Glasses charged for new beer



Members of the Heriot-Watt Team. (L-R) Elizabeth Machin, Caitriona McAleese, Megan Byrne, Professor Rachel Sutherland, Katrina Stewart and Grace Robson. Front row (L-R) Bhaswatee Hazarika, Kim Berkhuizen and Tina Williford.

An all-female team of brewery students and staff from Heriot-Watt are raising a glass this week after creating a new craft beer.

On Friday, 25th May, the new drink, called Rhubarb: A User's Guide, will be unveiled at the Edinburgh Beer Craft Festival giving lucky patrons the chance to be the first to sample the limited edition brew.

Throughout history, women have been involved in the production of beer and at Heriot-Watt we are delighted to further that tradition

Professor Rachel Sutherland

It came about thanks to community-based brewery called Earth Station whose founder, Jenn Merrick, wanted to celebrate the imagination and  endeavour of female brewers. In total, 30 women from across the UK, including industry-leading brewers, joined forces with the higher education sector to carry out the ambitious project.

This included 10 staff and students from Heriot-Watt led by course tutor Assistant Brewing Professor Rachel Sutherland who explained: “This has been a fantastic project to be involved with and we are all very proud of the beer we helped to produce.  It was an exciting opportunity for our female students to collaborate with some of the leading female figures within the craft beer industry.

“The brewing industry is thought of as being male dominated but that's no longer the case. Throughout history, women have been involved in the production of beer and at Heriot-Watt we are delighted to further that tradition.”

Rhubarb: A User's Guide was brewed at Pressure Drop distillery in London and available to buy through the independent breweries Pressure Drop Taproom and Honest Brew. It will also be on sale at three beer festivals across the UK over the summer and autumn.

Rhubarb: A User's Guide is a Berliner Weisse style beer produced by kettle souring.  As with normal beer production, wort is run to the kettle but, prior to boiling, it is cooled and pitched with a bacteria, called Lactobacillus, to increase its acidity and make the beer sour. 

Once the desired level of 'sourness' is reached, it is boiled to kill off the bacteria before it is fermented with the desired yeast strain.  The resulting beer has a pleasant tartness that is a refreshing thirst quencher.

Jenn Merrick founder of Earth Station, said: “It was such an inspiring day to see so many women who contribute to the craft beer industry all in one place, making a beer that drew on the skills of these industry leaders and connecting them with the next generation of brewers.”

After appearing at the Edinburgh Beer Festival (25th-28th May), the team will be taking their unique product to beer festivals in London (3rd-5th August) and Bristol (14th-16th September).

For tickets to the Edinburgh Beer Festival please visit here.

For media enquiries contact:

Craig McManamon

Communications Officer

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh, EH14 4AS

Tel: 0131 451 8099