Edinburgh student brew project Natural Selection Brewing announces launch date of its annual beer

A special brewing project that allows Edinburgh students to get hands on experience in the brewing industry has announced the launch of its annual limited edition beer release.

Published 24th Jun 2019
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

This year, Natural Selection Brewing are releasing their most sustainable creation to date. Dubbed ‘The Altruist’, the limited edition beer is set to launch at a special event in the capital on Thursday 27th June.

The launch night will take place at Six Degrees North and is open to the public, it will be the first opportunity to taste Natural Selection Brewing’s newest creation. For the £10 entrance fee, guests will receive an NSB branded glass, a 2/3rd pint of ‘The Altruist’ and a bottle of one the trial brews made in preparation of the final recipe.

Local bakery 12 Triangles have also created a selection of doughnuts that have been paired with the new beer that will be available on the night.

Similar events will take place up in cities across the UK with the beer available Dundee and St Andrews at St Andrews Brew Co., in Glasgow at Drygate and in London, where two kegs have been sent to the The Rake.

This is the ninth annual creation from the project, which is a collaboration between selected MSc Brewing and Distilling students at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and Stewart Brewing.

Natural Selection Brewing

Caroline Gilmer (sales) wearing the branded merch and enjoying a sample of the Altruist. Picture: NSB

To create the beer, the four Heriot-Watt students were tasked with trialling unique beer recipes, developing branding for the final product and brewing 5000 litres of their chosen recipe for sale across the UK.

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The name Natural Selection Brewing is derived from the evolutionary nature of the project across each academic year, with each group of students adding their own creativity and innovation to drive the project in a new direction.

READ MORE: Natural Selection: The project that is pouring talent into Scotland’s brewing scene

Danielle Whelan, who was chosen as project manager, said: “Natural Selection is an invaluable opportunity for us to support our studies outside the classroom and employ our skills in a real-life industry setting, all under the supervision and support of the Stewart Brewing team.”

Natural Selection Brewing

The Natural Selection Brewing team. Picture: NSB

This year’s beer, ‘The Altruist’, is a 3.7% blackcurrant and raspberry Berliner Weisse, with James Pugh, the project's head brewer, describes the beer as “a sour wheat beer that pours a hazy magenta hue and has a delightful forest fruit aroma".

He adds that the sourness and the tartness of the berries are balanced out by a subtle malt base and light wheat body, all of which combine to form a "refreshing, flavorful beer", that is "perfect for the Scottish summer”.

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A big focus for the students this year was the decision to create as sustainable a product as possible, by utilising carbon offsetting, locally sourced ingredients where possible and packaging with fully recyclable or compostable materials.

Head of sales Caroline Gilmer thanked one of their professors Clare Wharmbyand and her company Carbon Forecast Ltd for helping them with their carbon offsetting, she said: “By meticulously calculating the total volume of carbon our brewing activities will release into the environment, we have been able to offset our impact by planting native Scottish trees with the help of Forest Carbon, who specialise in carbon capture.”

To do this, the team donated some of their profits to FC. After calculating how much carbon they would need to offset, they then doubled this value for the tree planting charity to ensure the process was completely carbon neutral.

Fred Newell, head of marketing, added: “Not only does this provide our brand with a unique point of sale, but it also allows us to contribute toward a more sustainable and ethical brewing industry, one which we all hope to be part of in the coming years”.

In addition to the four brewing students, this year’s team also includes a graphic design student.

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Rory Russell, studying at Napier University, has worked alongside the other students to develop unique and contemporary branding for this year’s product.

  • Tickets for the launch are available on the Stewart Brewing website or you can find out more information on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter - The beer itself will be available in can and on keg from selected outlets across Scotland

Natural Selection: The project that is pouring talent into Scotland’s brewing scene

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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