January 19, 2018 — I like beer.
The ancient Mesopotamians did, too. The oldest written record of beer is a 3,900-year-old Mesopotamian poem containing a recipe, although historians place the birth of beer in that area of the world as far back as 10,000 B.C. The Incas also brewed beer, as did the ancient Egyptians and Chinese.
Beer production flourished in Europe, especially by German Catholics, some of whom in the 1600s developed a special Lenten diet that consisted of beer.
Forty-six days of beer. Prost.
President Grover Cleveland’s wife thought he liked beer a little too much, so he vowed to drink only four glasses of it a day. After making that vow he bought the biggest beer stein he could find.
I brew my own beer at home, which probably would have landed me a cabinet post if Cleveland was in office.
I’m not alone. There are an estimated 1.2 million home brewers in the United States and the sale of home brew equipment has risen 25 percent per year in Great Britain each of the past five years. Home brewing is on every continent. Australian scientists brew their own beer at Antarctica’s Casey Station.
At home, in Antarctica, where else is left for beer brewers to go?
University of Colorado graduate student Kirsten Sterrett devised a way to brew beer in space, which was carried out on a shuttle mission in the early 2000s. The beer tasted awful, probably because the experiment was sponsored by Coors.
However, Anheuser-Busch is currently working on a way to brew beer on Mars. The first step is to send barley to the International Space Station (which it did Dec. 12). Step 2 is, well, we have to send people to the Red Planet first. Billionaire Elon Musk plans to do so by 2022.
Martian beer by 2022? I’m good with that. However, most Americans aren’t.
A recent Rasmussen Reports survey discovered 45 percent of Americans don’t care if their beer comes from Mars or Colorado, 33 percent don’t want space beer, 11 percent are excited about space beer and 11 percent don’t have an opinion on space beer.
Don’t have an opinion? Who doesn’t have an opinion about space beer? That’s like not having an opinion about how cool it would be to ride a dinosaur, which would be cool; totally.
Eleven percent of the American public is made up of passive-aggressive wienies.
Here on Earth, brewing has blossomed. There were 89 breweries in the U.S. in the late 1970s. Now there are more than 5,300 producing specialty brews like Monkey Paw Brewing’s “Ashes from the Grave” (beer that tastes like bacon), the Narragansett Brewing Company’s Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout (beer that tastes like coffee), Martin House Brewing Company’s Day Break (beer that tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios) and two beers in production in Tampa, Florida. Hidden Springs Ale Works and Arkane Aleworks are infusing beer with Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
We live in marvelous times.
Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.