An invite through The British Guild of Beer Writers and an opportune night off took me along to the launch of The Beer Bakery pop-up in Hackney. Backed by AB-Inbev, and showcasing a range of their beers, some may have thought it just a cynical excuse for one of the big boys to get their slice of the hipster action in East London. In reality though, fronted by The Fabulous Baker Brothers the proof was most certainly in the pudding. Beer and bread share most of their key ingredients, so it’s quite surprising that nobody else had found the knead to bring them together quite like this before, and brothers Tom & Henry Herbert have done a tremendous job.
These boys really used their loaf when coming up with the recipes. Avoiding the easy route and just substituting water for beer, deeming this a waste of beer, they researched the beers flavours and history, spoke to master brewers and came up with breads that reflected the beers flavours and in some cases history and provenance. It may not have been a groundbreaking selection of beer but it was an intreagingly innovative approach to beer and food where the results spoke for themselves, all of the breads were absolutely delicious.
The bustling little bread cafe was packed when I arrived, and the AB-InBev guys and the Baker Brothers were introducing the concept. The six different breads based on six different beers and all will be available to buy in the cafe or online.
Each recipe helps tell the story of the ingredients in the beer. Whilst Stella, Becks Vier, Corona, Leffe, Hoegaarden & Budweiser aren’t my usual choices, I have to admit I was impressed by their leaven brethren. Inspired by the herbs and spices in Hoegaarden, the spiced orange & coriander brioche was one of my favourites, and smothered in the serving suggestion of honey butter it was a real decadent treat, especially when washed down with a gulp of the Belgian Wit itself. The Bud tiger bread was soft and fluffy made with a fermented rice paste to highlight alternative to malted barley in the all American beer. Sea salt & lime cornbread represented Corona whilst the apple notes in Becks Vier were mirrored by the apple & walnut malt loaf. Leffe’s years are honoured by using a time old bread recipe, Sourdough. Finally the spelt and pineapple soda bread seems the obvious choice to load with cheese, although the jury is out as to whether it’s the right match for Stella Artois…
The Beer Bakery is open for just one week Tuesday 27th October – 31st October, 12pm – 8pm at 186 Hackney Road, Hoxton, E2 7QL and is well worth a visit.