Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Origin Dry-Hop Trail

During our trials we had the privilege to work with some amazing hops from New Zealand and Australia. The flavour and aroma spectrum that is being found in these new world hops is unparalleled. We knew we wanted to showcase as many of them as we could so we decided to create the Origin Dry-Hop Trail in order to take advantage of these power house hops. We settled on 11 varietals; eight from New Zealand, two from Australia, and one from the U.S. Many of these have only been released to market in the last few years and have been bred especially with the craft brewing industry in mind.

Only one cask of each hop varietal was racked, so each pub has its own exclusive dry-hopped cask. Over the next week, these 11 pubs will be tapping their cask and when its done, that dry hop is extinct (evolution puns will never get old). As pubs tap the casks we will post on Twitter and Facebook to alert everyone. We hope that everyone has the chance to follow some or all of the Dry-Hop Trail and experiences what the different hops add to the beer.

Without further ado, the pubs and their hops.

The Southern: Belma (US) - New hop from the U.S., pine, tropical fruit and strawberry.

Kay's Bar: Green Bullet (NZ) - Very spicy, with hints of white pepper. Its ancestry can be traced to the noble hop varietals from Germany and the Czech Republic but with a more robust resin aroma.

Mash Tun: Kohatu (NZ) - Very floral with hints of mint, mango and passion fruit.
The Cumberland Bar: NZ Cascade (NZ) - Similar to USA Cascade but with a distinct difference from the NZ terroir. Citrus but also a powerful piney, resiny note.

Bon Vivant Stockbridge: NZ Pacifica (NZ) - Citrus and floral notes. "Orange marmalade aptly describes the citrus aroma."

Brass Monkey: NZ Southern Cross (NZ) - Cross between UK and US hops. Nice herbal profile, with hints of lemon peel and pine needles.

Caley Sample Room: Pacific Jade (NZ) - Bold hop, with citrus and fresh ground black pepper notes.

Holyrood 9A: Pacific Gem (NZ) - Very interesting hop that gives oak and blackberry notes.

The Hanging Bat: Stella (Aus) - Very new hop-varietal with intense herbal notes, very much like thyme.

Bow Bar: Summer (Aus) - Melon and peach flavours, not unlike Galaxy. Developed with dry-hopping in mind.

Stockbridge Tap: Wakatu (NZ) - Very crisp. Adds a nice lime zest character to beers.

View Origin Dry-Hop Trail in a larger map

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dammit Jim, I'm a Brewer, not a Creative Designer!

With our launch less than a week away we thought it would be an idea to give you a flavour of what we have been working on behind the scenes, brewing aside. It's one thing to brew a great beer that is satisfyingly refreshing and becomes more delicious with every sip (ahem...) but it's quite another to come up with the artwork that will make the bottles stand out from the wall of brown glass it will soon be up against. Step in the Natural Selection Brewing Creative Design Team!

We knew from the start of this project that we would need to find someone with the creative skills that would take our branding to the next level and we found two designers who were up to the challenge, Calum Carr and Tyrone Stoddart.

Chuck admiring his reflection
Calum was first out of the starting blocks and gave us exactly what we were looking for which has been our core brand image across all of our merchandising. We wanted to work with the Natural Selection and Charles Darwin themes but still add a strong link to brewing, Calum came straight back with a hand drawn image of Charles Darwin with a hop cone beard. Awesome. We were so chuffed with Calum's work we put it straight on to some T-shirts. Anyone who made it along to the Heriot-Watt beer festival in March will recognise this from our shirts and we'll be getting more T-shirts made up next week for those who ordered them.
Our Logo featuring on our Tees

It was soon time to get our brand image shaped in to a print-ready label for our bottles, which is where Tyrone stepped in to help us out. We wanted something fairly simple and clean that stood out from the crowd and Tyrone came back to us with a really strong design that we are now running on our bottles. And he threw in a cool NSB logo for good measure! We now have the labels ready for bottling this weekend and the prototypes are looking funky, we can't wait to get the beer in to those bottles!

The front beer mat design from Tyrone
After a lengthy email exchange between us and Tyrone whilst working on all those small fixes for the label it was time to start working on some promotional material to get the message out to the public that Natural Selection is back and we have some damn tasty beer. This is where our advertising Gurus, Pete and Bish, helped us out with their creative minds. They recently worked on the newest IRN-BRU TV ads so we were all ears!

