Lonely Planet Writer

A craft beer created to be enjoyed at altitude will soon be available on Cathay Pacific

Beer lovers who have ever been aboard an airplane will tell you that the brews offered on flights often aren’t of the most soaring quality. That’s all about to change as Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific has teamed up with a local brewery to create a craft beer specifically to be drunk at altitude.

A post shared by Hong Kong Beer Co. (@hkbeerco) on Feb 21, 2017 at 8:10pm PST

Betsy Beer was brewed for Cathay Pacific by Hong Kong Beer Co, the first craft brewery in Hong Kong and one of the first in Asia. The brew is named for Cathay’s first aircraft, a Douglas DC-3 called Betsy that operated regional flights in the 1940s and ‘50s.  Betsy Beer will be served on UK – Hong Kong flights, and its recipe takes this connection into account. Ingredients include Fuggle hops – a stalwart of British brewing – as well as Chinese longnan (dragon’s eye) fruit and honey from the New Territories in Hong Kong to give it a sweet and fresh flavour. At 5.1% ABV, the beer is strong for a lager.

Cathay Pacific has launched a special beer to be drunk at 35,000 feet.
Cathay Pacific has launched a special beer to be drunk at 35,000 feet. Image by Aero Icarus / CC BY 2.0

Cathay Pacific says the beer was designed to be drunk in-flight at 35,000 feet, where altitude can alter taste buds. General Manager Marketing Julian Lyden said in a statement, “we know that when you fly, your sense of taste changes. Airlines address this for food in certain ways. But nobody has ever tried to improve the taste of beer at altitude. That seemed like a great opportunity for us to help our beer-loving passengers travel well.”

A post shared by Elodie Lee (@elobubili) on Feb 21, 2017 at 7:38am PST

Betsy Beer will be available to first and business class passengers on flights between Hong Kong and London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester from 1 March until 30 April, 2017. It will also be available in Cathay’s lounges in Heathrow and Hong Kong airport, as well as at several restaurants in Hong Kong.

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