Brewing beer from barley grown on the space station and dunking meteorites in wine may sound like cheap gimmicks to boost sales, but there can often be some cool science (or at least valuable public outreach) benefits to meddling with space age alcoholic beverages. But can brewing beer with moon dust have any impact on taste? According to a Delaware-based brewery, of course it does! Plus, if you drink their “Celest-jewel-ale,” you’re guaranteed a thoroughly spaced-out experience.
Dogfish Head released their small-batch stellar brew in celebration of the fall equinox in September. But to make their ale extra-special, they acquired ground-up lunar material from meteorites.
“Celest-jewel-ale is made with lunar meteorites that have been crushed into dust, then steeped like tea in a rich, malty Oktoberfest,” the brewery wrote on its company website. “These certified moon jewels are made up primarily of minerals and salts, helping the yeast-induced fermentation process and lending this traditional German style a subtle but complex earthiness. (Or is it mooniness?)”
While I’m skeptical that lunar rock dust will have any significant impact on the brewing process, like the Hutcheon’s Tremonte Vineyard’s meteorite-infused Cabernet Sauvignon “Meteorito,” just the simple inclusion of anything that has come from space will be enough to get their product into the limelight. And besides, who wouldn’t want to drink a pint that has mingled with the dust from billions of years of solar system evolution?
For extra Brownie points, Dogfish Head went one step further with this effort.
“Our friends up the road at ILC Dover, a company that creates space suits for NASA, helped us get this unique and incredibly rare ingredient (the meteorites),” the company added. “We also used German malts and hops, and fermented this beer with our house Doggie yeast, giving Celest-jewel-ale notes of doughy malt, toasted bread, subtle caramel and a light herbal bitterness.”
ILC Dover also designed possibly the most hi-tech beer koozies on the planet.
On top of the lunar meteorites, ILC is making sure this is the best-protected beer on the planet with koozies made from the same material as their space suits. The outer layer is Orthofabric, which is specially woven to have white Gore-Tex PTFE on the exterior and Nomex with a Kevlar ripstop on the interior. The Gore-Tex is slippery to prevent friction between parts of the suit during movement and facilitate mobility. Its color also limits the absorption of solar energy.
These koozies can therefore withstand temperatures ranging from +250 to -250 degrees Fahrenheit, shield against micrometeorites flying at 10 miles per second, repel solar radiation and perform in the rigors of the vacuum of space. (In some of the pubs I’ve frequented, such tough protection may seem like justifiable insurance.) These over-engineered beverage insulators are therefore strictly a limited edition; only 10 exist. Dogfish Head are therefore not letting their koozies leave the bar (and you can only use them if you hand over your license on ordering a brew).
So, as we wait for bona fide space beer — i.e. beer actually brewed in space — there’s always Celest-jewel-ale. Let’s just hope the hangover isn’t as stellar as the beer.
Image credit: NASA (moon), iStock (beer glass), edit by Ian O’Neill/Discovery News