One of Calum's sketches
Being a student project it's probably not a surprise that we are working to a tight budget and so we wanted to get our branding on to something we could get lots of for not much money, we settled on beer mats and posters. We gave those limited promotional options to Pete and Bish and they came back with a really creative way of using both of those.

Warning: Extended exposure may induce drinking
After hearing their ideas and advice we are now running a competition on our beer mats for one lucky person to win a case of Origin beer! If you want to know how to win there is only one way to find out and that's to get out to pubs and find those beer mats! Do you see what we did there?? The full list of bars is on our locations map so make sure you check it before you hit the town. We've got a few different images on the reverse side of the mats, all sketched for us by Calum and made print-ready by Tyrone, and above is a taster of what you can expect to see if you find some on a beer soaked table. One tip if you want to win, bring a pencil with one of those little erasers on the end :-D

Our launch poster designed by Calum

Our posters are now all over Edinburgh and you may have already seen one, the above pack shot poster was created by Pete and Bish and our launch poster was created by Calum. Both are very cool we think so keep an eye out for those across the city.

If you are working on a project of your own and want to get in touch with any of these guys you can find their websites and contact info below.

So don't forget we're launching Origin on Wednesday next week at Bannermans Bar, Cowgate from 7pm. Full details can be found in the Events section of the website.

Hopefully see you all there, don't for get your pencils........


The Natural Selection team

Pete & Bish
A senior freelance team working in Edinburgh, London and anywhere in between

Tyrone Stoddart

Calum Carr

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Yeast Propagation

Yeast Propagation - There and back again

Every so often we are reminded that we are in fact scientists as well as brewers. This was never more apparent than when we sat down for our first discussion on yeast propagation.

Side note: For the layperson; propagation is the principle of growing yeast from a small sample up to a large enough quantity to use in a production scale brew.

Our decision to brew a Saison style beer meant that we had to select a yeast strain that had the desired “yeast characteristics” and taste profile; namely a pronounced ester (fruity) and spicy flavour with a slightly acidic finish and a silky mouthfeel. Basically we are looking a whole lot out of these single celled fungi!!

We began trial batches with two strains; the first strain we used gave us a very enjoyable beer. Unfortunately, issues arose surrounding the high fermentation temperatures required and its slow fermentation rate; over 2 weeks!! We then brewed a batch using a second Saison strain; this gave superior flavours and aromas as well as fermenting in half the time, safe to say this was the strain for us!

With our yeast strain selected it was now time to grow it up from the somewhat measly liquid yeast samples provided by the yeast laboratory, to enough to pitch into around 20 barrels (30 hectolitres).

Cropping our yeast form ICBD fermentation vessel
Step one saw us taking the cropped yeast from our trial batches and pitching that into 150 litres of wort; which we brewed on the ICBD pilot brewery at Heriot-Watt University. To maximise our yield, we carried out this stage aerobically. By using an O2 stone in the bottom of the fermentation vessel, we were able to produce small bubbles of filtered compressed air; resulting in a plentiful supply of oxygen. The presence of oxygen means that the yeast will grow more readily and suppresses alcohol production (not normally what we are looking for!). We obtained a fantastic yield from this process; needing 4.5kg and ending up with around 7kg.

What we saw under the microscope
Bruce doing some microbiology on our yeast
We then cropped the yeast from the fermentation vessel ensuring to discard the first runnings (containing dead cells) and only saving high quality, healthy yeast. This was then checked under the microscope by Bruce and Pat for cell count, viability (number of living cells) and bacterial contamination.

Side note: As I mention the ICBD I would like to extend our gratitude to David Quain and Graham McKernan for their assistance and advice with the propagation plan.

Our bucket of yeast on the bus and some bus Orcs
With the yeast given the all clear, we began the perilous journey to Stewart Brewing. Feeling a little like Frodo Baggins carrying the One Ring into Mordor; we escorted our “precious” cargo in an inconspicuous black bucket. Two buses and a brief encounter with a few Edinburgh bus Orcs later we reached our destination.

Our yeast growing in a Stewart Brewing fermentation vessel
Upon arrival at Stewart Brewing, Iain (Stewart’s Head Brewer) and his team had just finished a batch of Edinburgh Gold (a fine brew in my humble opinion).

We diverted around 5 barrels (6 hectolitres) into a separate fermentation vessel and pitched our Saison yeast. We then let this ferment, growing our total yeast weight to around 18kg in a week.

This is more than enough for us to use for our first 20 barrel brew. This came as a huge relief; particularly for me as the man in charge of propagation but also everyone involved with Natural Selection Brewing. So we now have plenty of yeast for our 1st 20 barrel production batch and can crop and reuse this yeast for the 2nd 20 barrel production batch the following week.

