A beer can. On a shelf. With beer inside. Well, not just any beer... it’s Half Acre’s Beer Hates Astronauts.
And as it’s come to be expected with Half Acre, the actual can is a thing of beauty. A star-chested superhero with a blue-flaming horse head is punching an owl-faced astronaut. I take it down from it’s shelf for a closer look. The text around the top of the can reads “the wildly unofficial beer of the world’s least explainable comic book, God Hates Astronauts!”
I grab four of them and head to the cash register. I am officially in.
Back on my houseboat (I don’t actually live on a houseboat), I crack the first can and log onto my neighbor's wi-fi to find out about this comic, I mean this beer, as much as possible. I pour it into one of my many fancy pieces of glassware, though today I’ve chosen one of my more standard pieces – the Spiegelau IPA glass – and wonder if I didn’t spend so much on fancy glassware would I be able to afford a house on solid land, because honestly I am not a boat person.
The liquid in the narrow base of the glass looks just a touch more golden than a Miller High Life, which is to say it is a nice golden-yellow. But the beer up top, in the rounded wine glass area designed to promote the aromatics of IPAs, reminds me of the gold necklace that Jimi Hendrix wore in the giant velvet portrait that hung on the wall in my father’s living room until I was 15 (I wish I was making that up), which is to say that it is gorgeous and difficult to look away from.
The used chromebook I purchased from my local library has finally opened a browser and I head straight to the Half Acre website where I learn that this beer is all Citra hops and Vienna malt. I take a waft and the aroma, accentuated by my specially designed receptacle, is just so much wonderful citrus that I can’t help but picture a close-up, slow-motion shot of manly hands peeling an orange, similar to a slow-motion shot of beautiful woman climbing out of a swimming pool and flipping her long, dripping hair over her head to her back, excess water flying through the air highlighting the motion, while a low-lying sun creates glowing silhouettes of most everything in the frame.
Excuse me here, I’m going to need a minute.
If you love the bright and bitter flavors of a citrus forward IPA, you’ll love this beer.”
Honestly, this might be the best smelling Citra-hopped beer I’ve had since Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust, but dare I say this smells brighter.
Oh, what’s that you say? You haven’t had Zombie Dust? Well, perhaps you should spend more cash on fancy glassware and then use credit cards to take a road trip in the general direction of Chicagoland. Stop in Indiana and get yourself some Zombie Dust and then head into Chicago and go directly to Half Acre in hopes that they are pouring this. That way, when you die, Saint Peter can take the day off because you have already been to Heaven.
The taste of Beer Hates Astronauts offers all that citrus from the aroma, think back to those manly hands peeling that orange, and then imagine those sausage fingers twisting and squeezing neatly sliced strips of the peel, releasing lovely notes of bright, oily bitterness. Add to that some notes of slightly unripe mango, a wet whisper of pine, and then bite down on a piece of Chex cereal and honestly I think I really nailed it just now. Wow. It’s delicious.
The Half Acre website lists this beer as the official beer of the God Hates Astronauts, a collaboration between the brewery and Ryan Browne, the graphic novelist behind the aforementioned title. And while I may not literally live in the quaint confines of a houseboat, I can honestly say that I was way into comics until my twenties and so my interest in a comic with an official/unofficial delicious beer is perhaps heightened more than the average 39 year old.
Did you know that Amazon offers a comic book service? It’s like Audible, but you know, visual because it’s comic books? Me either. But I found it and signed up so I could instantly read God Hates Astronauts and if you own an iPad the service is fantastic and I might be a comic book guy again.
(Of course, I feel an obligation to mention that if this service works anything like Spotify or Apple Music, it is probably not very lucrative for the artist, which is morally deflating. And so you can check out the great merch available on Ryan Browne’s website or seek out Ryan Browne’s books at your local, independent comic and/or book store.)
Like the beer, the comic is pretty great. The premise is a superhero group, the Power Persons 5 and they are hired by NASA to stop Astro-Farmers. And right now, “What are Astro-Farmers?” is a fair question. Well, they are astronaut farmers. Or at least aspiring astronaut farmers. In other words, they are farmers that have built rocket silos so that they can leave Earth.
Why do they want to leave earth? Another fair question that at the moment I don’t have an answer to that applies to all Astro-Farmers. However, one particular Astro-Farmer wants to leave Earth because the Great Space God spoke to him in a vision and promised him sexual freedom and a room in the moon mansion. And the sexual freedom thing is a big deal to this particular Astro-Farmer because he is in love with a chicken, or at this point, a woman with a chicken head.
You follow? And that’s all within the first few pages of Volume 2 (the first few short sentences of this review are actually a poorly crafted reference to the opening frame of Volume 2). Volume 1 follows the same premise but spends most of the time dealing with infidelity and the resulting divorce proceedings of two members of the Power Persons 5. And it is fantastic.
Oh, and it turns out what I thought was a blue-flaming horse head on the beer can is actually a ghost cow head. To understand that, you’ll have to read Volume 1, which I can’t recommend enough. If you enjoy the absurdity of when the Simpsons was a great show, you’ll love this comic.
And obviously, if you love the bright and bitter flavors of a citrus forward IPA, you’ll love this beer. Because after all, this was a beer review.