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Sahale Ale Works in Grafton started brewing a new beer this week that will help raise funds for Family Sharing of Ozaukee County.
The two have partnered before, most recently on the Little Outdoor Big Beer Fest in December.
For this one, brewer Matthew Hofmann is using day-old bread, provided by Family Sharing, in the mash.
So-called “toast ales,” made with surplus bread are not new and beer is brewed with bread the world over, including in England, Russia, Finland and Egypt.
Babylone, a strong amber-hued ale from the Brussels Beer Project, brewed with day-old bread first dried and turned into crumbs, is one of the better-known recent examples.
This Sahale beer, however, is a maibock.
“I’ve never brewed with bread before,” says Hoffman, who mashed in on Thursday. “I simply broke up the loaves into smaller pieces and mixed them in with the grain during the mash process. I hope to gain some sugars and flavor from the bread.”
Allaying any trepidation was a smooth brew day, he says.
“I was worried about the bread making it difficult to drain the wort from the mash, so I added some rice hulls to keep the mash less dense. I didn’t end up having any issues, but the bread also only made up 10 percent of the grain bill, which may have also helped.”
Called Born and Bread, Hofmann plans to release it on April 14.
"My plan is to release it on Milwaukee Day since that is where I was born, raised and started my career in brewing," he says. "We're not open that day, so we'll do online can sales that day with draft available the following day during our normal business hours."
Some of the proceeds from the sale of each beer will benefit the great organization at Family Sharing of Ozaukee County, founded in 1978, which runs a food pantry and a resale shop to help fund it and to provide winter coats to families in need.
Hofmann says Sahale has a lot going on – as usual – and expect more partnerships and collabs with interesting brews.
“I’ll also be doing a beer with Mequon Nature Preserve around May using dandelion heads harvested from their grounds coming up in May,” he says, “and the sumac beer will make a return later in summer to help out Riveredge again.
“We also have the return of one of barrel aged beers coming up April 9. It is called Rummin' With The Devil and is a Belgian-style dark strong ale aged in Twisted Path Distillery rum barrels.”
I'm always a littled awed by the ingredients brewers can use to make great beers and I asked Hofmann if there was anything (food-grade, of course) that he wouldn't try in a beer.
"I can’t think of anything," he says. "I’m not above gimmicks, but not sure I’m ready to throw cakes, pastries, etc. into my beers. The goal is to make a quality and drinkable beer.
"If I use an odd ingredient, I would look to also enhance the beer beyond just making an interesting story. However, the Maibock likely won’t be massively impacted by the addition of bread to the mash. We’ll see in a couple weeks!"
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.