Chef Mario Batali and Sam Calagione have collaborated before on a Panna Cotta Porter, but they’re taking their beer-making skills to the next level in the premiere episode of “First We Feast presents…That’s Odd, Let’s Drink It.” The goal? To brew an experimental ale that makes use of past-its-prime produce from Eataly Chicago and proves that brewers can join the cause to reduce America’s rampant food-waste epidemic.
Batali is the first guest on our brand-new six-part web series, which features the Dogfish Head founder crafting never-before-seen beers for icons such as Chris Bosh, Mac Miller, and DJ Z-Trip.
To drive their collaboration, Mario and Sam find inspiration in wastED, a growing movement spearheaded by Blue Hill’s Dan Barber to reconceive “waste” that occurs at every link in the food chain. Each year, about 40% of food grown for human consumption is thrown away in the U.S.
“We have a perfect tomato, then we have a B tomato,” says Batali. “The B is still unbelievably experiential, but I can’t sell it to my customer at top dollar.”
Combining Mario’s culinary genius with Sam’s brewing knowhow, the duo searches the kitchens of Eataly Chicago to find some gone-funky ingredients that can’t be sold to consumers, but are still perfect for brewing.
“We have a perfect tomato, then we have a B tomato and a B- tomato,” says Batali of the Eataly produce. “The B and the B- are still unbelievably experiential, but I can’t sell it to my customer at top dollar.”
Along with overripe tomatoes, the pair finds other ingredients—bruised citrus fruit, stale bread—to throw into their experimental “WasteNot” brew, which Sam unveils at Eataly New York with the dessert course of a fully wastED-inspired feast.
Watch the video above to find out what the impromptu focus group makes of Mario and Sam’s oddball creation, and whether brewers can help lead the charge in reducing waste at all levels in the food chain.