In an effort to cut down on the problem of food waste, a small Brussels-based brewery is throwing back to that long ago era (we’re talking, cradle of civilization times) when bread instead of barley was the main ingredient in beer, reports Reuters.
The brewer behind it says the idea came up when chatting with a friend about the food that’s wasted at the end of the day when supermarkets chuck day-old bread in favor of making fresh bread for customers the next day.
“Twelve percent of food waste in Brussels is bread — it’s quite astonishing,” one of the founders of microbrewery Brussels Beer Project, told Reuters.
He worked it out and found that around 30% of the barley in brewing could be replaced with a slice and a half of bread per bottle, using up to about 1,100 pounds of bread to brew 1,057 gallons of beer. He arranged to get unsold bread from local stores that then dried it and cut it into flakes for him to brew with.
Though ancient Mesopotamians used thick loaves for their beer, mixed with honey, this bread beer does still use hops and adds yeast as well.
The result has been dubbed “Babylone,” and is a 7% amber brew, “with a subtly salty taste from the bread and a hoppy finish,” Reuters notes. If you’re hoping to get your hands on it in the States though, you’re out of luck for now, as it’s only sold in local cafes and bars in Brussels.
“It’s fusion between maybe what they used to do with bread 1,000 years ago and contemporary brewing,” the brewer said. “It might not please everybody’s palate, but I think the ones who like this will really enjoy it.”