Side note: Thanks go out to Steve and Iain at Stewart Brewing for trusting us to let our somewhat "funky" Saison yeast into the brewery!

I hope this has been an interesting insight into our experience of yeast propagation; my take home advice would be that hygiene is paramount; peracetic acid is truly a brewer’s best friend and is pretty handy against those pesky Edinburgh bus Orcs too!!

Bruce Smith

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Party Time, Excellent!


We are very proud to announce that the launch of our beer will be at Bannermans Bar, Cowgate on Wednesday July 10th from 7pm onwards. It might be an idea to take the Thursday off work, or the morning at least!

Not only will we have more beer than you can shake an empty glass at we are also looking forward to having some live music from one of Edinburgh's top bands who the NME have described as "one of the country's most exciting bands". It's all a bit of a secret at the moment as the band currently has other commitments but we can't wait for them to be part of the night it's going to be pretty special. I'd bring some extra cash with you as if you don't have an album already, you will probably want one!

We will also be asking you all to take part in a Cask v Keg vote on the night. Our beer, Origin, will be available on draught keg and cask dispense and we would like you to tell us which you prefer. We all have our own preferences and different beers sometimes suit different methods of dispensing so it's going to be really interesting to find out what people think. We will also have the beer in bottle conditioned format for anyone who would like to try it.

Entry is completely free, so if you like good beer and good music it would be great to see you there!

Not happy with just an Edinburgh Launch we have gone and organised a second launch at The Rake in London's Borough Market. This is going to be an awesome night of beer and as well as being able to sample our beer The Rake is famous for it's very wide range of beers from around the world.

Our London launch is on July 17th from 6pm onwards. 

On top of that we have the whole month filled with beery events across Edinburgh. Below is a list of all the events we have planned throughout July. We are doing a fair bit of beer tasting so there should be plenty of opportunities for people to try before they buy. As if all that wasn't enough we are still adding to this list so please check back to find out if we are going to be in your local for a chat sometime soon!

The Natural Selection Team

Origin Launch Night - Bannermans, Cowgate - Wednesday 10th July 7pm onwards

Beer Tasting - Vino Wines, Comiston Branch - Thursday 11th July 5pm - 7pm

Scottish Real Ale Festival - The Corn Exchange - Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th July 

Meet the Brewer - The Southern Bar, South Clerk St - Sunday 14th July 8pm - 10pm

London Launch Night - The Rake, Borough Market - Wednesday 17th July 6pm onwards

Beer Tasting - Cork and Cask, Marchmont Road - Friday 19th July 5pm - 7pm

Beer Tasting - Cornelius, Easter Road - Friday 19th July 6pm - 8pm

Beer Tasting - Bon Vivant, Thistle Street - Saturday 20th July 2pm - 4pm

Beer Stall - Stockbridge Market - Sunday 21st July 12pm - 5pm

Cheese and Beer pairing - The Bow Bar, West Bow - Wednesday 24th July 8pm - 10pm

Beer Stall - Stockbridge Market - Thursday 25th July 12pm - 7:30pm

Beer Tasting - Great Grog, Dalkeith Road - Friday 26th July 5pm - 7pm

Beer Tasting - The Beerhive, Canonmills - Friday 26th July 6pm - 8pm

Barbeque and Beers - Heriot-Watt Union, Riccarton - Sunday 28th July 2pm

Monday, 20 May 2013

What is a Saison?

            Saison is a beer style that is not well understood by even the most hard core of beer geeks. It has a very long and interesting history but was on the verge of dying out until the beer revival in the U.S. helped drive interest toward this odd style. Why then would we choose to brew such a confusing and archaic type of beer? It is simple; we find them fascinating and like to drink them. Not to mention it’s refreshing in the heat and has a pleasant complexity that allows for contemplation.
            The BJCP style guidelines defines saison as “A refreshing, medium to strong fruity/spicy ale with a distinctive yellow-orange color, highly carbonated, well hopped, and dry with a quenching acidity.” (BJCP, 2008) Today many consider Brasserie Dupont’s Saison Vielle Provision to exemplify the style but there are many well-made interpretations on both sides of the pond.

