For Ninkasi Brewing Co., space is not the final frontier.
The Eugene, Ore.-based brewery has announced it will be releasing Ground Control, a 10 percent ABV imperial stout that is brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs. The beer also incorporates 2-row pale, black, chocolate, Munich, crystal, honey, special roast and peated malts, along with apollo, bravo and comet hops.
However, the star of the show is the ale yeast that was used in the new release, which was sent more than 77 miles into space and returned to earth before being used in the brewing process for the imperial stout.
“After almost two years of research, development, lab time, and two separate rocket launches to garner space yeast, we have finally completed our mission,” said Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi ceo and co-founder, in a press release. “It was a project born out of passionate people coming together to try something new and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”
There were actually two different launches before a viable sample was recovered unharmed: the first in July 2014, named Mission One, was on a rocket launched by Civilian Space eXploration Team and Team Hybriddyne, which carried 16 vials of brewer’s yeast. Due to “unforeseen circumstances,” the payload of yeast on that rocket was not usable for brewing after being lost in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for 27 days.
Mission Two took place in October 2014, when six vials of brewer’s yeast hitched a ride on a rocket launched by UP Aerospace Inc. The yeast traveled 77.3 miles above the earth before returning safely and transported back to Ninkasi’s brewery.
According to the press release, Ground Control will be packaged in 22-ounce bottles and will be released for distribution on April 13 in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington as well as Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia.