On Monday, August 21, beer-drinkers (and, we suppose, everyone else) will finally experience what everyone’s been talking about the past few weeks: a solar eclipse.
Eclipses aren’t super-rare; the circumstances that create the phenomenon (the moon passing directly between the earth and the sun in its orbit around our planet) align every 18 months or so. But this one in particular has captured the attention of Americans because the path of totality—the area under which the moon will obscure the sun entirely—will pass from the west coast of Oregon all the way to the east coast of South Carolina. It’ll be the first time a total solar eclipse has passed from one coast to the other in nearly a century.
Enterprising brewers have capitalized on the celestial event by doing what they do best: brewing beers. These six were made specifically for the eclipse, so if you’re looking for something special to sip while staring at the sun (with protective eyewear, hopefully), look no further.
Schlafly Helles-style Lager
It’s been 575 years since a total solar eclipse was visible in St. Louis; Schlafly wasn’t going to miss the chance to celebrate this one. In June, the brewery began releasing special-edition bottles of its Helles-style Lager as well as “Path of Totality” packs equipped with pairs of solar glasses to watch the phenomenon without scorching your retinas. (The beer inside the eclipse-themes bottles is the same great lager it’s ever been, stuffed with soft bready malts, subtle herbal hops and a hint of orange blossom honey flavor.) Drinkers in Missouri who want to get the full eclipse experience can join Schlafly’s Eclipse Field Trip, a shindig at Bloomsdale, Missouri’s Dew Drop Inn featuring BBQ, beers, lawn games, live music and plenty of staring at the sky.
Founded in 2012, Roadhouse finally completed its expansion into a shiny new 10,000-square-foot production brewery this summer, enabling it to bottle its beers and ship them outside its home market of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The brewery didn’t play it safe: One of the first beers it sent into distribution was Obscura, an 11% ABV imperial stout aged on fresh oak with black currants and sweet cherries. Its flavors of dark fruits and melted chocolate intertwined with Belgian Candi sugar would be appropriate at any special event—celestial or otherwise.
Ecliptic Chromosphere Blonde Ale
Ecliptic owner and head brewer (and astronomy nerd) John Harris has been making space-themed beers since before it was cool; did you really think he wouldn’t have something ready for the eclipse? Chromosphere takes its name from a layer in the sun’s atmosphere whose reddish hue is only apparent during eclipses; its style (blonde ale) was also inspired by the bright celestial body. Amarillo and Cascade hops provide orange peel aromas and a bitterness not usually found in the style, keeping it crisp and snappy. You could definitely crush a few of these in the roughly two-and-a-half hours the eclipse will last. Ecliptic also has a number of eclipse events planned; find them all here.
Yazoo Space and Time
Celestial connections abound in Space and Time. Not only was the sour blonde ale brewed with a dozen cosmic hop varieties—Alpha, Apollo, Aurora, Challenger, Cluster, Meridian, Comet, Equinox, Galaxy, Horizon, Polaris and Southern Star—but it was also aged on starfruit. Wax-dipped 750-milliliter bottles and a teeny amount of 1.5-liter magnums go on sale at the Yazoo taproom August 18; head there quickly and you may also be able to grab one of 40 pint glasses from Pretentious Glass Company specially designed for the eclipse.
Benford Carolina Blackout
A black IPA is like an eclipse, in a way: Something normally bright (an IPA, THE SUN) becomes, as if by magic, dark. It’s one of the more appropriate beer styles you could choose to drink during an eclipse, and Benford’s brewed a good one. The beer’s aroma melds tangerine and burnt pie crust, while fresh pine needles and charred toast dance with every soft, silky sip. And since South Carolina falls within the path of totality—where the moon will completely blot out the sun—there’s no better beer for experiencing the eclipse in the Palmetto State.
Snake River Eclipse Ale
Wyoming, too, lies within the eclipse’s path of totality, and in most of the state, the sun will be completely blocked out for around 2 minutes—plenty of time to crush a can of this 5.2% American pale ale balancing tangerine peel bitterness with a hint of grass atop solid toasted malt base. Snake River is hosting its own viewing party beginning a 11 a.m. Monday; you can bet Eclipse Ale kegs will be pouring strong.