Beer of the Week

Beer of the week #63: Toast Real Ale

Toast Real Ale Label

A few months ago we mentioned in a review “it’s not often we’re offered samples of beer.” Since then we’ve been offered quite a bit more beer.

As much as we would love to say breweries are clamouring for a Beer of the Week* slot on this site, the increased boozy PR activity has more to do with us being commissioned to write about booze for the Independent newspaper.

Unfortunately, breweries with budgets large enough to hire PR companies and can afford the time to scan the press for booze journalists – and ply them with beer – tend to be the ones for whom beer marketing is more important than the beer itself. We don’t mind trying these drinks, but we’re not featuring them in any of our writing unless we like them.

However, there have also been a few more interesting companies who have crossed our palms with malty gold. Recently we were happy to give a review to a beer whose ingredients were sourced by boffins plugging people’s social media messages into computers to find the perfect beer, and this week we’ve been guzzling a beer made out of bread.

Toast Real Ale’s PR team must be doing a great job because their beer has been all over the media. This led us to wonder if it was all marketing gimmick and no beery substance, but thankfully those fears were soon allayed: it’s a good beer that’s well worth shouting about – especially as all profits from the sale go towards the charity Feedback.

Conceived to help raise awareness of food waste, Toast’s producers – Hackney Brewery – scoop up commercial sandwich makers’ unused loaves and toast them before chucking them into their brewing pot. The recipe they’ve adapted is Belgian in origin, but this tastes much more in line with traditional light brown English bitters. It’s a moreish brew. A little bit earthy, with light shades of hoppy bitterness and a pinch of malty sweetness.

‘Bready’ is a fairly commonly used term to describe certain beer flavours, but if I didn’t know this beer was made from toast then I’m not sure ‘bready’ would spring to my mind. It’s very much an un-fancy, traditionalist-friendly brew, well made with a slight notes of distinction – this could be the toast that makes the difference, but equally you would hope that breadless beers each have their own distinctive flavour to them.

Brewing beer from bread is nothing new – the technique can be traced back 4,000 years – but it’s certainly unusual in modern times. Maybe this simple but very effective beer can start a new trend, and if it’s a trend that also helps us tackle food waste then we’re all for it.

As a thanks to the toast team for sending us the beer we’ve made a donation to the charity Feedback

The lowdown
Hackney Brewery, London
Beer name: Toast Real Ale
Strength: 5%
Hops used: Hallertau, Centennial, Cascade, Bramling Cross

*“Small, orderly queue” would be a better description

As a thanks to the toast team for sending us the beer we’ve made a donation to the charity Feedback

 Toast Real Ale Bottle

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