Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets has inspired countless movie soundtracks and served as the theme music for Valentine Michael Smith in Robert A. Heinlein's classic sci-fi novel Stranger in a Strange Land, but it's breaking through to a new pop-culture frontier this summer as Michigan's Bells Brewery releases a series of special beers inspired by the suite's seven movements.
"The Planet Series" will debut next month, with a new beer being released every two months until the brews reach the outer limits of Neptune. (Holst's suite didn't include Earth — or Pluto, which had not yet been discovered when the composer was writing in the 1910s.)
Moving in order of the suite (not astronomy), the releases will begin with Mars, the Bringer of War — a double IPA. The series will continue with Venus, the Bringer of Peace (blonde ale); Mercury, the Winged Messenger (Belgian single); Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity (brown ale); Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age (bourbon barrel-aged barleywine); Uranus, the Magician (black double IPA); and Neptune, the mystic ("mystical stout").