Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Future of Beer is Safe in their Hands


Press releases are usually full of self-promoting garbage in which various people often called Jenny try to pimp their latest beery wares onto what they perceive as gullible and easily bought beer bloggers. However, once in a while a press release pops into your inbox that actually means something to the person who created it.

Today, I got one such email from some final year students on the MSc course in brewing at Heriot Watt University.  I could quote and paraphrase it but I'm not going to bother. Instead, I'm going to publish it as I received it.

I wish these guys well in their dissertation project and hope that the finished product mirrors their degree award. Hopefully, First Class.

Here it is -

Edinburgh taste buds to inform the future of brewing

 A new beer is being developed specially for Edinburgh drinkers, but they’ll have to step up to the bar smart-ish if they want to taste it. Finch beer is being developed by a group of students at Heriot-Watt’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) to try and find out if Edinburgh drinker’s tastes are moving from traditional Scottish malty beers to more hoppy beers, like those popular in America.

The beer, which is being produced in conjunction with Edinburgh’s Stewart Brewing, is described as a ‘robust red ale’ and will be produced as a limited edition. It will be distributed through bars and beer merchants over the Festival period, with the launch being held on, Thursday the 21st of July at the Guildford Arms public house at 8pm.

The ICBD team behind the beer’s development, four postgraduate students from Scotland, Canada and the USA, say they hope the project will help to educate those who drink it about different options for beer tastes, while the headlines of which they will make available to the brewing industry.

They hope that, as a natural product with no additives or preservatives, it will appeal to beer drinkers willing to try new tastes. Team member Steven Kersley said. “Our initial research shows that, far from being stuck in their ways, many drinkers are prepared to try seven to ten new beers a month and we are hoping they’ll be prepared to give Finch a try and let us know what they think.

“Most people know what they like, but they may not know why a particular flavour appeals. We hope that knowing that the new beer is more hoppy, and giving us their feedback on how they feel about that, will both help drinkers inform their own choices and provide valuable feedback to the industry on how tastes in all age groups may be developing.

“Along the way we’re gaining valuable practical experience of developing, producing and marketing a new beer, working in conjunction with a commercial producer, which is bound to stand us in good stead when we move into the industry ourselves.”

Steve Stewart, founder of Edinburgh’s Stewart Brewing worked closely with Dr David Quain a professor at the ICBD to create the project; both are graduates of Heriot-Watt’s ICBD. Steve Stewart said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to support the ICBD students by brewing this novel and interesting beer for them. They are a very talented group, and
having the opportunity to put theory into practice, to develop a beer from scratch through to seeing it on the bar and drinking it with your friends is a great learning experience. The depth of talent and passion among the brewing students at Heriot-Watt is immense, and with the interest in the craft brewing sector really heating up, it’s great to get new people with new ideas and new beers into the industry,”

Good luck to them. The 6.5% Finch beer will be available not only in the Guildford but also in Holyrood 9A, Jenny Ha's, Beehive and Doctor's. The students intend to make enough of the beer to fill 3000 bottles and 15 nine gallon casks. The scale of the task is huge. As Steven Kersley says, "It's never been done before, student's ...launching a beer from scratch...and selling the beer to the pub".

I wish them every success and it's good to see the level of enthusuaism and dedication that these students clearly possess by the beer barrel load.

I look forward to seeing how the project develops.
Ps. You can also keep track of the lads' progress by following them here on Twitter. The lovely pumpclip was created by Claire Odecki from Vancouver, Canada.


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