Gadds' Earth Day Collab
11th April 2023
Tap Takeover! Join Toast and Gadd's at Good Company (17 - 19 Triton St, NW1 3BF) on 26th April from 6pm to enjoy a fresh pint of this exclusive, limited-edition beer! See you at the bar.
The theme for this year's Earth day (22nd April) is about investing in our planet, so we got together with Eddie Gadd at Gadds' Ramsgate Brewery.
Together we've brewed Earth Day IPA, a delicious beer that also showcases innovative action for the planet.
Like everyone, the brewing industry has to make changes. Often it is much harder for small brewers, but things are changing as technology develops and costs fall (and the cost of not acting rises).
Eddie already has a solar array and air source heat pump at the brewery. Last year he also successfully trialled new technology for small-scale carbon capture.
Carbon from barley is released as CO2 during fermentation and usually vented to the atmosphere by small breweries. Then CO2 from fossil fuel sources has to be purchased for carbonation and cleaning. So it's win-win for the planet and for the brewer.
For Toast, using surplus bakery bread means we prevent emissions from what would otherwise be wasted food and reduce the need for malted barley (which has a pretty big footprint).
It made perfect sense to combine forces for Earth Day.
Toast brewer, Stuart Robson, got together with Eddie to plan out the recipe and processes to create a tasty modern cask pale ale with a minimal carbon footprint.
What did we brew?
We brewed a bright Kentish Pale Ale
The unique grains - surplus bread crumb and raw barley replacing some of the malt - give it a delicious toasty base and the locally grown hops bring notes of passion fruit, peach, grapefruit and tropical fruits.
Mouth watering much?
Where can you drink it?
All Earth Day IPA will be sold in casks for enjoyment in the pub. This avoids single use packaging and the beer can be stored at 12°C (instead of 6°C in the fridge).
The beer is available now at Gadds' Ramsgate Brewery taproom and pubs in Kent.
We'll also be serving at Toast's taproom, Good Company (17 - 19 Triton Street, London NW1 3BF) for a very limited run. Join us on 26th April for Stop Food Waste day when we'll be pouring until 10pm.
Team Toast will be at the bar so come along and ask us any questions. Or just have a pint with us.
So, how did we minimise the footprint?
These are the actions we took to minimise the carbon footprint of the beer and showcase for other brewers to consider.
- Walk, cycle and take public transport: This was an easy win. The brewers left their cars at home and biked to the brewery, the rest of the team took the fast train to Ramsgate and hopped on the local bus.
- Use Surplus Breadcrumbs: In UK homes alone we waste 20 million slices every day. Toast brought the bread, sourced from bakery partners who have surplus loaves at the end of day. This is reduced to a crumb and and air dried to remove moisture. For this beer we replaced 5% of the high footprint malted barley with bread that would otherwise be wasted.
- Use Raw Barley: the malting process uses a lot of energy and water, so we replaced a further 5% of our malted barley with raw barley. We couldn't replace it all, because we need enzymes from the malt to break down starches to simple sugars for the yeast. Plus it wouldn’t taste like anything resembling a modern cask pale ale without malt, and it has to pass the taste test!
- Use Super Pale Malt: after barley has germinated, it's dried in an oven where it picks up a bit of colour. Super pale malt isn’t dried as much, so uses less energy and making our beer super pale!
- Reduce the Boil Time: ok, so this would have been a great idea as would reduce our energy requirements significantly. However we wanted to produce a clear pint, and it wasn't going to work in the brewery. We'll give this more thought, and next time might just make a cloudy beer instead!
- Use High Gravity Brewing: Gravity is a measure of the alcohol strength. By brewing the sugary wort stronger (5%), and reducing the alcohol abv after the boll by adding some of the water then, we saved on the energy used for boiling and then cooling. This is relatively common practice though but you have to be careful not to take it too far, or the beer will be rubbish!
- Use Locally Grown Hops: Hops grown within 30 miles, and delivered in bulk once a year, direct from the farm, have the edge over those shipped from afar in small amounts. Gadds' use a lot of the fabulous East Kent Golding variety, grown just up the road so we also used for this beer.
- Use UK Hop Varieties: We wanted to create a modern cask pale ale with big, punchy flavours. These are often found in hops grown in the USA, New Zealand or Australia. However, the UK hop industry, known primarily for its exquisitely balanced, classically understated hops, is fighting back, breeding exciting new varieties full of intensity. We used Harlequin (passion fruit and peach) and Jester (grapefruit and tropical fruit) to flavour our IPA, and they were grown right here in the UK.
- Invest in Solar: A significant amount of electricity is needed to power the chillers that control fermentation temperatures The stronger the sunshine and the warmer it gets, the more the machines work and use energy. This suits solar panels perfectly as they work best when that sun is out. At Gadds', on a reasonable day, all the electricity needs are provided by the solar array on the roof.
- Invest in Carbon Dioxide Capture: fermentation produces CO2 (about 1 gram per gram of alcohol), so a litre of ale releases about 35 to 40 grammes of CO2. This CO2 was originally absorbed from the atmosphere by the growing barley, so it’s classed as ‘biogenic’ and isn't included in the carbon footprint of beer. However, using captured CO2 reduces the need for fossil based CO2 (which does have a carbon footprint). The captured CO2 is cleaned, purified and condensed into liquid in a mobile storage tank that goes to Toast's brewery partner SEB to be used to carbonate beer. With high prices and volatility of CO2, this investment quickly pays for itself.
- Enzymatic Cleaning: Enzymes are the boss of cleaning these days, and they’re moving into the brewing industry, cleaning everything from vessels to casks. They’re very good at breaking proteins and starches down, and they’re environmentally friendly. Historically brewers used caustic soda at high temperatures – a nasty chemical, with a high footprint. We’re very glad to be seeing the back of it.
- Vegan Finings: for the last hundred years or so brewers and wine makers have clarified their drinks using a protein derived, typically, from fish. All Toast beers use an alternative method to drop the yeast out so the vegan-friendly beer can be enjoyed by everyone.
Brewing is the most ancient of industries, steeped in history and carried out using artisanal methods bestowed on us by previous generations (with bread use in brewing going back as far as the ancient mesopotamians!). That doesn’t mean we can’t change, and adapt, whilst retaining the fundamental way we make beer, and the consequent fabulous pint.
This beer doesn't have all the answers, but we hope it helps to open discussions on how we can all help to make a difference. We certainly learnt a lot and had lots of fun.
So, whilst you sup on a pint or two of Earth Day IPA, raise a Toast to Eddie and everyone in the brewing industry determined to make a difference.
Here’s to change.