Anheuser-Busch, SpaceX Take First Steps for Martian Beer

It appears the most essential things needed for space exploration are food, shelter and beer.

There are a number of basic, yet essential things needed for exploring space. Like food, shelter, and obviously … beer.

Well, don’t worry, Anheuser-Busch has popped the top on that research project. After announcing earlier this year that it had an interest in being the first to brew beer on Mars, the makers of Budweiser, and the most commonly purchased beer in the U.S. – Bud Light - is moving forward with the first stage of its plan.

The next SpaceX launch is scheduled for December 4, and it will contain 20 barley seeds from A-B destined for the International Space Station. The seeds will undergo two tests focused on how they react to the microgravity environment on the ISS, and if they can germinate in that environment.

The seeds will stay in orbit for about a month before returning to Earth for analysis. Because hauling actual beer would be a logistical challenge, understanding whether or not the ingredients for the beverage can be grown in space will be an important first step.

But there could be bigger issues than barley. First, one of the most important ingredients is obviously water. Water on Mars is not only scarce, but salty, which doesn’t lend well to product described as crisp and refreshing.

Then, because there is less atmospheric pressure than Earth, the traditional bubbles we’re used to seeing would be almost non-existent. 

While Anheuser-Busch could be the first brewer in space, Scottish distiller Ardbeg was the first to send alcoholic spirts into the final frontier when they delivered their brand of whisky to the ISS back in 2011. After three years that vial and a similar one housed on earth were opened.

The native sample was basically what you would expect. The space sample was described as containing hints of antiseptic smoke and rubber, along with curious and powerful woody tones along with a meaty aroma.

Flat, salty, meaty beer. Let’s hope A-B can figure out space brewing before opening the first Martian Cantina.