Now three years later after its launch, the Ninkasi Brewing space exploration program sees its return. The mission is to send the brewer’s yeast to space and return it to Earth to brew a unique beer. This latest result is an Imperial Stout fermented with spacefaring yeast. Back for its third year and available in time for the upcoming holiday season, Ground Control Imperial Stout returns in November to 22-ounce bottles, limited draft, and an exclusive cask strength edition.
Ground Control Imperial Stout is brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise, cocoa nibs and fermented with a space-traveled yeast, Ninkasi Brewing released the first edition of Ground Control April 2015. Since then, the beer has gained a following of space and beer enthusiasts alike.
“The Ground Control legacy continues to evolve as we discover new ways to play with the nuances of this beer,” said Jamie Floyd, Ninkasi co-founder and founding brewer in a statement. “This year, we aged the beer in Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrels and blended it with 10 percent fresh Ground Control to enhance the characteristics of the cocoa nibs, hazel nuts and star anise.”
The story of Ground Control’s creation began July 2014, with Mission One of NSP. In partnership with the Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) and Team Hybriddyne, Ninkasi loaded a rocket with 16 vials of brewer’s yeast. A series of unexpected circumstances led to tracking issues, leaving the payload lost on the floor of the Black Rock Desert for 27 days. Due to the extreme desert heat, the yeast was not viable for brewing. An opportunity for Mission Two presented itself with UP Aerospace Inc., a private spaceflight corporation, and in October 2014, six vials of brewer’s yeast traveled above Earth’s atmosphere from Spaceport America on an SL-9 rocket. Reaching a maximum height of 77.3 miles above Earth, the payload containing the yeast touched back down and was immediately transported to Ninkasi’s lab to begin propagation and brewing.
“Whether it’s fellow brewers, beer drinkers or space enthusiasts, Ground Control sparks conversations around human exploration and creativity,” said Floyd in a statement. “Each year we release this beer we are thrilled to see what new discussions take place and how fans choose to enjoy this Ground Control with others.”
Ground Control 2017: Ground Control boldly combines local and out-of-this-world ingredients. This rich, complex Imperial Stout is brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, and is fermented with an Ale yeast that survived a trip to space and back.
This third-edition release is a blend of fresh Ground Control and Ground Control aged in Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrels, offering a beer that is ready to enjoy now or suitable to cellar for later. Style:Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout Brewed with Oregon Hazelnuts, Star Anise, Cocoa Nibs, and Ale Yeast Sent Into Space Available:November, 2017 ABV:10% IBU:50 OG:1100 Malt:2-Row Pale, Black, Chocolate, Munich, Crystal, Honey, Special Roast, Peated Hops:Apollo, Bravo, Comet Packaging:22oz. Bottles, Draft Distribution: Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Maryland; Nevada; New York; Oregon; Utah; Washington; Virginia; Vancouver, British Columbia; and select retailers across the country.
Cask Strength Ground Control 2017: This Cask Strength edition has been aged in Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon Barrels, offering a dangerously smooth and flavorful take on our favorite space beer. Style:Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout Brewed with Oregon Hazelnuts, Star Anise, Cocoa Nibs, and Ale Yeast Sent Into Space Available:November, 2017 ABV:11% IBU:50 OG:1100 Malt:2-Row Pale, Black, Chocolate, Munich, Crystal, Honey, Special Roast, Peated Hops:Apollo, Bravo, Comet Packaging:22oz. Bottles, Draft Distribution: Oregon, Washington
Be one of the first to taste Ground Control 2017 at either of these two upcoming events in November.
Ninkasi Space Beer Dinner at OMSI Nov. 7, 2017, 6pm
Foodies, beer and science lovers unite for the release of Ground Control 2017. Enjoy a beer-pairing dinner created by Bon Appetit’s Executive Chef Kit Zhu and hear from Ninkasi experts about the mission to brew Ground Control. Sample Ground Control 2017 and get an exclusive taste of the Cask Strength edition.
Tickets are available online at https://omsi.edu/calendar/ninkasi-space-beer-dinner.
Space Oddity Ball at the Ninkasi Tasting Room Nov. 11, 2017, 12-10pm
Join Ninkasi for an out-of-this-world party celebrating the return of Ground Control. This year’s space-themed event will feature an exclusive opportunity to purchase 22-ounce bottles of Cask Strength Ground Control 2017 and a chance to sample Space Flights of all three vintages. Stay tuned to the Ninkasi Facebook page for event details. Free and open to the public.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 20 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter at @hopapalooza.