Nfld. & Labrador

Yellowbelly using day-old Rocket Bakery bread for new Brewis Hard Tack Ale

A St. John's brew pub is making a statement about food waste through its newest seasonal beer.

Liam McKenna says beer name and label homage to Purity Hard Bread

Yellowbelly brewmaster Liam McKenna says there are only a few bottles of Brewis Hard Tack Ale left before it runs out for the season. (Geoff Bartlett/CBC)

A St. John's brew pub is making a statement about food wastage through its newest seasonal beer.

The idea for Brewis Hard Tack Ale came to Yellowbelly brewmaster Liam McKenna after years of seeing how much gets left on customers' plates and thrown in the garbage. 

"When you work in a brew pub environment you see incredible food waste around you all of the time," he told the St. John's Morning Show. "This is maybe a little bit of a statement on that — that we can do better."

Yellowbelly's brewmaster Liam McKenna has been brewing beer for more than 30 years. (CBC)

McKenna turned to his friends – and owners of Rocket Bakery on Water Street – to see if they were interested in donating day-old bread to be turned into beer. When they agreed, he started in on his first batch of Brewis Hard Tack Ale.

A historic relationship

McKenna said making beer out of old bread is not that unusual, given the long connection between the two staples of the human diet.

"For me as a veteran brewer of 30 years, something like this represents something different, which is why it really excited me to do this,"he said.

"Beer and bread are two of those technological human inventions that run a seamless thread right down through the beginning of our history."

Yellowbelly's Brewis Hard Tack Ale is made by using day-old bread from Rocket Bakery, as a statement about food waste. (Geoff Bartlett/CBC)

McKenna describes Brewis Hard Tack Ale as a dark-coloured brew with a peppery spiciness, with a bit of floral character that's noticeable in the top notes of the taste.

The name and label of the beer is a homage to Purity Hard Bread – also known as hard tack – used in the traditional Newfoundland meal of fish and brewis.

As it is a seasonal brew, Brewis Hard Tack Ale will only be available for the next few days. McKenna said the last shipment went out to the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation on Friday, and he expects the last few kegs and bottles at Yellowbelly to be gone by the end of the weekend.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show