Leftover Bread is Being Reincarnated as Beer in Belgium

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You don’t often consider how much bread is produced each day in your local bakery—all you want to know is that it’s fresh, right?

The problem is, all of those unbought loaves from earlier in the day turn stale and end up in the trash. A Belgian microbrewery recognized this reality and saw an opportunity to recycle all of that waste. Located in Brussels, Beer Project is a crowdfunded brewing project that co-creates new types of beer with the help of the local community. The group’s long term goal is to raise enough money by mid-2015 to “build a collaborative microbrewery in the heart of Brussels that allows us to push the boundaries of creativity with 20 new recipes a year and involve our community in everything we do.”

Babylone, Beer Project’s latest brew, is a prime example of the group’s admirable goal. Having estimated that 12 percent of food waste in Brussels can be tracked back to bread, one of Beer Project’s founders, Sebastien Morvan, discovered that 30 percent of the barley used in the brewing process could be replaced with bread—one to two slices per bottle to be exact.

Named after the capital of Mesopotamia, Babylone nods at an ancient recipe for beer that mixed bread with honey. Beer Project brought together various stakeholders to develop and produce the one-of-a-kind beer: The food retailer Delhaize provides the unsold bread each day, which is then processed into flour by Groot Eiland workshop. Beer Project then brews a batch of Babylone, producing a seven percent amber brew with a subtly salty flavor and hoppy finish that treads the line between ancient flavor and modern technique.

For now, Babylone is mostly sold in local cafes and bars. But if you want a taste of this bready brew, help fund Beer Project’s upcoming microbrewery and schedule a visit for yourself this summer. Learn more about how leftover loaves can fuel your next pint of suds by visiting the Beer Project site.

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