            While every beer has a story behind its development, saison’s is actually quite simple. The Flanders region of France and Belgium was and still is a fertile region full of small farms. As with most agricultural centers, much of the labor is performed by seasonal workers or saisonierres in French. Brewing has always been part of Flemish culture and it is no surprise that the majority of farms brewed their own beer for sustenance. Water in the 19th century was notoriously not potable so it was necessary for farmers to provide a safe and refreshing beverage to both hydrate and sustain the legions of saisonierres tilling the fields. Beer, being boiled, was known as a safe beverage. Furthermore, before refrigeration, beer could only be brewed in the cooler months between October and March and would have to be stored to last the summer. In Flanders, higher than normal amounts of hops were used for their antiseptic quality in order to preserve the beer throughout the year (Markowski, 2004). The end result was a low-alcohol, typically 3-4%, and highly hopped beer that could be drunk throughout the workday.

            As each farm made their own Saison it is not surprising that the style varied from farm to farm, even those in the same village. As malt was taxed higher than normal grains, many farms would add a portion of un-malted barley, wheat, rye and/or spelt in the mash. Traditionally indigenous hops were used and were often aged before use, but no one variety dominated and the only commonality was the sharp bitterness imparted. The yeast is where there is the most variation, many breweries allowed for spontaneous fermentation similar to the lambics of Brussels while others began culturing their own house strain. There is even a theory that the current Dupont strain dominating the market is actually more closely related to Saccharomyces cerevisae strains used for red-wine fermentations than ale strains (Markowski, 2004). The historical use of wild and other odd yeasts led to the high attenuation, dryness, and complex ester profile being sought by today’s saison brewers.

            Today’s brewers are embracing the creativity of saisons of the past and adding their own spin to the beer. The most notable change is the gradual increase in ABV over the years, with today's versions in the 5-6% range and some even higher! Our saison includes a good percentage of wheat and rye in the grist; we sought head retention and body from the wheat and peppery and husky notes from the rye. We have also experimented with different spice additions to further add to the flavour and aroma. All of this is on top of being able to use new-world hop varietals that are bursting with tropical and stone fruit flavours. The saison is basically a blank canvas that allows the creative brewer to paint their own picture of what they believe a beer can be. Some might say that the saison is the epitome of craft beer.

Beer Judge Certification Program. (2008). BJCP Style Guidelines for Beer, Mead, & Cider. 2008 Edition.

Markowski, P. (2004). Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition. Boulder, Co: Brewers Publications.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

What's in a Name?

Who knew that the hardest part of making a beer was coming up with a name?   This was something that we found out when we were racking our brains for weeks before we settled on 'Origin'.  The very first thing that you need to ask yourself is "What's in a name?"  What I mean by that is what constitutes a good name for a beer?

There are many beers from around the world, and just as many names. The names which tend to stick with the consumer are the ones which provide some sort of emotional connection with them. This is accomplished in many ways, but how were we going to find the right name for this year's Natural Selection beer? Im going to take you through the intriguing process of coming up with 'Origin'.

The naming process began for us when the project team for 2013 was chosen all the way back in November 2012. During the very first meeting recipes, events, social media and names were all being discussed. Let me rephrase that, it wasn't so much the actual name which was being discussed, but more the theme of the name which was being discussed.  Do we stick with a Darwin/natural selection theme, such as ‘Finch’, or do we go off in a different direction and create a unique identity such as ‘Anorak’?

This was a continuous thorn in our side over the next couple of weeks. Names were thought of, but none really stuck. That was until we were all stuck in a room together on April 5 during a brew day. We decided that we would conduct a bit of a ‘naming’ exercise. Since we have a percentage of rye in our product, we thought it would be a good idea to try and work the word ‘rye’ into any popular theme we could think of….starting with Bond movies. Here are a list of names which were thought up that day (WARNING: Contains mind-blowingly awesome names):

Ryefall ©
Live and Let Rye ©
Rye Another Day ©
The Living Ryelights ©
Ryepussy ©
From Ryessia with Love ©
Ryemonds are Forever ©
Casino Ryeal ©
Tomorrow Never Ryes ©
Moonryeker ©
Thunder Rye ©
Dr. Rye ©
Ryefinger ©
You only Rye Twice ©
On Her Majesty’s Secret Rye ©
The Man With the Golden Rye ©
The Rye to a Kill ©
Quantum of Ryeace ©
The Spy Who Ryed Me ©
For Your Ryes Only ©
License to Rye ©
The Rye is Not Enough ©
Never Say Rye Again ©

After all this excitement, and multiple other pop culture references, we ended up liking the sound of Saison “Rye’al (Rhymes with Royale). This name would stick with the project for a few weeks as the trial batches began to take shape. As time wore on, we found that the name did not have the staying power that we had first assumed, and there was some disagreement among the group members as to whether we should keep it. This is by far the hardest step to push past. Getting everyone involved in the project agreeing upon something as central as the name is extremely tough. Everyone has their own ideas, their own styles which they will put forward. Personally, I thought that I had some dead on winners, but they didn’t always catch on with the other guys. It is only after you take a step back and realise that at some point everyone is going to have to concede on one topic or another, that a final name can be chosen.

