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BrewDog Made an IPA at 40,000 Feet

April 12, 2019

By Diana Hubbell, April 12, 2019

If you’ve ever noticed that airplane food is about as flavorful as industrial-grade wood pulp, that’s not just in your head. Cruising at high altitudes has the nasty side-effect of muting your sense of taste and smell. To compensate, airlines have to crank the sodium levels in your dishes up to 11 in order to make your microwaved chicken-or-beef taste like anything at all.

Sadly, this same principle applies to beer. If you’ve ever found your lager wanting at 40,000 feet—or even if you never really cared—the folks at the Scottish craft brewery BrewDog have a solution. Created especially for the 100th anniversary of British Airways, Speedbird 100 is a hopped up IPA designed to still taste good way up in the sky. Cofounders James Watt and Matt Dickie have already brewed on a train, a boat, and in the back of a NASCAR, so, of course, they decided to brew this particular beer at on a 787 Dreamliner at 40,000 feet.

British Airways

“The key thing is that the bitterness and fruit flavors aren’t really affected by the altitude, so we wanted to play on those two things and ramp up the sweetness,” Dickie said in a prepared statement. “We really hope British Airways customers love Speedbird 100 as much as we do.”

The key thing is that the bitterness and fruit flavors aren’t really affected by the altitude, so we wanted to play on those two things and ramp up the sweetness.”

While there is literally no practical reason to create an IPA outside of a brewery, this is BrewDog, king of publicity stunts, we’re talking about. In recent years, the brewery has become notorious for out-of-the-box ideas, including a few misfires and the occasional success story.

This isn’t even the brand’s first brush with aviation. In February, the Scotts rebranded a Boeing 767 as BrewDog Airlines and hauled a bunch of passengers for a booze-cruise over the Atlantic. This spring, they’re also planning to open their first New York bar in the British Airways’ Club lounge at JFK’s Terminal 7, where guests can naturally order a Speedbird 100. 

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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