By Christopher McCollum
Last year, fellow Culture of Spirits writer Micah A. Hanks wrote an article about Japanese brewing company Sapporo’s efforts to produce beer from space-grown ingredients. The rising popularity of the notion of future space tourism will indicate, for some, the next gold mine in fields that are wishing to prosper… beer should be included among these, also. After all, who would want to take a trip to space without the ability to enjoy a cold one along the way?
Space.com reported Monday that the Australian non-profit space organization Astronauts4Hire will perform a series of tests on a beer developed and brewed by Sydney’s 4 Pines Brewing and Saber Astronautics Australia. The goal of the research is to test the sustainability and drinkability of the beer in space, and the tests being done by Astronauts4Hire will include taste tests as well as the physiological affects that come from drinking it in a zero-gravity environment.
On an interesting note, the International Space Station has a strict no-alcohol policy, so until that policy is changed, none of the hardest working men and women in space will be allowed to cap off their work day with a frosty container of Earth’s finest. However, when the great vacuum above finally becomes accessible to the public, one can indeed expect that there will be a great demand for the creature comforts that everyone is used to back home. Whether it be my own preference of a brick-oven pizza with a pitcher of a micro-brewed pale ale, or another’s preference for caviar with a bottle of Dom Perignon (a more likely scenario, if we are to base judgment on the estimated ticket prices for civilian space travel), there will be a need for a little something more than the dehydrated pasta and granola bars that our astronauts have grown accustomed to.
Imagine this, though: Through the use of pressure, a pitcher of beer is successfully filled by a tap… but then the beer floats out of the pitcher and off down the corridor before a lid can be placed on it. This may begin an all-new great Space Race of our time, to be the first to provide an environment where passengers and crews alike breast-stroke their way through the shuttle, playing a very quirky zero-gravity game of guzzle the beer (which might almost resemble bobbing for apples here on Earth). Or, perhaps more likely, passengers will hold out their glasses to collect a filling of the beer as it floats by, and then quickly cap their containers before it floats away. Either way, it would be a very entertaining method of service, and definitely one that I would want to participate in.
Image by Katie Lips via Flickr.