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Samuel Adams brews 'Space Craft' beer with Inspiration4-flown hops

Space Craft, a new special release from Samuel Adams, was made using hops flown on the Inspiration4 mission.
Space Craft, a new special release from Samuel Adams, was made using hops flown on the Inspiration4 mission. (Image credit: Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams is ready to toast the world's first "all-civilian" orbital spaceflight with a beer made using hops flown on the private mission.

The Boston-based brewery has announced "Space Craft," (opens in new tab) its Inspiration4-inspired special release, which marks the brand's first use of "out-of-this-world" ingredients. The hops used to brew Space Craft orbited Earth with the Inspiration4 crew (opens in new tab) for three days in September, flying more than 360 miles high (585 km) — above the orbit of the International Space Station — on board a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Led by Jared Isaacman, the billionaire CEO of Shift4 Payments, the Inspiration4 crew also included Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor and physician's assistant; Sian Proctor, a geoscientist and science communicator; and Chris Sembroski, an aerospace data engineer. The mission made history, in part, by being the first to enter orbit without a career astronaut on board.

Related: Inspiration4: SpaceX's historic private spaceflight in photo

Inspiration4 mission commander Jared Isaacman (at left) with the Samuel Adams' brewers creating Space Craft. (Image credit: Samuel Adams)

Isaacman initially shared the idea of flying hops on Inspiration4 in a post to Twitter about a month before he and his crewmates were set to launch. "Who wouldn't order a beer brewed with space hops?" he asked, soliciting brewers to respond "if interested."

Samuel Adams replied and, in addition to receiving the space-flown hops to make Space Craft, was named the official beer of the mission.

"The 66 lbs [30 kg] of Citra and Mosiac orbited hops that returned (opens in new tab), landed right in this stellar west coast style IPA," Samuel Adams wrote on its website.

The brewery describes Space Craft as having a "firm bitterness" with tropical notes of grapefruit, guava and passionfruit that "co-pilot" with piney and resiny hop aromas. The label art depicts the hops floating around the head of a spacesuited astronaut with what appears to be an Apollo command and service module in orbit over Earth reflecting off the suit's helmet visor.

The name "Space Craft" came from a poll of more than 5,000 Samuel Adams' fans with input from the brewers and the Inspiration4 crew.

Samuel Adams is set to release Space Craft (opens in new tab) on Nov. 16 so that it coincides with the expected peak of the Leonid meteor shower. A four-pack of one pint (16 oz.) Space Craft cans is priced at $22.33 — an homage to the length of time that the Inspiration4 crew was in space: 2 days, 23 hours and 3 minutes.

Initially offered for pre-sale on Give Them Beer (opens in new tab), the online craft beer gift delivery service quickly sold out of its supply. Cans are still available for pick up from the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston (opens in new tab) and the beer will be available on draft at both the brewery and Samuel Adams' downtown Boston taproom starting Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.

Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman (left) unpacks the flown hops used in Space Craft at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston. (Image credit: Samuel Adams)

In celebration of the release and the mission that both inspired and enabled it, Samuel Adams will be donating $100,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, furthering the Inspiration4 crew's successful goal of raising $200 million for pediatric cancer research and patient care.

Although perhaps now the highest profile brand to do so, Samuel Adams is not the first to make beer using space-flown ingredients. In 2009, the oldest brewery in Japan, Sapporo, used barley grown from seeds flown to the International Space Station to create a limited edition ale. Five years later, the Oregon-based Ninkasi Brewing Company launched yeast aboard a commercial suborbital spaceflight to make "Ground Control," an imperial stout.

Budweiser has also been working on crafting a space beer (opens in new tab). Since 2017, the Anheuser-Busch brand has funded and flown a series of experiments to the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station to better understand the germination and growth of barley in the space environment.

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Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.