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Can a beer really be both a porter and a pale ale?

Craft beer bar Kill The Cat and Leyton brewery Gravity Well have created a beer that demonstrates the thought experiment ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’.


As part of the experiment, Kill the Cat and Gravity Well have levelled the question as to whether their new beer, named Di(cat)omy, could be considered to be both a porter and a pale ale, until it’s poured.

In the hypothetical experiment, Erwin Schrodinger sought to illustrate a paradox of quantum mechanics where a cat may be considered simultaneously alive and dead while it is unobserved in a closed container. Only when the container is opened and the cat is observed is its fate determined.

To realise this idea in beer form, Kill the Cat and Gravity Well co-developed two different styles of beer – a pale ale and a porter – that broadly use the same ingredients and have been brewed to the same strength (5.5% ABV) and then housed them in identical-looking cans.

According to the teams, the beer is simultaneously both a pale ale and a porter until the can is opened and its contents are determined.

Speaking to db, Kill The Cat GM Dan Sandy said: “Like all the best ideas this collaboration came about over a beer, or more precisely over several at one of our ‘Meet Your Maker’ events. Both Ben (founder and head brewer Gravity Well) and I are pretty nerdy cats and when the idea of doing a beer around the concept of Shrodinger’s Cat presented itself – we couldn’t shake the idea. It took a year or so for our diaries to line up but now that it’s done and out in the market we couldn’t be happier.”

The new beer, Di(cat)omy, which some beer fans may find begins interesting conceptual debates while others may reject entirely, will be available online and in-store at Kill The Cat or at the Gravity Well Tap Room in Leyton as well as via selected retailers in limited quantities.

Kill The Cat, which was established in 2016, is set to soon take its business to the next level with its new bar and kitchen set to be based in London’s Spitalfields Market with a planned opening for July 2023.

Gravity Well, which first opened in Leyton where its taproom still operates, is well known for its three core beers: Cosmic Dust, Termination Shock and Galaxies Apart as well as its propensity for experimentation.

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