Natural Selection Brewing is a programme involving five MSc students at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, Heriot-Watt University. the brainchild of Professor David quain and steve and jo Stewart, Natural Selection is a collaborative effort between the students and Stewart Brewing company, who kindly let us brew at their brewery and help instil some knowledge, giving us a leg up in the brewing industry.

The programme is designed as a hands-on dissertation project, with the team being tasked with developing, branding, marketing and selling a beer in Edinburgh and the UK. Described by an alumni as 'more phoenix than a cuckoo brewing project', the team and beer style changes each year. To date we have seen a red ale called 'Finch', a summer wheat beer named 'Anorak', and a New World Saison called 'Origin'.

Ben, Jonny, Amaey, Doug, and Craig represent year number four. with expectations set high by our predecessors, it’s our turn to show you what we can do. It’s been a long road. we have spent six months trialling and perfecting this beer; a composition of the best of British hops.

Natural Selection Brewing 2014 Proudly Presents 'Mutiny on the Beagle'.

See our history here

On the 2nd October 1836 The HMS Beagle finally returned to Britain along with the young naturalist Charles Darwin. Darwin had spent the majority of the past 5 years exploring the plants and wildlife of South America, the Galapagos and Australia, collecting specimens and making detailed observations that would ultimately lead to his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Not long after the Beagle returned to Britain, other ships carrying returning colonials landed on shores across the country with a new found thirst for a particular style of beer, the India Pale Ale. There are many misconceptions about the exact history of IPA but one thing that is for certain is that its popularity was as great as it was wide-spread during Darwin’s lifetime. By the 1840s almost every brewery in the UK, including many in Edinburgh, had their own version of the style.

Taking this all into consideration we decided to brew an IPA that was classic in its inspiration but modern in its interpretation. Instead of focussing on the hops of the New World, the world that Darwin himself visited, we decided to focus on the hops of home. We imagined a young Charles Darwin, who claimed to “abhor the sea and all ships which sail on it” longing to return home to Britain, fed up with Captain FitzRoy and his incessant quest for New World hops. So tired of his Captain’s obsession we pictured Darwin turning the crew against FitzRoy and setting sail back to Britain.

The Mutiny on the Beagle never actually happened but the legacy of the India Pale Ale in Britain and the world still lives on. The majority of IPAs produced on these shores today are stuffed full of hops from the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and for good reason. The flavours and intensity these hops lend to the style has kept a new wave of beer drinkers satisfied for the past 5 years. However, within this new market many have not had the opportunity to try what we can produce on our own soils. We wanted to challenge ourselves and challenge the beer drinking public to try something new, and so we produced the style they know best with hops that many have never experienced.

For 5 months we worked with countless varieties of UK hops to try and squeeze the best out of what this country has to offer. We won’t lie, it wasn’t always plain sailing and at times we almost threw in the towel and gave into the allure of the New World hops. By choosing modern British hop varieties from the past 20 years, including this year’s developmental hop from Charles Faram, we were able to produce a beer that had flavours that were reminiscent of the IPA we know and love, but that was still distinctly British. This beer serves as a tribute to the hop farmers of Kent, and to Charles Darwin who lived in Kent until his death in 1882.

Mutiny on the Beagle is British Style IPA brewed exclusively with British hop varieties.

Malt: Pale and Caramalt

Bittering hops: Pilgrim

Aroma Hops: First Gold, Admiral

Dry Hops: First Gold, Admiral, and developmental variety #1391 (olicana)

Colour: Burnt orange with a long lasting white head

Aroma: Marmalade, Spice, Toffee malts, and lime peel

Flavour: Initial flavours of bitter oranges and juicy strawberries gives way to familiar resin and pine notes and a unique lime cordial note that carries on until the next sip. The malt backbone is clean with some toffee flavours with the beer finishing dry with a smooth, crisp bitterness.

OG: 1.056

FG: 1.011

ABV: 5.8%

IBU (Theoretical): 37

Colour: 14

Hannah Christina

Illustrator/Maker of things - Born in the cold of Norway, Moved across the water and raised in Scotland and for the time being residing in the warmer climates of the South West of England.

My Style / the way I enjoy working is in any method that keeps my hands busy, from detailed line work and sewing to block printing and knitting.

I love working on anything and everything surrounding the themes of the sea, and after spending time in both South Africa and Australia it has become a reoccurring subject in my work. The brief and background story for ‘Mutiny on the Beagle’ IPA interested me a great deal and allowed me to take a different approach on the theme of being caught out at sea. I really enjoyed working on the waves and symmetry of the label. My style is usually very detailed and to a larger scale, so it was a welcome challange to work my line drawings into a beer label.


Hannah Christina
Hannah Christina

Full list of stockists

See a full list of Bottle Shops and Bars which sell our beer.



WED 9: Official Beer Launch - Summerhall Courtyard, 6-11pm

THURS 10: Scottish Real Ale Festival (Trade Day), 12-4pm.

Oddbins Bruntsfield tasting, 6:30-8:30pm

FRI 11: Cornelius tasting, 5-7pm

Oddbins Elm Row tasting, 5-7pm

SAT 12: Vino Wines Comiston Rd tasting, 5-7pm,

Oddbins Queensferry St. tasting, 5-7pm

SUN 13: Vino Broughton St. tasting, 2:30-4:30pm

Vino Stockbridge tasting, 5-7pm

MON 14: Twitter Tasting, 7:30pm

WED 16: Newcastle Meet the Brewer, The Free Trade Inn, 5-9pm

THURS 17: GLASGOW Oddbins Mitchell Street, 5-6:15pm,

Oddbins Charing Cross, 5-6:15pm

Oddbins Shawlands, 6:45-8:00pm

Oddbins Hyndlands 6:45-8:00pm

Drygate Meet the Brewer, from 8pm

FRI 18: Limited Edition FitRoy's Reserve released - Tastings at:

Great Grog, Cork and Cask, and Appelation Wines, all 5-7pm

SAT 19: Luvians Bottle Shop tasting, St. Andrews, 4-5pm

Meet the Brewer, St. Andrews Brew Co. 7:30pm

WED 23: Pub Quiz at Mathers, Queensferry St. 8-11pm

WED 30: Edinburgh Meet the Brewer at the Hanging Bat, 7pm.

Tickets: available here

The Blog

Keep upto date with the latest news and events from Natural Selection Brewing

Where can I find Bitter Descent?

We're as keen as you are to see our beer pouring on cask and keg! The beer has all been distributed, although it will vary from place to place when the keg or cask will be tapped - follow us on twitter to keep up to date, Otherwise, a full list of stockists below.

Contact Us

Email: naturalselectionbrewing@gmail.com

Sales: dulcie thomson - 07548073460


Stewart Brewing, 26a Dryden Road
Bilston Glen Ind Estate
EH20 9LZ

Twitter: @NatrlSelectBrew

Facebook: Natural Selection Brewing

Instagram: NaturalSelectionBrewing

thanks to the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and Stewart Brewing