food & drink

The popularity of student brews is good for you

Students are plagued with news about the dangers of drinking but across the nation students are taking matters into their own hands.

Students are plagued with news about the dangers of drinking but across the nation students are taking matters into their own hands. Better yet, they could be improving their health along the way!

Firstly, let’s clear up some of the bad rep surrounding beer. It’s not all beer bellies and bad hangovers. Many studies are now proclaiming the countless health benefits of drinking beer. The natural ingredients in a good brew which can help your body include essential amino acids, antioxidants and fibre.

Research has shown that drinking beer can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, kidney stones, and even some forms of cancer. It can also aid weight loss, and increase your levels of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid. Some studies are even suggesting that beer drinkers can live longer than those preferring wine and spirits.

Different brews contain different ingredients, and by looking through the studies available it would seem that dark beers are the most beneficial. They contain more antioxidants and higher levels of iron, compared to lighter beers. So next time you’re considering a brew, why not steer away from a pale ale and consider picking up a rich stout instead?

A beer a day…

Obviously, this is based on responsible drinking, and most of these studies worked with around one pint of average strength beer a day. Push this intake upwards, and you start to lose the health benefits and enter the danger zone of binge drinking. The recommended daily intake for women is 2-3 units, and for men 3-4 units. According to the NHS, regularly exceeding the daily recommendation can increase the risk of many diseases.

For an easy comparison, a regular pint of beer clocks in at 2.3 units, so more than one will be tipping the scale into binge drinking territory. Do this regularly, and you are increasing the risk of throat cancer, breast cancer, liver disease and pancreatitis. Excessive drinking can also increase blood pressure, cause strokes, and reduce fertility. So think carefully before pouring that extra pint.

Students hop in with their own brews

Back in January, a team of students from Reading University’s Real Ale Society created the Extra Curricular ale. In a town soaked in rich brewing traditions, the students worked with local micro-brewery, Sherfield Village Brewery, to create their own beer. The Extra Curricular ale made its way into the university’s student bars and local Reading pubs.

Now, students at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have joined the craft beer trend with their own British IPA. IPA (or India Pale Ale) is a brew known for its high hop content, which originated from England in the 19th century. Yet recent trends have seen a popularity in the use of hops from the US, Australia and New Zealand. These foreign hops tend to have a more intense flavour which has thrived throughout micro-breweries worldwide.

The Natural Selection Brewing team, with Steward Brewing Company, created a truly British IPA, using exclusively British hop varieties. Taking a British classic, they’ve given it a modern twist while staying true to our home grown ingredients.

Why not see if your university offers a chance to work with a local brewery, or take a chance on a home-brew kit? Pour a pint, take a sip, and enjoy those cancer beating antioxidants!

What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.