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