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Rhubarb-growing astrophysicist sends beer into ... Waitrose

Published:  09 September, 2015

A home-brewing Cambridge astrophysicist is to have a beer go on sale in Waitrose after winning a competition run by Derbyshire craft brewer Thornbridge.

Will Alston, 29, who researches black holes for a living at Cambridge University's Institute Of Astronomy, came up with Rhubarbe de Saison for the contest infusing the saison pale ale style of rural France with rhubarb grown on his own allotment.

A commercial version of the recipe will now made by Thornbridge and bottles will go on sale in branches of Waitrose next month at £2.50 a time.

The competition was run by Thornbridge with Waitrose and the home brewing supplier Brew UK.

Alston said: "I love food and enjoy growing things in my allotment and home-brewing just seemed a natural extension to this. My approach to brewing is to try and match a style as closely as possible, then add my own twists.

"I have a very basic all?grain set up which means you have to work harder to get good results but also allows you to be more involved with the process."

Rob Lovatt, Thornbridge's head brewer added: "Will's beer was a very worthy winner - a refreshing easy-drinking beer with complex flavours that came together well, showing great skill in the brewing process.

"We've never brewed anything like this before so we've been really excited at the brewery to be involved in making this winning recipe."

Waitrose beer buyer Kate Prall said speciality beer sales are up 34% over the past year for the supermarket.

She added: "The competition mirrors the increasing interest in beer in the UK.

"The love and care that is given to the beers is tangible and it is a great credit to all those who entered the competition that judging a winner was so very difficult.

"You can really taste the rhubarb in Will's ale. It is fruity but without being sweet as the rhubarb gives a slight tartness to the overall taste."