I’ve been reading Mary Roach’s book Packing For Mars, and I found this bit about beer in space interesting:
From time to time, there was talk among the astronauts that it might be nice to have a drink with dinner. Beer is a no-fly, because without gravity, carbonation bubbles don’t rise to the surface. “You just get a foamy froth,” says Bourland. He says Coke spent $450,000 developing a zero-gravity dispenser, only to be undone by biology. Since bubbles also don’t rise to the top of the stomach, the astronauts had trouble burping. “Often a burp is accompanied by a liquid spray,” Bourland adds.
They ended up looking into wine and sherry, even going so far as to develop special plastic pouches inside cans to package the stuff, but it got nixed when teetotaling taxpayers started complaining. Also, the smell was apparently pretty powerful (a bad thing in the tight quarters of spacecraft), even nauseating (a bad thing no matter where you are).
So no beer in space. At least, not until we are able to outfit the spacecraft (or station) with a rotating room, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course, that is a fantastically expensive and problematic enterprise in itself, but the benefits would expand beyond being able to drink beer in space. We might have to build something like that anyway, if we’re going to get to Mars without killing our astronauts.