A new Modist lager hits taplines Saturday, and it boasts an ingredient that's a first for the brewery.
One hundred and fifty pounds worth of them.
...Talk about getting toasted.
The beer is No Bagel Wasted, a collaboration with nearby Rise Bagel Co. meant to raise awareness about food waste and hunger here in the Twin Cities. Its origin story goes back to summer 2017, when the Rise team learned about a Northern California distillery making whiskey out of bagels. And you can trace its lineage even further than that: Those Californians were inspired by British brewery Toast Ale, known for using surplus bread in its beer.
"This got us thinking that we could do something special here in Minneapolis," says Rise co-founder and bagel master Kate Lloyd, "using our leftover organic bagels with a beloved local brewery."
So, they approached their North Loop neighbors at Modist—where Rise staffers often pull up a barstool after a long day of bagel-ing—and started brainstorming. "We discussed everything from the Polish origin of the bagel to our most popular bagel flavors," Lloyd says. "We played with the idea of infusing rosemary, one of our top sellers. We considered a toasted porter, which would play into the natural, toasted flavors of the baked bagel seeds."
In the end, they decided on a lager: a light and approachable easy-drinker that would hit the spot for a broad cross-section of bagel and beer lovers.
It took about a month to rescue the 150 pounds of leftover bagels that were later ground into the flour that formed the beer's malt bill. Infused with White Clover honey, No Bagel Wasted is essenced with a little bit of every classic-flavored Rise bagel: plain, salt, onion, poppy, sesame, everything rosemary, whole wheat.
According to Lloyd, it's "light, crisp, and refreshing, with a sweet and lightly toasted finish." It's an onion bagel without the accompanying onion breath—an everything bagel that doesn't leave you with poppy seed teeth.
It's also a beer that does good: 10 percent of proceeds from No Bagel Wasted will go to the all-volunteer organization Twin Cities Food Justice.
Lloyd says that for a small-batch bakery, managing production and waste is among the trickiest parts of the job. It's more of a guessing game than an exact science, part of the reason Minnesota generates 1.8 million tons of food waste annually.
"Sometimes we get it wrong," Lloyd says. "Sometimes we get lucky and get it right. On the days when we get it wrong, we will send leftover bagels home with our employees, offer them to friends and family, make a donation to a local organization, or turn them into bagel chips."
Now, they've got one other option: Turn them into beer.