Commercial space flight is a booming industry around the world these days and usually the brilliant scientists and engineers who work in the field are more concerned with producing heavy launch vehicles, human capsules that are safety ensured, zero-gravity docking procedures and building space ports. However, one craft brewer from Sydney, Australia and an American aeronautical engineer are asking - What will we drink in space?
To help answer that question they have crafted the world's first craft beer, specifically engineered for space travel. Jason Held (the NASA engineer who's worked on the Hubble Telescope) and Jaron Mitchell (who owns the 4 Pines Brewpub in Sydney Australia) have created that science fiction dream dubbed the "Vostok 4 Pines Stout" (Vostok after the rocket that took the first man into space).
This brew is unlike any other stout that the world has ever seen. The stout is described as a high-flavor, low carbonation traditional Irish style stout, which a creamy head and notes of caramel and chocolate to finish. However, those aren't the unique parts.
It has been specifically crafted for a zero/low-gravity environments to handle certain issues that come with drinking carbonated beverages in space. One issue is the intensely chaotic launch process - a process most glass six-packs aren't made to handle. Next is how to drink liquids in space - being that most space liquids so far have come in powder form, have been non-alocholic and taste dull (mostly due to your partial-taste-bud-shutdown in 0-gravity) . Finally, the biggest thing to worry about - burping from all that carbonation. Burping in space wouldn't result in just a pleasantly, disgusting noise, but would also be accompanied by a non-pleasant regurgitation of liquid. Picture having to avoid throw-up floating around your space station.
They have passed two major tests recently while being served on a 0-gravity flight by the company Astronauts4Hire. The results - human alcohol absorption is normal at 0-gravity and NO WET BURPS! They are currently only releasing the Vostok nationally in Australia - so us American craft beer space nerds will have to wait - and we're not the only ones. Even though they've passed several zero-gravity tests, no low earth orbit space agency - commercial or private - has expressed any interest in the brew yet. But if you can afford a zero-gravity plane flight anytime in the near future, then you may have the privilege of ordering a Vostok from the flight attendant. The rest of us will just have to settle for drinking it at regular gravity here on the surface.
Craft beer: To infinity and beyond! Cheers to you 4 Pines!
Check out the 4 Pines website: http://vostokspacebeer.com/