Though the basics of making beer are simple enough that anyone (and now seemingly everyone) can brew beer at home, making good beer is actually a very scientific process – crunching the numbers on steps like extraction and fermentation. So while plenty of beers have been brewed in honor of musicians or politicians or athletes, it would certainly be cool to see more breweries creating beers in honor of those in the science world – like the Asheville Brewing Company’s new Neil deGrasse Tyson tribute, Bier LemonGrass Tyson.
Asheville Brewing president Mike Rangel said his company was inspired to create a beer honoring the astrophysicist, author, beloved internet personality and self-proclaimed beer fan when he heard deGrasse Tyson would be speaking at the local Thomas Wolfe Auditorium this month. “We wanted to make a beer to celebrate science and to honor one of science’s rock stars coming to our town,” he said in a statement. “We found an online video where deGrasse Tyson talks about beer styles he likes and how much he appreciates local beer. We heard you, Neil, and we made this beer for you!”
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Though the name may make for a bit of a humorous stretch, the brew itself was built with the scientist in mind. In a video from National Geographic, deGrasse Tyson proclaimed that his favorite beers are German wheats and Belgians (namechecking Blue Moon, a Belgian-style witbier, specifically), so Asheville Brewing decided on a bit of a mashup of the two, brewing a Belgian wit with German malt. The result is then fittingly dry-hopped with a popular variety of hops known as “Galaxy” – a nod to deGrasse Tyson’s field of astrophysics. The beer is also flavored with lemongrass, sweet orange peel and coriander, probably because the latter two ingredients are commonly added in Belgian-style witbiers like Blue Moon, while that first ingredient gave the brewery the wordplay potential it so desperately wanted when naming the final product.
Bier LemonGrass Tyson will be released on Tuesday, June 13 – the same day as deGrasse Tyson’s speaking engagement in North Carolina. It will be available on draft at both of the brewery’s locations as well as “in very limited quantities of 22-ounce bottles.” As an added bonus, a dollar from every pint and bottle sold will be donated to the Asheville Museum of Science. Then, hopefully that museum can continue inspire more people to become scientists and, in turn, brew more good beer. Or become astrophysicists. I guess all scientists can’t just make beer.