It was around about April 26th that we all fell upon a name which was originally brought to our attention by Bruce’s dad, ‘Origin’. My original feeling on the name was that it was slightly tacky, and was sure that it had been used before. That being said, these are the feelings which you have to push past to get anything done in a group project of this nature. We were decided, the 2013 Natural Selection beer would be called ‘Origin’. It was only after saying the name a couple times, having it attached to the project for a couple of meetings that I realised it was perfect. It had an original feel, had a connection to the theme of the project, and just sounded damn cool. Im not sure if this is the path that other brands have followed. For all I know it could have been the path less travelled, but it was our path, and now its a path a little more trod upon.

Patrick Howell
Natural Selection Brewing

As a side note, here are some other notable names which were brought forward during this process, so you can see how widely scattered the ideas were:

Nelson's Harvest
Nelson's Reap (This was a no-go, as it sounded too much like rape)
Chuck (Short for Charles)
Plinian (a society Darwin was a member of at the University of Edinburgh)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Natural Selection Brewing is back!

Hello and Welcome to Natural Selection Brewing 2013!

Heriot-Watt’s Brewing students are back with the third incarnation of Natural Selection Brewing.

Bruce sparging the mash
The team has been working tirelessly to design the beer that will be next in line to those that have gone before. We are now pretty close to our final recipe, which is going to be a single hopped rye Saison. Delicious! We are still experimenting with hop varieties and we will let you know how that turns out but be sure to expect something that smells fantastic and is from New Zealand.

We have named our beer ‘Origin’ after Charles Darwin’s little known publication ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’. The project is continually evolving from year to year so we felt this was an appropriate name for our beer.
Charles likes his new hop beard
So far we have made an appearance at the 2013 Heriot-Watt beer festival, which was great fun. We didn’t have our recipe ready at this stage but the Anorak and Finch teams kindly gave us their recipes and we did our best to recreate them for the festival. They went down well but as we were giving it away for free it didn’t last long!

The project is really picking up pace now and all the planning we have been working towards is taking shape. The label is almost ready, beer orders are starting to come in and our events list is still growing – our launch is not to be missed! We have one of Edinburgh’s very best bands performing live at Bannermans, it will be a great night of beer and music.
Proof that beer makes you happy

This year the team is a Canadian, American and Scottish collaboration and we are all from very different backgrounds prior to our studies in brewing. We thought you all might be interested to find out more about us, so you can find our biographies below.

So that will do for now I think, please subscribe to this blog (over on the right) to keep tabs on our progress and to find out where you can get your hands on our tasty brew!


Dave Ross
Campbell Morrissy 
Patrick Howell
Bruce Smith

Team Bio's 

 Born and raised on the ruthless upper-middle class streets of suburban New Jersey, Campbell was weened on Guinness from the multitude of Irish pubs that dot the landscape. It wasn’t until he moved west to seek the great outdoors did he discover the plethora of craft beer that has made the U.S. the greatest brewing nation of all. Colorado was an excellent place to sample amazing beers. There are few greater pleasures than sipping a pint of an ultra-resiny IPA after a day of snowboarding.
Cam is a fan of hops

However he was not content with only drinking good beer and eventually talked his way into a brewery, leaving the high-energy world of environmental NGO’s behind. Eventually his thirst for knowledge led him to Edinburgh. He is excited to be working on such a unique project that will give him experience to help him to one day open his own brewery.

Outside of brewing Campbell is very passionate about the outdoors and loves spending time hiking, biking, snowboarding, and camping. He also gets very fired up about politics and loves nothing more than a good night of pints and debate. When not in the pub you can probably find him listening to the Allman Brothers while expertly cooking a dead animal. 

