Low-alcohol brew is helping to reduce food waste in the city – and plugging a gap in the drinks market, writes Sean Murphy

Beer and morning rolls are a match made in heaven for any Glaswegian but two companies in the city have found a novel way to bring the pair together, all while helping to reduce food waste in the city.

Left-over morning rolls from ­baker Aulds, which makes batches fresh every day, are being used by Jaw Brew to create a new beer.

Mark Hazell and wife Alison set up Jaw Brew, which is named after the old miller’s cottage they live in called ‘The Jaw’ in Baldernock near Milngavie.

Jaw Brew owner Mark Hazell, left, with Alan Marr, managing director of bakery firm Aulds. Picture: Jaw Brew

Jaw Brew owner Mark Hazell said that he was approached by Aulds at a ‘circular economy’ summit, which was set up by Zero Waste Scotland and Glasgow Chamber of ­Commerce to examine any potential areas to reduce waste from businesses across the city.

Hazell said: “They asked us if we could make beer with their leftover rolls, as they’d read that thousands of years ago people used to make beer that way. Although traditional brewers used very different bread, we thought we’d give it a go.”

The team at the independent micro-brewery, based at Hillington Park in the southside of the city, experimented with some of their recipes to see if they could replace some of the grain with the rolls. Through trial and error they discovered some very interesting results.

Hazell said: “We had to reinvent the entire process, as traditionally the bread would have had far more wholegrains in it and there would still have been starch in those grains that would convert to fermentable ­sugars. Nowadays the process for making bread is far more refined and there are no whole grains in morning rolls, meaning there is nothing there to convert into alcohol.

“After considerable experimentation, what we discovered was that it gave body and mouth feel to the beer but didn’t add extra alcohol.

“We ended up with the situation that we were replacing half the grain with morning rolls and that meant the beer was half the strength of the original beer. We discovered we could make a low-strength beer that didn’t have the thin and watery consistency that is often the problem with low-strength beers.”

This resulting low-alcohol beer, which comes in at just 2.2% abv, still had the flavour and texture of the higher strength beer that would have been brewed to the original breadless recipe.

Dubbed Hardtack, the name of the new blonde beer refers to the ship’s biscuits or bread that was served on Royal Navy ships as rations to the sailors in days gone by – and continues the nautical naming theme the brewery uses for all of its beers. Hazell believes the new low-strength beer will be popular with walkers and cyclists who are looking to enjoy a beer but “don’t want to end up drunk”.

He added: “We have had a lot of interest from specialist beer shops, as well as local golf and rugby clubs that are keen to offer a low alcohol alternative to the current on-sale market.”

Aulds supplies its bread on a sale or return basis, meaning there is often a large surplus of rolls at the end of each day.

The new beer provides a way for them to recycle the rolls that are left after the majority of the surplus is donated to local food banks.

Alison McRae, senior director of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said: “The collaboration between Jaw Brew and Aulds is a pioneering project which puts Glasgow a step closer to creating a leading circular economy city.
“Hardtack shows how two companies can work together to use waste products and, by adding value through the product development process, make a difference to their bottom line whilst at the same time helping the environment.”

Hardtack, which has been packaged in 33cl cans, can be found in local pubs and specialist beer shops, as well as Jaw Brew’s website and is also available from selected outlets, such as the Laurieston Bar in ­Glasgow’s Bridge Street, in both cask and keg.

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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