To Boldly Go Where No Beer Has Gone Before

By Dirk Hanson 05/17/11

Zero-gravity suds: a budding field of academic study.

A new space race?
Photo via freakingnews

Jason Held and Jaron Mitchell think it’s time to put a beer on the moon. Well, not necessarily the moon—they think it’s time to put some brewskies in orbit. The Aussie entrepreneurs, their attention fixed firmly on a future of space tourism, are developing a brew that you can take with you on your orbital vacation. “It’s going to be the first beer that will be specifically designed to be drunk in zero gravity,” said Jaron Mitchell, owner of the 4 Pines Brewing Company. Working with space engineering firm Saber Astronautics, Mitchell has developed a prototype—the Vostok 4 Pines Stout—artfully designed to get around certain space technicalities. In zero gravity, as it turns out, “your face puffs out a little bit, your tongue swells up a little bit—it’s not extreme, but kind of like having a bad head cold,” partner Jason Held told Reuters. “So we wanted to have a flavor that would be strong enough, that would punch through that.” The duo tested their prototype in a zero gravity flight over Florida. Held said the test subjects had a spot of trouble getting the beer out of the container—“there is no gravity pulling the liquid down”—and he has plans to redesign the beer receptacle.

"Wherever humans have journeyed or conquest to throughout history in the last few thousand years, we first worry about water, food, shelter and clothing," Jaron Mitchell, the founder of Four Pines, told the Perth Sunday Times. "In many cases beer is the next consideration soon after the above four."

We applaud the effort, but as the resident buzz killers, we must caution that humans metabolize alcohol differently in zero gravity, and nobody really knows what getting completely tanked in space would be like. Low-gravity drinking is not yet a respected academic field of study. But rumor has it that the Russians are gaining on us, so….

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]