Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Red Ale for a Red Planet

The label for Phobos beer - released as a seasonal ale in 2015 by
the Ecliptic Brewing Co. based in Oregon.

"Hopped entirely with citrusy, tropical Azacca hops, Phobos is named after the Martian moon that circles the Red Planet. Eight types of malts were used to give this beer a deep caramel flavor and rich red color that would make Old Man Mars proud. Phobos finishes creamy and smooth."

- Commercial description for Phobos single hop red ale found here.

"Good appearance, dark red-brown with foamy head. The aroma is mild earthiness, not a whole lot there. The taste is much more complex. Chocolate, spice, alcohol, caramel, bread, a bitter finish. A bit of citrus in the taste. This is an odd, but satisfying beer. For a single hop beer, I expected the hops to be the focus, but Phobos is all about the malt. A lot of chocolate and dark caramel flavors, even a hint of dark fruit. If I was closing my eyes I might even call it a stout. Very tasty overall, just much different than your average red ale."

"22oz bottle served in a tall pub glass. Beer pours surprisingly cola brown in color, merely tinged with red, and forms a thick pillowy foam. Even more surprising is the pronounced coffee malt aroma. I was excited to try this beer because, while I'm not often excited by red ales, I don't think I've ever tasted Azacca hops before, and I approve of single hop brews. There is an edge of hop bitterness here, but it's not the center of this moon's orbit. Instead, this beer is all about a complex and interesting malt profile, with great balance of flavors, roasty and nutty notes of coffee, toffee. Recommended."

- Two reviews of Phobos found here.

"Phobos is named after the Greek god Phobos, a son of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus) and the personification of fear (cf. phobia). Phobos has also been proposed as an early target for a manned mission to Mars because a landing on Phobos would be considerably less difficult and expensive than a landing on the surface of Mars itself. A lander bound for Mars would need to be capable of atmospheric entry and subsequent return to orbit, without any support facilities (a capacity that has never been attempted in a manned spacecraft), or would require the creation of support facilities in-situ (a "colony or bust" mission); a lander intended for Phobos could be based on equipment designed for lunar and asteroid landings. Additionally, the delta-v to land on Phobos and return is only 80% of that for a trip to and from the surface of the Moon, partly due to Phobos's very weak gravity."

- Excerpt from the Wiki entry for Phobos, where both photos of the Martian moon were sourced.

A close-up of Phobos. Note the weird, white "stretch mark" pattern 
on the foreground surface, right above an oddly blurred area.

"Mars has two natural satellites: Deimos and Phobos; the latter orbits Mars closer than any other moon orbiting the other planets in the solar system, and it’s currently undergoing a process known as orbital decay.

In short, this means that Phobos is slowly drifting closer to Mars over time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has an impact on the gravitational pull between Mars and Phobos. As this tug strengthens, the tidal forces exerted on Phobos are increased, and this quite literally tears the moon apart.

Phobos’ surface is covered in strange lines, and according to planetary scientists, these are ‘stretch marks’ that result from the tidal forces that are being exerted on the moon as it orbits Mars. If the moon’s orbital decay continues at its current rate, then the moon could be destroyed in the next several million years, resulting in a planetary ring around Mars."

- Excerpt from this June, 2019 article: Can We Prevent Phobos' Inevitable Demise?


Well, Phobos (the beer) has been around for 4 years, but I never heard of it till recently. But the minute I did, well, it goes without saying... (Thanks, BG!)

In spite of the photo inset left, Mac wasn't actually much of a beer-drinker... coffee was his drink of choice... morning, noon, and night. But, something tells me he would've loved this ale even if only for the label. Then again, who knows, some people think it has a "coffee-malt aroma"... he might've become a fan!

Needless to say, there hasn't been anything particularly earth-shattering in the news these days... a tease here and there... but mostly just recycled old stuff. For instance, I recently saw an article which claims that there's been a "Parallel universe breakthrough." See here and here. Big Think has an article about it, too. But, then I notice The Guardian was reporting something similar last year. The most interesting bit I found was actually news in 2014:

"New data suggests that it may be plausible that one of those parallel universes could be bumping into ours. The ESA's Planck telescope has discovered very bright light at the edge of our universe that really shouldn't be there. It's brighter than we would expect it to be, and the idea is that the light could be spilling in from another parallel universe bumping into ours."

Well, at least that sounds fairly cosmic.

I'll comfort myself with the thought that somewhere out there in the multiverse - and maybe right this minute - Mac is nursing a mug of Phobos.


  1. Only YOU can take a beer label and spin something cosmic from it. The crowd is hushed....

  2. The "crowd" is probably asleep.

    And, anyway, alcohol often brings out the cosmic in people. So there.

  3. Hah! Yes: "Altered States - The Tour". I'll drink to that. :-)

    1. Drink up me Bucko...for tomorrow we journey to the Moons of Mars and Beyond!

  4. Um, not exactly. That's the beauty of an Altered States Tour... one gets cosmically aware without actually going anywhere.

  5. Oh. Well, that's legal now in Oregon. ;)

  6. As it should be.

    I suspect that that fairly soon all the western states will be "altered." Now, there's a tour! :-)