Australian beer hopes to boldly go into space

Tue May 17, 2011 2:39pm EDT
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Wherever man has ventured, beer has followed. Now, two Australian entrepreneurs hope that will include space.

Looking ahead to a future of growing space tourism, they have developed a full-bodied brew they believe can stand up to the trials of imbibing in space, including swelling tongues that diminish the sense of taste.

"It's going to be the first beer that will be specifically designed to be drunk in zero gravity with upcoming space tourism," said Jaron Mitchell, who owns the 4 Pines Brewing Company, a microbrewery.

Mitchell and Jason Held, at space engineering firm Saber Astronautics Australia, have developed the Vostok 4 Pines Stout, which they aim to take where no beer has gone before.

They believe they are ahead of the curve, noting that the Russians -- known to enjoy the occasional tipple -- are already taking rich tourists into space and British businessman Richard Branson is building the infrastructure for his own space tourism business, Virgin Galactic.

The two decided that a full-bodied, flavorsome, stout-style beer would work best to counter the loss of taste sensation that takes place when the tongue swells in space.

"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," Held said.

"So we wanted to have a flavor that would be strong enough, that would punch through that."   Continued...