Space Beer: Coming Soon to a Galaxy Near You

STEP 1: Design a spacecraft fit for commercial space flight. Check.

STEP 2: Build a fleet of such vehicles; brand yourself as the means for the common (extremely wealthy) man to see the universe. Check.

STEP 3: Get space tourists wasted. Shit!

It appears that commercial space travel is just years away from becoming a mainstream reality. While the timeline shows the fleet is still in testing stages, you can book a flight on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic line through one of seven accredited space agencies, located all over the world. All you need is a down payment of $20,000 to secure your $200,000 seat.

As these astro-tourists will not be performing difficult space walks to repair the Hubble Telescope or intricate scientific experiments the next thought was presumably, "Oh crap? How are we going to entertain them?" or more specifically "How are we going to get them drunk?" Australia's 4 Pines Brewing Company and Saber Astronautics think they have the answer in Space Beer. (And no, we're not talking about Sapporo's $110 a bottle Space Beer made from barley grown in space. That was a marketing gimmick.)

The zero gravity factor creates a problem for any carbonated beverage in space - weightlessness means there is no buoyancy force on the liquid, hence no carbonation (flat soda, flat beer, flat champagne). Not to mention the sensation that astronauts describe as "deadening taste buds."

4 Pines has developed a formula with amplified flavors and is experimenting with different packaging that, once opened, will not blast liquid all over the cabin. The resulting high-flavor, low carbonation Stouts are scheduled to go up with astronauts in Vomit Comets to test their performance in a weightless environment. Basically a bunch of astronauts are going to be floating around getting wasted. Not a bad gig.

Space Beer will also be available for sale on Terra Firma, but if it tastes anything like the space food we've sampled, we'll stick with land beer. But then again, we drank the hell out of Tang as a kid, so perhaps we shouldn't rush to judgment.

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