So you’re a college astronomy professor whose seniors just accomplished the world-wowing feat of finding a new planet. How do you celebrate?
Crack open a Super Jupiter IPA, a craft beer named for your very own planet, the body orbiting the massive star kappa Andromedae. As you sip the citrusy ale, you can read all about your discovery on the label fashioned by the Howe Sound brewery in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada — the creators.
Does it get any better than this? Not much, College of Charleston professor Joe Carson admits.
“One of our goals when we’re studying extra-solar planets is to try to inspire people,” he said. “If you can get someone who’s drinking beer to sit and read about your planet while he’s drinking — that’s as close as you can get to hitting the mark.”
For Carson and two seniors, though, there’s a few stumbles between them and that cold, congratulatory brew.
“I actually don’t really drink beer. I think it’s gross,” said Thea Kozakis, who made the discovery along with Laura Stevens. But then, “how many people can say they discovered a planet and now there’s a Canadian beer named after it?” So she really does have to have at least a sip, she said.
If she can. Howe Sound distributes in the United States only in Oregon and Washington state, and you can run afoul of the law moving bottles across state lines without distributors.
Besides, the professor and the seniors have to get in line. Leslie Fenn, the Howe Sound co-owner, has been besieged by requests for this beer. She named it Super Jupiter after the gaseous, Jupiter-like planet when she met a University of Toronto researcher who was part of a team that verified the finding.
“I think it’s important we celebrate great things in the world,” she said.
Samples in the test batch cask that customers tasted in the brew pub went “flying off the shelf,” she said. The pub customers want more. Meanwhile, the research team is international, so she’s also fielding bar calls from as far as Japan. And Charleston.
“We’re trying to get some down to you guys,” she promised.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on Twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.
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