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Darwin's ale is top of the hops; SCIENTIST CELEBRATED.

Byline: By NICOLA JUNCAR Education Reporter

WHAT better way to celebrate a British genius than with a pint?

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the pioneering scientist Charles Darwin.

To mark the occasion, organisers behind the Newcastle ScienceFest 2009 have produced Natural Selection, a pale ale where the ingredients have all been carefully chosen to illustrate Darwin's legacy.

Staff from Newcastle's Centre for Life came up with the idea of the commemorative beer.

Linda Conlon, chief executive of Life and director of the Newcastle ScienceFest, said: "What better vehicle to engage the public in some of the practical implications of Darwin's work?

"Beer is an excellent example of both natural selection and selective breeding.

"Since the days of the first primitive beers, brewers have selected and modified hops and barley, and chosen from evolving strains of yeasts to produce the best tasting ales and beers."

The Centre for Life teamed up with the Darwin Brewery in Sunderland, which is owned by three micro-biologists, to produce the beer.

The brewery, established in 1994, has grown from beginnings at Brewlab at Sunderland University, to become one of the most respected microbreweries in the north.

An initial brew of 3,000 bottles of the new beer will be on sale in the region with more brews evolving through 2009. Dr Keith Thomas, from Darwin Brewery, said: "Traditional beers are very flexible foods, mixing flavours from their different ingredients and changing subtly as drinkers evolve their tastes.

"There are thousands of strains of brewing yeast producing many varieties of beer."

The beer has been paid by the Newcastle ScienceFest 2009, a 10-day celebration of science running from March 6 to 15.

As part of the festival, an event called "Natural Selection Beer - Talk and Taste" will be held at the Centre for Life where people can sample the beer and learn how it evolved.

Other events to celebrate the work of Darwin are being held.

A programme of Darwin200 events and activities is planned to take place throughout the year and includes lectures, exhibitions and family days.

The talk and taste event is at the centre on March 11 from 6.30pm.

To find out more about it, or any of the other events in Newcastle ScienceFest, log on to www.life.org.uk

CAPTION(S):

CHEERS: Linda Conlon, Centre for Life chief executive, with Ian Simmons, the science communications director, and Andy Lloyd, left, special projects manager
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 12, 2009
Words:407
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