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Starts With A Bang

Weekend Diversion: Planetary Beers

Seven out-of-this world tastes for the seven other planets in our Solar System.

“I’ve learned what ‘classical’ means. It means something that sings and dances through sheer joy of existence.” –Gustav Holst

At the end of each week, I think it’s important to take a little bit of time away from what you normally work on, and make sure you give yourself room to enjoy something interesting, different and creative that this world has to offer. Have a listen to Ferraby Lionheart sing his interesting and unique song, Small Planet,

while I share with you a project about the seven other planets (besides us) in the Solar System.

Image credit: author WP, via Wikimedia Commons uploader Kwamikagami under c.c.-by-sa-3.0.

No, I’m not talking anything to do with NASA, the European Space Agency or any other organization seeking to leave the Earth, but rather of a brewery that was inspired by Gustav Holst’s 7-movement orchestral suite: The Planets. Although the initial meaning of the music was astrological and not astronomical, just like the individual planets, it still fires our imaginations and is powered by our knowledge of each of these worlds.

Image credit: © 2014 Bell’s Brewery, Inc., via

Well, Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has just announced a planets series of beers, where beginning next month, they’ll roll out a new beer roughly every two months inspired by one of our Solar System’s other worlds!

Image credit: NASA / Viking orbiter, 1976.

In August, Mars will bring us not war, but a double IPA, for all you fans of extra bitter and hoppy beers. The most colorful of all the planets perhaps deserved to be paired with a flavor profile that will light up your palate.

Image credit: NASA / Mariner 10 / Calvin J. Hamilton.

Just in time for fall, October’s beer will be based on Venus, a blonde ale with honey, apricot, cardamom and vanilla. Since Venus is the brightest of all planets in our night sky, it’s reasonable that these bright, sweet flavors should go along with it.

Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Perhaps the beer I’m most excited about will come in December and will be based on Mercury. A Belgian single will delight us them; perhaps the original style of beer in honor of the very first planet from our Sun!

Image credit: NASA/JPL/USGS, via

Two months later, in February, Jupiter will bring us a malt forward brown ale, a versatile beer that’s good for drinking no matter what the weather is. Perhaps this is a good match for the one planet that outweighs all the others combined.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cassini orbiter.

April brings us a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine, a slower-brewed beer for the slowest-moving naked-eye planet in the Solar System: Saturn!

Image credit: NASA / Voyager 2.

May comes with the one exception to the two-month pattern, a black double IPA, and is paired with the one exception to the naked-eye rule of ancient planets: Uranus! Although it wasn’t discovered until 1781, Uranus is actually visible to the naked eye as a faint point of light, but you can only find it if you know where to look, as — like all the planets — it moves from night to night.

Image credit: NASA / Voyager 2, via

And finally, the final planet in the Solar System, Neptune, brings the final beer in the series in July, a mystical stout.

As Larry Bell (thankfully, not this Larry Bell), president and founder of Bell’s Brewery says,

“Our two most successful brands come from a couple of my great literary references. This time, I took inspiration from a great piece of music. This piece, being in seven movements, gives us a lot of freedom to innovate and create.”

No matter how the beers come out, this is a great idea and a great way to bring the joys and wonders of the Universe a little bit closer into our everyday lives. Larry, if you’re listening, I’ll happily be a taste-tester for these if you send them out my way, and to those of you with access to this line, let me know how it turns out! (Found via This Is Why I’m Broke.)

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