Oregon Brewery Launches Craft IPA into Space

Well, sort-of into space.

By Ethan L. Johns
February 14, 2018

Image: BridgePort Brewing/Twitter

Just days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk launched his midnight cherry-colored electric roadster into space, a few brew dudes took to the West Texas desert to send a very different object to the heavens. With a GoPro camera, they filmed as two Oregon India Pale Ales floated into space. Well, sort-of into space.

After getting the necessary go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration, the BridgePort Brewery team from Portland, Oregon, trekked out to the middle of nowhere in the Lone Star State and set up Ground Control, preparing to float craft beer into the stratosphere. The aerial stunt was a celebration of the brewery’s 22nd anniversary, according to The Drinks Business.

In a video posted to YouTube, the team can be seen fiddling with a weather balloon, some helium tanks and a few of their hyper-hoppy Original IPAs. They insert two full beers into pressurized containers, which they pack into a styrofoam cooler covered in reflective tape. One empty beer sits taped to the lid, since an exposed full beer wouldn’t survive the pressure changes that come with serious height. The balloon gets filled, and off it floats, into the sunrise.

The beer soared up to a height of 22 miles, recording Earth’s curvature, before the balloon popped and began its descent. Technically, the beer didn’t reach space, which is loosely defined by the Kármán Line drawn at 62 miles above sea level. This is the point where gravity gets jumbled and things begin to float.

The team managed to recover the beers about 55 miles from the launch site. They pulled them out with glee, though left them shut—no doubt because they got seriously shaken as they plummeted toward the ground.

Was it a stunt, or part of a larger business plan? Other companies, like Budweiser, are experimenting with space beer, so why shouldn’t the little guys? The answer was not too hard to find. In a post on Facebook, the brewery called out Elon Musk with a slap on the back and a proposal:

“Congratulations Elon Musk! We just launched the first craft beer to space… Let’s meet over a pint of #SpaceIPA to talk #breweryonmars?”

Let the Space Beer Race begin.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns