Barley Mowat 

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Where No Man Has Drunk Before

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Sharon saw this little guy come in over the wire and figured I’d be interested. She was right:

You see, in addition to being a massive beer geek, I am also a massive space geek (by both definitions of massive… bit of space geek humour there for ya… OK, I’ll stop that now). So does it follow that I’m a massive space beer geek?

Seems some guys down under (4 Pines Brewing Company) have set upon the crazy idea of brewing a beer specifically designed to be consumed in space. In additional to gaining a penchant for doing mid-air somersaults, there are also some unique physiological issues that come with spending loads of time in microgravity. Among other inconveniences, all that excess fluid that tends to pool at the bottom of your various internal cavities no longer has such good sense, and decides to go for a bit of a walk about.

That has some rather humorous side affects. For instance, this is why all International Space Station residents have a puffy face and sound like they have a perpetual head cold. With that comes a swollen tongue and a lack of taste sensitivity, which explains why the MRE packs up there come in “Spicy”, “Very Spicy”, and “Hell Fire” varieties: it’s the only way to actually taste something. Sorry guys, the CafĂ© De Low Orbit doesn’t actually have shit food; it’s just you.

Now that we have the background out of the way, I’ll put on my usual cranky demeanour and call this an absolutely crock of a publicity stunt. I highly doubt any of this “Space Beer” will ever make its way into space. For one, getting shit to the ISS is fucking expensive. The last number I heard was around $21,000 per pound. I mean, I love beer, but when a 20oz pint of stout breaks the $20,000 mark (just for delivery) I seriously start looking at fermenting my own urine instead. Of course, that assumes the ISS hadn’t already laid claim to it to run the fuel cells. Seriously, getting stuff up there is so expensive they’re reusing your PISS (and then reusing it again after that… and after that… and, well, you get the idea).

Getting stuff on a suborbital flight is a bit cheaper, as Virgin plans to exploit, but even then we’re looking at $100,000-150,000 per person, and I’ll bet the carry-on restrictions make TSA look like stoned college kids… uh… more? I guess? The second issue with suborbital flights is that they are short. Like 15 minutes short, and not all of that is weightless. In 15m the only liquid relocation issues you might have is a bit of vomit, so you’ll be tasting things exactly as you would with two feet planted solidly on terra firma.

Of course, all these silly “facts” have no place in a big PR stunt, so the brewers went to Florida and rented time on the commercial version of the “Vomit Comet” to test their product out. It makes for a great press release, but even in one flight the assembled press couldn’t help but notice the difficulties encountered in trying to actually consume their product. Here’s a hint guys, use a squeeze tube next time.

As a PR stunt this seems to have worked. Google helpfully suggests 4 Pines Brewing first when you search for Space Beer, and hell, here I am–a beer blog in Canada–talking about it. So, congrats to our visionary brewers. You’ve made a stout that very likely tastes gord-awful, and knowing what I do about amping up stout flavours, I’ll bet it’s in the direction of Caribbean Malta drinks. Seriously, has anyone had any of those things? Fuck me.

Written by chuck

June 28th, 2011 at 11:15 am

Posted in Beer and You,Beers

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