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Platform Tavern in Southampton brews special unfreezable beer for scientists at the South Pole
9:52am Thursday 11th October 2012 in News
Brewers in Southampton have invented a special beer that can withstand the coldest place on Earth - the South Pole.
Unlike normal ales, the drink is designed to retain its flavour after being frozen in temperatures of minus 89 degrees celsius.
As many as 20 pints are due to be shipped 10,000 miles to the Southernmost continent this week for engineers and scientists working there.
The team from the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre, based in Southampton, will be conducting research at Subglacial Lake Ellsworth for three months.
Members asked if it was possible the brew could be made by their local pub the Platform Tavern, after hearing it had a microbrewery.
They wanted a special pint for their hard work - but it would have to survive the long and freezing journey to the Antarctic.
The ale, called Pole-Axed, is currently being dispensed into plastic bottles, which will then have the air squeezed out of them.
The process allows the liquid to expand when frozen and prevents the vital gas from escaping.
After it reaches its destination it will be kept safe until Christmas Day when the team will drink it as part of their celebrations.
Aidan Lavin and Stewart Cross developed the drink at the Platform Tavern's Dancing Man Brewery.
The pair spent a painstaking month fermenting the beer, which is based on a 200-year-old Indian Pale Ale.
Aidan, 32, said: "The beer had to withstand the a long journey and freezing temperatures so we agreed it must be strong.
"We looked at 200-year-old IPA recipes for inspiration because those beers were created to survive being exported all the way to India.
"Our final recipe includes special hops that have been imported from America, which give it a fruity taste.
"It took 10 hours to brew and then we left it for a month to ferment, during that time I had to check it every day to make sure it was right."
He added: "When it was finished we let the guys from the NOC test it and it went down really well. We're really pleased with the result."
Rob Brown, from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, is one of the team who will be enjoying the beer in Antarctica.
The engineer said: "The project at Lake Ellsworth is extremely big so a beer will be well deserved at the end of it.
"We've never asked a brewer to do this kind of thing before but we thought it would be a nice idea."
Due to its success, Pole-Axed will also go on sale in The Platform Tavern as well as off-licences in Southampton at £4 a bottle.