Newcastle University student brewery launches first ale after beer taste survey

OverDraught ale goes on sale at the university and certain pubs after campus survey of tastes in beers

Andy Thorpe and Naomi Gray
Andy Thorpe and Naomi Gray

For a beer brewed by students, the name was right on the money.

The first ale from Newcastle University’ student-run microbrewery, StuBrew, has been christened OverDraught.

The brewery, managed by students for students through Newcastle University Students’ Union, has produced 800 pints of the India Pale Ale which will be available at venues across the campus, and external pubs and bars such as the Crow’s Nest and Trent House.

The beer is being launched following focus groups and taster sessions with students, which helped refine OverDraught’s recipe.

Anawat Tarr, co-president of Stu Brew, said: “It’s been a long and challenging journey to set up the brewery, obtain the licensing and gear up for production. But seeing the tangible results from the efforts of so many people is very gratifying.

“Producing OverDraught wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of all the students involved in Stu Brew.”

StuBrew has been helped by Rise Up, the university careers service support programme for student and graduate entrepreneurs.

Zelda Mendelowitz, co-president of Stu Brew, said: “We are very excited about the launch, and hope people will enjoy OverDraught. It has brought together over 200 students who have helped guide the microbrewery enterprise, develop recipes, brew and cask beers, and through market research and academic projects linked to the brewery.”

Launched in August 2013, the student-run brewery became one of only 25 environmental and sustainability initiatives in the UK to have been given the go-ahead following a £269,341 funding through the National Union of Students’ Green Fund.

Stu Brew was set up as a Student Community Action Newcastle (SCAN) scheme, which has been supported to establish sustainability projects as a part of the Green Fund initiative.

From left: Andy Thorpe, Harriet Thresh, Naomi Gray, Charlie Read, Anawat Tarr and Zelda Mendelowitz
From left: Andy Thorpe, Harriet Thresh, Naomi Gray, Charlie Read, Anawat Tarr and Zelda Mendelowitz

All sales profits will be invested back into training and development for students and overall long-term sustainability of the enterprise.

Red Kellie, SCAN project coordinator at Newcastle University Students’ Union, said: “The positive reaction and interest in the brew are a reflection of the commitment of the student volunteers, and I wish them every success in their venture.

“Students are involved in every aspect of the business, from label design to sourcing great hops, and from online promotion to bottling up the finished product. They have conducted their own market research, secured trademarks and designed the labels themselves.”

Marek Tokarski, entrepreneurial development officer at Newcastle University careers service, said: “It’s great to see the vision, hard work and persistence of the team involved with Stu Brew come to fruition. They’ve overcome a number of challenges and it’s a significant achievement for them to launch such a novel business on campus. They have exciting times ahead as they implement plans to move the business forward.”

Stu Brew has been established in partnership with the university’s School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, and acts as a research unit for sustainable brewery design, seeking to become an example of good environmental practice in the brewing field.

Many of the students work closely with academics from the school, while some of them are involved with the brewery as part of their academic studies.

The brewery venture is designed with sustainability at its heart. Hops are to be grown on student allotments and the brewing process uses an energy efficient hot water and cooling system which re-uses hot water to avoid more cold water having to be heated.

The student brewers send spent malt to Cockle Park, one of Newcastle University’s farms, for use as pig feed and hops residue is composted on the allotments. They are in the process of buying hops, to enable them to grow their own hops long-term.

In 2014, Stu Brew was part of an award-winning garden exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show, highlighting a national Students Eats project which encourages students to grow their own produce and take on allotments.

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