this Var brewer makes his beers with unsold bread

It’s an original initiative to say the least: in the small village of Figanières, near Draguignan in the Var, Olivier Dauphin has embarked on the production of a beer that notably incorporates bread, collected from bakers in the area. An anti-waste and…gourmet approach!

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Four times a month, Olivier Dauphin embarks on an important operation: the brewing of one of his 6 local beers. And two of them have a special feature: they use bread, picked up from local bakers.

This August 24, Olivier also has an appointment at the Oudard bakery, at the entrance to the village of Figanières.

There he finds Julien, the boss. It is he who provides the bread, sliced ​​and stored in large bags. In all, there are about 25 kilos.

Each time, 3 or 4 bags of unsold bread are prepared for him. The idea is excellent: it is not to throw away! And apparently the taste of the wood fire comes out nicely on the amber beer, so that’s great! “, rejoices Julien Oudart.

Who nevertheless continues to donate part of its unsold products to charities.

Support between artisans that does not stop there. Because Julien also markets local beers in his establishment, which offers a snacking activity. “ThisIIt works really well, we can’t keep up with demand and we’re broke!“, laughs the baker.

Once the bags are loaded, head to the premises of the “Bozzzale” brewery (yes, with three z’s!). Located in the heart of Figanières, rue Mistral, these are former bathhouses, which then became an art gallery (the Galerie du Rocher), before hosting Olivier Dauphin’s micro-brewery.

Three months of work were needed to install all the equipment. Since April 2022, the brewery has been running at full capacity, at a rate of around 4 brews per month. Serious things can begin.

Olivier will weigh the different ingredients needed to make his “Boz’Red” beer (Bread Amber IPA). So the bread, but also 2 special malts (one of which gives a little taste of caramel). Malts which are then crushed in a mill.

Then, all these ingredients (some of which will remain secret so as not to reveal everything!) are mixed in a large tank of hot water.

These 4 bags of bread, it replaces about 1 bag of malt. It is enormous ! And above all, it gives a second life to a product that would otherwise have been thrown away!“, explains Olivier, while stirring his mixture with a large wooden spatula.

And off we go for an hour of cooking at 65 degrees. A step called “mash”. “Malt enzymes will break down bread starch“, explains the brewer. He will thus obtain a syrup, to which he adds the hops. Cooling will follow to 20 degrees, then about a month of fermentation.

All that remains is to bottle and label the precious beverage.

Olivier is one of the first to try this experience in the Var. But in Belgium, the practice has been popularized by Brussels Beer Project, one of the largest craft breweries in Brussels. From 2015, the brand produces Babylone, a beer brewed from breadcrumbs, which is a big success.

The structure is also launching a beer competition, which allows the Varois to make his first attempts at brewing bread. A revelation. “I saw that it worked, so I said to myself, I continue!

In 2018, in Toulouse, Romain Courbet and Nicolas Costes went even further. They teamed up to create The Brewlangerie. “It is the first organic bakery and brewery that aims to reuse waste from each activity in order to avoid waste“, specifies the company.

Retraining and ramping up

Olivier Dauphin was not always a brewer. First intermittent show, he intervenes on stage assemblies or structures on big festivals like the Eurockéennes de Belfort. Then he became a structural steel designer in Draguignan.

But passionate about English and Belgian beers for years, he started brewing in his garage in 2017. And quickly, passion took over. In 2019, he created his company and released his first beers. Self-taught, he continues to train by reading and meeting many brewers, including his friends at La Bière de la Rade in Toulon, whom he calls regularly for advice.

In 2022, faced with growing demand, he bought his equipment from a brewer in Chambéry (Coup de mousse), and moved into these new premises in Figanières. A choice he does not regret. “I wanted to be in the heart of the village, as close as possible to the inhabitants. Even if it’s not always easy for deliveries, because the streets are narrow!“laughs the brewer.

Locally, he also gets his baguettes from the Clotilde bakery and pastry shop in Callas, to make Boz’ Wheat, his other beer (white this time) made from bread.

Olivier produces about 3 000 bottles of 33 key per month. A figure he hopes to double by next year. For now, 90% of its beers are sold directly. Every Tuesday morning, Olivier opens his small shop (at the foot of his apartment building), as close as possible to the Figanières market, and orders pour in.

A few local restaurants and businesses are even starting to order some from him. Like the Bar du Caou in Figanières or the Cent pressures in Draguignan.

Curiosity helping, Olivier organizes from time to time open houses and visits to his micro-brewery to share his passion.

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