While waiting for the weather to shape up for this year's launch, members of NASA’s balloon team, in their off duty time, put together a special brew with the Wanaka Beerworks brewery team.
Located adjacent to Wānaka Airport, Beerworks' brewers Bolton, Chip, and Dave assisted some of NASA's keen home brewers to make their very own brew, named Stratosbeer, in a nod to Wānaka's super pressure balloon launch.
A time lapse of the brew process can be viewed here
About Stratosbeer: Back in the day, early ballooners thought it was the smoke from fire that caused balloons to lift off. In later years, it became clear that it was really heat that inflated and lifted balloons of all types and sizes to increasingly greater heights.
Today, NASA is using helium to get the necessary lift for its pumpkin-shaped Super Pressure Balloon, which launches from Wānaka to altitudes as high as 33.5 km—well into the stratosphere. Helium is scarce, but heat, pumpkin and smoke are easy to come by. Stratosbeer is an homage to the ballooners of past and present, a smoky pumpkin ale with the precise amount of lift for any load you need to carry.
Wanaka Beerworks is a micro brewery with a 700L copper brew system which produces approximately 100,000L a year. As passionate brewers the team create as many specialty brews as possible, yet operating a small brewery dictates a limited amount of space so they've kept the original Wanaka Beerworks beers and added the Jabberwocky range of products with the occasional seasonal beer rearing it's head.
Details about Beerworks' beers can be found online here: https://www.wanakabeerworks.co.nz