Beer From Bread?

I’ve stumbled over this concept before, I vaguely remember a university making beer from bread but didn’t follow it up and it became another interesting but distant memory. I got a press release in October though and did find myself interested. Food waste is something that has bothered me for a while and the brewers I admire the most, Small Beer Co and the like, have sustainability at the very heart of what they do and I feel that all of us folk getting started in brewing have much to learn from them.

So here’s the press release as it was sent to me:

  • 15 million pumpkins were carved but not eaten last Halloween – symbolic of a systemic food waste epidemic .Toast Ale, Hubbub and BrewdogTower Hill Outpost want to change that.
  • Join us on 4thNovember in London to brew a seasonal beer that tackles seasonal food waste as part of Hubbub’s annual #PumpkinRescue

Halloween has become Britain’s third largest commercial holiday, bringing with it a frightening food waste problem. Last year three in five pumpkins carved were not eaten.1 This adds up to an estimated 15 million pumpkins.2 In fact, over a quarter of all Halloween pumpkins end up in landfill – resulting in 18,000 tonnes of food waste. This is symptomatic of a wider food waste problem, with the average family with kids wasting £70 worth of food per month.

To raise awareness and celebrate solutions to the scary amount of seasonal food waste, Toast Ale, Hubbub, and Brewdog Tower Hill Outpost are collaborating to toast to a less wasteful Halloween. The trio will brew, Dubbel Dubbel Toil and Trouble, a Belgian style Pumpkin Dubbel, as part of Hubbub’s annual #PumpkinRescue campaign.

Like all Toast beers, the brew will use surplus fresh bread, which will be sourced from the National Bakery School. For this special collaboration, the recipe will also incorporate the flesh from surplus pumpkins.

The pumpkins will be sourced through Feedback’s Gleaning Network. After Halloween, any pumpkins not harvested for commercial use will be left to rot – the Gleaning Network allows volunteers the opportunity to collect and redistribute this surplus.

The beer will be brewed on the 4th November at Brewdog Tower Hill Outpost.  Join us to find out how a cheeky pint can help fight climate change, explore innovative ways to tackle pumpkin waste and judge the best of Hubbub’s pumpkin recipes, cooked by the National Bakery School.

The beer will be available on draught in six Brewdog bars across London, launching on 28th November in time to celebrate Thanksgiving. Proceeds will go to Hubbub to help fix the food system.

Here’s to a world with less waste and a beer with more taste.. #HeresToChange #PumpkinRescue

AGENDA (at Brewdog Tower Hill Outpost, 21 Great Tower Street, London EC3R 5AR) 

9.00 – 9.30am:            Welcome coffees & introduction

9.30am – 10.30am:   Breaking bread with Toast, Hubbub and Brewdog Tower Hill Outpost and the National Bakery School.

10.30am – 11.30am:   Mashing in

11.30am – 12.00am:   Time for interviews and Q&A

12.00am – 12.30am:   Pumpkin recipe judging and beers


So I missed the event but admire the concept. I see a lot of waste locally and we have a very obvious and visible need in this area, as in so many other areas I guess, and the waste grieves me. We operate a club and a big part of our business is functions. I have personally put untouched, as in not even the top of the foil containers taken off, hot food into the bin knowing full fine well that there are people who have not had a hot meal in days just down the road from where we are.

We have a Co-Op very local to me and it’s run by lovely people so I talk to them a little. I was in there late one evening and they were clearing up, and the clearing up seemed to be involving a lot of bin bags. I asked the question and they told me that they can’t even send bananas to the zoo anymore; that’s bonkers but it’s the world we live in unfortunately.

These folk at Toast are telling us that 44% of all the bread baked in the world is never eaten; that’s staggering and tragic in equal measures.

I can’t change the world but this stuff has my attention. I’m minimising food waste, which sits well with my basic Northern thriftiness, but I think that the bigger picture will be less about nagging people to do the same and more about putting great products in front of people that happen to be mopping up waste or, at the very least, not creating waste.

I will brew the beer when there’s a gap in the brewing schedule and report back; and wish the good folk at Toast every success.