The Stout Ready For Space.
4-Pines Brewing Stout
As a Star Wars fan since very early in my life (sorry Trekkies!) space has a certain thing about it for me. Not in a “futuristic” type of way, but in a “If we ever have to live out there, how will it be the same and/or different?” kind of way. Remember, Star Wars took place “Long ago in a galaxy far, far away”, so it;s not future, but technology. As we get closer to that being a reality (think Richard Branson and Elon Musk working on space travel) the things we interact with every day look more and more interesting.
Which is part of the reason why I love the ongoing story behind this very nice stout from 4-Pines Brewing Company. See, since 2011 (and some conversation, legals and testing before that) this stout, among other accolades holds the title of the first beer to be consumed in space.
You can read more about the story here, but in a nutshell, this stout is the first beer of any kind to be consumed in zero gravity. Adding that 4 Pines is also developing a bottle to allow one to consume beer from the bottle as opposed to a space squeeze pack, and you can see that this project is pretty cool.
It’s actually a certified space beer. Future flights on Virgin Galactic and SpaceX sound more exciting already.
But the question you are all asking of course is: what’s it taste like? No point having a bottle you can drink beer from in space if the beer is crapola. Well, fear not, because in their work to send a stout into space, 4 Pines have not scrimped in any way on the quality of this outstanding dark beer.
4-Pines are an award winning brewery based in Sydney, Australia. Their back story is well worth the look – about 10 years ago a father and son who, in a post-surf conversation one day lamented the availability of exceptional beer. Not being the type for semantics, obviously, they decided to do something about it. The results have been pretty consistent and they have received multiple nominations and awards worldwide.
And this stout is no exception, winning the 2012 AIBA where it won Champion Stout. I can see why.
My test was from a bottle (not sure if this is the same as the ones they will use in space – I figure not, but could be wrong) and poured beautifully into the glass producing a nice head with a slightly tanned cream head.
The olfactory senses picked up a chocolate, coffee and caramel aroma which is not unusual for a stout. It stood nice and dark in the glass and looked the goods as well. (Note that this pic comes from a first taste of 4 Pines Stout taken last year and the glassware isn’t like what I use now. My specialised beer glasses, I believe, give much better smell access (is that a thing?!) and in my opinion makes the beer taste better. That said, while the taste was more pronounced second time around with the new glassware, the notes and tastes remained consistent with the first tasting.)
In the mouth, the stout has a wonderfully creamy texture. A gentle bitterness covered the tongue and was followed by some very well pronounced coffee during the after-notes.
If you were going to offer someone a stout to prove that not all dark beers sit heavy, this one would be a good one to use. It’s not too heavy and you could drink a couple of these and not feel too full up.
As I sat back afterwards knowing what had been, I noticed that my tongue tingled with tastes of a nutty espresso that lingered on until well afterwards. I wondered whether this stout would be one of those you might offer post-meal possibly instead of coffee or as an accompaniment instead of a fortified wine. I have yet to experiment, and you wouldn’t have to do this, but I would like go try it as an after dinner stout a little warmer than when I drank it for the test. That said, at any other time, from the fridge goes down beautifully.
Even in space…
The Darkside Brew: 4 Pines Stout (5.1%)
Brewery: 4 Pines Brewing Company, 4F/9–13 Winbourne Rd Brookvale NSW 2100 (Head Office) For info on their brewery venues click here.
Darkside Rating: This beer could be a starter or a finisher. Think a great beer to kick back with at the end of a weekend, or a fine accompaniment to some cheese at the end of a meal.
If you are thinking of paying 4-Pines a visit, it’s recommended you pop over to the website and look at booking in at one of the venues. Otherwise, check your local or the 4-Pines website to see whether this baby is on tap and where; or don’t snob the bottled version – that’s what I used for this review.