Students on Tyneside were celebrating yesterday after the first ale produced by their own university micro-brewery was part of an award-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Last year The Journal reported on the launch of the environmenally-friendly Stu Brew brewery at Newcastle University.
Recently, the students worked under the guidance of Allendale Brewery in Northumberland to create their first beer - an Indian Pale Ale.
Now bottles of the beer, called Inauguration Ale, feature in the National Union of Student’s garden at Chelsea, which has won a sliver gilt award.
The garden highlights the NUS Students Eats project, which encourages students to grow their own produce and take on allotments.
The Newcastle University students operate an allotment at Nuns Moor in the city to grow produce which sells in student green markets on campus.
At the Christmas market, Stu Brew carried out a survey on what kinds of beers were most favoured by students.
The allotment, brewery and markets projects are run under a scheme by the charity Student Community Action Newcastle (SCAN), as part of the NUS Student Green Fund programme.
SCAN has been awarded £270,000 over two years by the Student Green Fund, financed by the Higher Education Funding Council.
More than 120 bottles of the ale were also provided for a reception at the House of Lords to showcase projects nationally from the first year of the Student Green Fund programme.
It was hosted by Northumberland’s Lord Redesdale, a Newcastle University graduate who was a volunteer with SCAN.
“There were a lot of positive comments about the ale from the House of Lords event,” said SCAN support worker Red Kellie, who graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in environmental protection.
“The brewery will be run on sustainable lines in terms of energy and water use and will be as green as possible.
“We are also promoting the message of sensible drinking. It’s about enjoying the product.”
Spent malt will go to the university farm at Cockle Park in Northumberland for pig food and hops residue to the allotment for composting.
Next month the 2.5 barrel micro-brewery will be set up in the university’s Chemical Engineering Department building.
The department will be use the brewery operation in its teaching and research work.
Ales from the brewery will go on sale in the Newcastle University students’ union.
The SCAN programme also includes a guerilla gardening project in which students join community groups to improve neglected locations.
An orchard has been planted at the SCAN site in Rupert’s Wood on the Redesdale estate, which will also be used as a base for bee keeping.
Hives have already been set up at the Nuns Moor allotment.
SCAN also has a £20,000 green fund to which community and youth groups can apply to help fund projects.