THERE WILL BE BEER I N SPACE
The first low-earth-orbit hotel, Aurora Station, aims to welcome space tourists by 2022. Though the unbuilt four-guest luxury hotel has countless technical hurdles ahead, one vacation amenity is covered: the beer. Jaron Mitchell, co-founder of Australia’s 4 Pines Brewing, saw the growing interest in space tourism in 2010 and began developing a recipe to satisfy travellers in microgravity. ‘The challenges are carbonation, taste, and pouring,’ says Mitchell. Because there’s no up in microgravity to direct carbonation, a terrestrial beer will separate into large beer-covered bubbles that result in uncomfortable wet burps. And astronauts have reported a dulled sense of taste, so the beer had to impress blunted palates. 4 Pines settled on an amplified Irish-style stout, rich with heavily roasted barley, that still felt and tasted like great beer with minimal carbonation. Next, 4 Pines partnered with Saber Astronautics to create the first beer bottle for space. ‘With no gravity to pour, beer is stuck in a bottle from surface tension,’ says Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics. Astronauts use squeezable bags and straws to drink, but Saber and 4 Pines wanted to recreate the experience of drinking from a bottle. Taking a technology used in fuel tanks, Saber put a wicking insert in the bottle that pulls the liquid out, and tested it in flights on a reducedgravity aircraft-similar to NASA’S infamous Vomit Comet. Thirsty space travellers press a button on the bottle to open the cap and let the stout flow. Held recommends bringing the bottle up to your mouth but not tipping it back. In low-gravity tests, this sloshed the liquid around the bottle.
The 4 Pines Stout is currently available in Australia. The space-ready Vostok Space Beer Bottle ( will go on sale next year for R1 200. far right)