By George Fox
Uranus beer is either going to be a smash hit or a complete failure. There’s some novelty there for completely immature people like me. Black Double IPA … *snickers”.
First of all, I recommend that you listen to Bell’s inspiration, Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” while you’re reading.
As a complete aside, this totally sounds like music from “Star Wars” and others have said there are nods to Holst throughout Episode VI.
Beer inspired by a musical composition inspired by planets, why not! I’ll support just about any reason to try new beer crafted by one of my favorite breweries.
Anyway, back to the beer. Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo has created seven beers for the seven movements of Holst’s composition. The 49-minute epic ranges from intense to peaceful relating to the specific planet’s mythology.
Three questions come up right away and I’ll address them all.
What’s with the order? It follows the structure of Holst’s composition, not from nearest to furthest from the sun. There’s a whole lot of contention about why Holst chose this order, but the key is that it’s not based on strict scientific astronomy. In other words, it’s not as much Jupiter the planet as Jupiter the astrological character (The Bringer of Jollity).
Where’s Pluto? Beside the fact that it’s not a planet anymore, it wasn’t discovered by the time Holst wrote the music. (1914 – 1916)
Where’s Earth? I was looking for it at first too, but hey, this isn’t your opus man. And, again, this is based on the observable planets. By the way, all the beers on Earth are technically “Earth Beer”.
Here’s the list of Bell’s Brewery’s “The Planets” series of beers, its astrological character, the style of beer and the month of each release.
“Mars, The Bringer of War” – Double IPA (August 2014)
“Venus, The Bringer of Peace” – A Blonde Ale brewed with honey, apricot, vanilla and cardamom (October 2014)
“Mercury, The Winged Messenger” – A Belgian Single (December 2014)
“Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity” – A malt forward Brown Ale (February 2015)
“Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age” – A Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine (April 2015)
“Uranus, The Magician” – Black Double IPA (May 2015)
“Neptune, The Mystic” – A beer inspired by Dr. Bell’s Medicinal Stout, one of Larry Bell’s homebrews that also helped inspire Eccentric Ale (July 2015)
George Fox is a Spartan, a Michigander, and Web Producer for CBS 62/CW50 in Detroit. When I’m not working on content for the CBS Local websites, I’m probably hanging out on the boat, at deer camp or spending quality time with the fam. Follow George on Twitter @GeorgeJFox.