Patrick is considered to be one of the most handsome, intelligent, and talented people to come out of his native Canada since Terrence and Phillip. Originally from the town of Kitchener, Ontario, Patrick's love of brewing started out just like any other wildly talented young Canuck’s did, Molson Canadian. It was soon after that he found that beer has flavour and he started to explore the wonderful world of craft. The aroma, the flavour, the look, it seemed that the possibilities were endless.
Pat is a shy boy

One night, after humming his favorite bedtime song, ‘Life is a Highway’ by the great Tom Cochrane, he saw a majestic beaver and as all Canadians do when they have a rare sighting of a beaver, he wished, and wished, and wished that he could get a job at a brewery. The next day he got that job in the brewing industry at a company called Brick Brewing Company in Waterloo Ontario. He couldn’t thank the beaver enough. It was soon, however, that he found out the summer placement consisted of putting dirty, empty return bottles on a conveyor belt for 12 hours a day. It was a harsh introduction to what he thought had been a wonderful, joyous industry as shown by the great Pawtucket Pat in the documentary ‘Family Guy’.

Nonetheless, he was resolute and rose through the ranks over the next two years to become one of the full time brewers and cellarman. Loved by the local community for the affection that he showed for his new craft, Patrick put everything he could into brewing for many years.

Soon he grew weary of the monotony of brewing the same beer day after day, and yearned for more. “MORE MALT, MORE HOPS, MORE HEAD *wink*” he proclaimed. And so he set out for the far away land known as Scotland, to the International Center for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University. This was where he would learn his craft, this was where he would brew his hopes, and distill his dreams.

Patrick and the other 3 members of Natural Selection Brewing are excited to showcase their talent and provide the United Kingdom with a fantastic product. Looking forward to the product launch!!!

Patrick Howell 

Bruce is a typical guy with one exception; he spends most of his time making (or drinking) beer. Originally of Scottish decent; Bruce grew up in England and Germany before finally finding a permanent home in his motherland of bonnie Scotland. His younger years were spent at Beaconhurst High School in Bridge of Allan; academic and sporting achievements were plentiful but soon enough it was time to head out west to Glasgow to pursue a career as a Physiotherapist; or so he thought…
Gunshow tickets available now
Time passed with many a beer drank and enjoyed but none made by his own hand. That was until one fateful day when a summer vacancy appeared in his local brewpub the “Allanwater Brewhouse” and “TinPot Brewery”. There he was trained by Masterbrewer Douglas Ross in the art of craft beer. His life was changed forever and he swapped the stethoscope and acupuncture needles for malt and hops.

Now as the head brewer of this establishment and with experience in brewing everything from Scottish heather honey blondes aged in Edradour Whisky and Sauternes Wine casks to chocolate-orange infused imperial stouts, Bruce believed it was time to set out into the wider beer world.

Along with his fellow classmates Pat Howell, Campbell Morrissy and Dave Ross from the International Centre of Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University; Bruce looks to do this with Natural Selection Brewing. With all of their journeys to this point being so varied and their expertise so diverse there can be no doubt that they will be releasing one of the most exciting new beers in the summer of 2013. So come one, come all; follow their Facebook, Twitter and Blog to find out when and where you can get your hands on what will undoubtedly be a beautiful and “highly evolved” new beer!


Bruce Smith 

Dave has been a resident of Edinburgh all his life and has known Beer for many years now, a relationship which began with a teenage interest in homebrew kits. For those that don't know, these are Beer concentrates that you dilute with water and then ferment. Also readily available to those not yet of age. Excellent! This turned out to be an exceptionally inexpensive way for Dave and Beer to get to know one and other a bit better.

After fuelling a few campfire sing-songs with the results of these early brewing experiments, Dave decided that Beer kits were just not cutting it and so armed with plastic buckets, his mum's cooker and an inexhaustible naive patience, he decided to embark on the mighty all grain brewing. There was no turning back for Dave and Beer now.

After a short period working as a Drayman, Dave got the opportunity to shadow John McGarva at the Tryst Brewery, which gave him his first hands-on experience of being a brewer in the real world. John helped Dave design his own nano-brewery where he is continuing to experiment with homebrew recipes.

Dave missed a spot
Around the same time Dave met Beer he was also introduced to Drums, another relationship which has stood the test of time. Meeting Drums has led to Dave playing in bands for most of his adult life and Drums have proved to be every bit the companion that Beer has been. Neither Beer or Drums ever get jealous, in fact, Beer and Drums get on just fine even when Dave isn't around.

And so all this has led to Dave being part of the 2013 Natural Selection Brewing Team at Heriot-Watt University. Dave says, "We've got a lot to live up to! But we're determined to give it our best shot and hopefully have some fun along the way. It's a great project to be involved in, a great experience."

So there you have it. A drumming brewer. God help us.