Beer is Ale They Need

Crust is a rising star in the local craft beer industry despite its inception just a year ago. The local brewery takes surplus unsold and unused bread – which contains the same raw ingredients used to make beer – as a partial substitute for grains, and adds to that a mixture of hops, yeast and more grains. And voilà – a bread ale is born.

“We brew our bread ale in batches, usually 230 litres per batch, and that requires about 10 to 15 kilograms worth of bread,” share Travin Singh and Ben Phua, the founder and Chief Operating Officer respectively of Crust. Since entering the market in September last year, Crust has saved over 230 kilograms of bread and transformed them into 3,550 litres of beer. At present, the team uses only white bread for brewing, most of which come from French bakery Maison Kayser, but they are also looking to experiment with other types of bread soon, such as rye and sourdough.

Unlike mass-produced beers, Crust’s beers delight in how they go against the grain – not one batch is exactly the same as another. “A lot depends on the bread surplus we get. If it arrives with more crusts than the softer insides, the brew will taste sweeter,” explains Singh, who picked up home brewing by learning it off YouTube before travelling to California, a world leader in craft beer production. He visited 11 breweries in a month, learning more about the commercial side of brewing, before taking the plunge with Crust.

Aside from surplus bread, Crust occasionally works with other companies to turn their wastage and excess ingredients into beer. One of their latest collaborations was with urban farm Edible Garden City, which resulted in the birth of The King’s IPA using ulam raja – a herb with green mango flavours that grows in abundance locally. Upcycling surpluses is what they truly believe in, emphasizes Singh. “Sustainability should be a norm, not a trend.”

Crust CEO Ben Phua and Founder Travin Singh

Crust beers are available at Maison Kayser, SG TAPS, Redmart, and more.