If you are a food festival fan, you may have spotted that two Local Food Britain artisans from Surrey seem to be joined at the hip. Where Chalk Hills Bakery are, new innovative beer company Crumbs Brewing is likely to be. This is no coincidence given that Crumbs’ first Amber Lager is made from left-over Surrey bloomer loaves at Chalk Hills Bakery.
And the relationship is set to deepen with plans for the next batch of brew to be made out of Chalk Hills’ Champion Sourdough or even its rye bread.
“We are on a mission to create beautiful beer using artisan bread that would otherwise go to waste,” says Morgan Arnell, who started Crumbs Brewing with his wife Elaine.
For hundreds of years, brewers and bakers have been intrinsically linked, often being one and the same person. In the 19th century, bread bakers obtained their yeast from beer brewers to leaven their bread. Now that relationship has come full circle with Crumbs Brewing using breadcrumbs to replace one third of the dry ingredients in the Amber Lager – a recipe that was developed with the help of well-known master brewer Tim O’Rourke whose international clients include Heineken, Coors and Carlsberg, as well as smaller craft brewers throughout the world.
“In the future, I can see our beer being used to make bread, so it will be a perpetual circle,” says Morgan.
For now, the first batch of 6,000 bottles of Amber Lager is having its first showing this summer at local food festivals and has made its way onto the shelves of Surrey wine stores Vine King and the new Four Hops in Reigate, Cobbetts in Dorking and Hop Stop in Oxted.
A new crumbing machine has been installed at Chalk Hills Bakery in Reigate and a second brew is planned for July.
Hailing from the Isle of Wight, Morgan chose the island’s oldest brewery, Goddards, to brew Crumbs’ first two batches, but one day he would like to see the brewing come closer to home in Reigate.
And while the ingredient of the next batch is still being debated – Chalk Hills’ sourdough or rye bread – Morgan foresees a future when his beer won’t just be made from unsold loaves.
“It is about repurposing another artisan product into other things – if we can do it with breadcrumbs, we can also do it with other food products perhaps even coffee grinds,” he says.
So, Crumbs could soon be turning Surrey café culture on its head – anyone for lagerccino?