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Forget flowers! Is the key to a great garden beer?

Stu Bru Inaugural IPAFlower show judges have proven what what drinkers have known for years – that the key to good gardening isn’t begonias or bushes, but beer.

Students from Newcastle University’s new Stu Bru microbrewery sent 120 bottles of their first ale, Inaugural IPA, to London as part of the National Union of Student’s entry to the Chelsea Flower Show.

And clearly the beer – brewed under the watchful eye of Northumberland’s Allendale Brewery – worked its magic on the usually stuffy horticultural officials as the NUS display won a silver gilt award.

“It was great to have the Stu Bru team come and brew with us,” said Allendale’s head brewer Neil Thomas, who oversaw the creation of the “garden beer,” which is made with Simcoe and Nelson Sauvin hops.

“They really mucked in and showed a lot of enthusiasm for the brewing process and had some great ideas for their first beer, without going over the top. As a result they have produced a really good quality IPA.”

Following its appearance as part of the NUS Student Eats project garden, a further 120 bottles of Stu Bru’s beer were provided for a reception in the House of Lords – hosted by Northumberland’s Lord Redesdale – that showcased schemes from across Britian that had benefited from Student Green Fund backing.

“There were a lot of positive comments about the ale,” SCAN support worker Red Kellie said.

Stu Bru was founded in August last year after the charity Student Community Action Newcastle (SCAN) was awarded £270,000 over two years by the Student Green Fund, which is financed by the Higher Education Funding Council.

The enterprise’s aim is to create a sustainable brewery run by students, with spent malt going to the university farm at Cockle Park in Northumberland for pig food, and hops residue sent to the SCAN allotment for composting.

Next month its 2.5 barrel microbrewery will be installed in the university’s chemical engineering department, with academics also using the equipment in its teaching and research work.

And it is hoped that ales from the brewery will soon go on sale in the Newcastle University Students’ Union.

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