A small brewery in Belgium has started producing beer from recycled fresh bread, making use of the bread thrown away by supermarkets at the end of each day.
The Brussels Beer Project spent more than a year on research and development before launching its new beer, Babylone. Antoine Dubois, a former researcher at the Brewing Sciences Institute of UCL university, developed a recipe that combines bread, barley malt and fresh hops. The makers say that the resulting product has a "surprising character with very aromatic notes and a long-lasting bitterness".
As the company points out, a great amount of food is wasted every day, especially in urban areas. Bread waste accounts for an estimated 12 percent of all food waste in the Belgian capital.
The Brussels Beer Project teamed up with Brussels-based nonprofit organization Groot Eiland, which each day collects unsold fresh bread from supermarket chain Delhaize. Next, Groot Eiland dries the bread and processes it into a new flour that is then mixed with barley malt.
Delhaize supports the project and has funded new equipment for Groot Eiland to increase the process efficiency.
Five prototype beers were produced during the development stage and the final recipe replaces about 30 percent of the barley with one-and-a-half slices of bread for each bottle of beer.
Sebastien Morvan, one of the founders of the project, told Reuters that brewing 4,000 litres (1,057 gallons) requires 500 kilos (about 1,100 pounds) of bread.
"It's a fusion between maybe what they used to do with bread 1,000 years ago and contemporary brewing," Morvan explained. "It might not please everybody's palate, but I think the ones who like this will really enjoy it."