Town, but to get production underway, Toast needs your help. Their Thundafund campaign seeks to raise R250,000 to get the next couple of batches into the fermenter and they need your help – the campaign ends this week and they’re still a long way short of their target. Rewards include a bottle of Toast, a food and beer pairing evening and a brewday at Devil’s Peak, with lunch and beers.