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Craft Beer: Refreshing and Sustainable

Spent grain can make up as much as 85% of a breweries total by-product. It takes about one pound of grain to make one six pack of beer, multiply that by the sheer volume of leftover grain from the average batch at a craft brewery, you’ve got yourself a whole mountain of spent grain. With the growing popularity of craft breweries in the country, some might wonder what breweries do with all that spent grain. Most of the breweries have programs in place to make good use of the leftover grain that might otherwise just be considered trash. Here are some of the more popular uses of leftover ingredients from craft brews.

For The Birds

Predominantly spent grain is used for compost or feed. Many craft breweries specialize in seasonal brews made from local ingredients. These farms work together with the breweries to provide the grains to make these unique brews and then return the leftover grain to the farms to be used as compost for the next season’s special brew. Poultry and livestock can also feed of the remaining grains from brews which in turn provide eggs and meat for the restaurants that pride themselves on recipes using locally sourced foods in their recipes.

From Liquid Bread to Real Bread.

Craft breweries are popular for unique beers as well as great food. In addition to using their beers in food recipes, spent grain is often used to make breads, cookies, granola and pizza dough that serve as a perfect pairing with a cold one.

Energy Innovation.

Alaskan Brewing Company has developed a first-of-its-kind biomass steam boiler, fueled entirely by their waste. This new boiler has already eliminated the use for fuel oil in their grain drying process and cuts the use of fuel for the brewing process in half. As the brewery grows so does their fuel source. With fossil fuels quickly depleting, this innovation could quickly become the future of fuel sources for brewers.

A Beer For You and Your Best Friend

Some breweries will make their own dog treats in their kitchens or donate the used grain to bakeries that specialize in baked goods for our furry friends. In San Diego, breweries like Green Flash Brewing Co., and Stone Brewing Co. supply their spent grain to David Crane, a home brewer whose company makes “Doggie Beer Bones” out of the beer leftovers mixed with other ingredients and sells them online and in breweries and pet stores nationwide.

Beer Flavored Lip Balm Anyone?

Love the taste of beer enough to use it every day as a lip balm? Oskar Blues makes a”beer-blessed” lip balm from the hops and barley in their Old Chub Scotch Ale.

How About A Beer Bath?

Stone Brewing Company in San Diego has a collection of handmade soaps available in their store and online that smell so good you just might want to eat them.

Most breweries don’t sell their leftovers to the public, however if you are a home brewer there is no reason you can’t use your own spent grains to make flour to use in your own special recipes or compost in your backyard garden. There are great resources online for how to dry spent grain, make spent grain flour, or turn it into compost. Soap recipes can be found as well if you are feeling crafty and want to try your hand at soup making with leftovers from your own home brews.

Depending on where you live, finding leftovers from brews shouldn’t prove to be too difficult an item to procure. For example, San Diego has over 160 breweries that are all sure to have plenty of spent grain available for free or at the very least, a minimal cost. Just go online and search a few breweries in your hometown and contact them about taking some of their spent grains off their hands.

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