| BRUSSELS, April 17
BRUSSELS, April 17 A small Brussels-based
brewery has embarked on a project to make beer from leftover
bread, harking back to antiquity, when bread, rather than
barley, was the main ingredient.
The idea for brewing with bread came when 31-year-old
Frenchman Sebastien Morvan talked to a friend about food waste,
specifically the bread thrown away because supermarkets, eager
to offer fresh bread to shoppers all day, baked until late
"Twelve percent of food waste in Brussels is bread -- it's
quite astonishing," Morvan, one of the founders of microbrewery
Brussels Beer Project, told Reuters.
Morvan calculated that about 30 percent of the barley used
in brewing could be replaced with one and a half slices of bread
per bottle. Brewing 4,000 litres (1,057 U.S. gallons) would use
up 500 kilos of bread. A nearby social project, "Atelier Groot
Eiland", arranged to get unsold bread from nearby supermarkets,
dry it and cut it into flakes for him.
The oldest surviving recipe for beer dates back about 4,000
years to ancient Mesopotamia and calls for thick, multigrain
loaves to be mixed with honey. The Belgian bread beer is more
modern, using hops from the United States and Britain and adds
yeast instead of relying on spontaneous fermentation.
Getting the recipe right took about a year. Initial trials
failed before the brewers worked out the ideal ratio of bread to
barley and how to cut the bread so it would not clog the brewing
The resulting beer, called "Babylone", is a 7 percent amber
brew, with a subtly salty taste from the bread and a hoppy
finish. For now, most of it is being sold to local cafes and
"It's fusion between maybe what they used to do with bread
1,000 years ago and contemporary brewing," said Morvan. "It
might not please everybody's palate, but I think the ones who
like this will really enjoy it."
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Larry King)