13 February 2016

Toast Ale (@ToastAle @HackneyBrewery) [By @SpectreUK]

I do like being sent beer in the post. Even though the labels of some beers in the shops don't give much away about the beer's origin or its ingredients, promotional new beers do usually come with a wealth of information to read. Brewed by the Hackney Brewery in London, this 5% volume ale was made with fresh surplus bread from local bakeries, delis and sandwich makers. Apparently 44% of the bread produced in the UK is thrown away per year, which includes 24 million slices from our homes. The profits of this ale go to the charity Feedback, which battles against food waste. I delight in having some leftover passed date bread in the house, because I like to give it to the birds to try to keep them off the berry plants in the Spring and Summer. Having said that, I do feed them all year round as not all of them disappear in the colder wetter months of Autumn and Winter.

Brewed to a special Belgian recipe the ingredients on the label of this Toast real ale states "malted barley", however the paperwork states that pale malt is used, as well as the sweeter caramel malt and also Munich malt. Where the ingredients on the label simply states "hops", the paperwork states that German Hallertau Tradition hops were used, as well as Centennial hops, Cascade hops and finally Bramling Cross hops. Oh my! Three types of malted barley and four types of hops. This should be a taste sensation. Oh, and don't forget the unusual addition of dried crumbed bread.

On opening the 330ml bottle of ale there was a mixture of malted barleys in the smell to start with like the three malts turning up at a party at the same time and politely gesturing each other through the front door. Whilst the malts hesitated a jumble of hops tried to barge their way through only to fall on top of the malts in a bitter fruity citrusy heap. On pouring the light brown ale into my beer glass there was a joyful amount of fizz and an expert head like the doff of a hat from an artisan brewer. All this typing was thirsty work and I just couldn't put the drinking off any longer. And my, I was not to be disappointed. All the shenanigans were left at the front door as the malts and hops danced around each other skilfully on my tastebuds. To be perfectly honest with you if I had to take one crate of ale with me on a desert island it would be this one. There, now I've said it! And I've certainly drank a huge amount of different ales in the past. First the pale malt complements the sweeter caramel malt, then the light fruity citrusy flavours from the mixture of hops don't hammer it out to find which is the most bitter, they courteously take a bow and work together in a bitterness that doesn't twist the face or tongue, just reminds who is boss. Moving into the aftertaste for an altogether different tasting malt I'm pretty unfamiliar with, which I presume is the Munich malt. This is an ale I couldn't stop drinking, and with a certain level of relief due to the fact that they sent me four bottles. I'd recommend this ale to anyone. Smooth, then crisp and altogether flavoursome. Perfect. A toast to Toast.
By Spectre

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