Granby hike leads to out-of-this-world discovery and brew - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Granby hike leads to out-of-this-world discovery and brew

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A view from the GoPros before a box containing beer-making materials parachuted into Granby. (Mike Prestas photo) A view from the GoPros before a box containing beer-making materials parachuted into Granby. (Mike Prestas photo)
GRANBY, CT (WFSB) -

A hike by a Granby man was cut short by an unidentified flying object he found dangling from the branches of a massive pine tree.

Mike Hanson said it was a Styrofoam box that contained cameras, cell phones, yeast and hops.

Come to find out, Hanson said the "weather balloon" was launched from Lock Haven, PA back in 2013. It traveled 120,000 feet in the air and 160 miles off course.

When the box finally parachuted back to earth, no one was there to find it until recently.

"I was just walking through the woods and I just happen to look up and i saw a box hanging from a tree suspended by a parachute," Hanson said.  

He said he came across it while on his hike through Enders State Forest.

"I was very intrigued, a little curious on what it was," Hanson said. "I had no idea what it was or how it got there."

The curiosity only grew after he used a stick to knock the container out of the tree. He then cracked the box open.

"I found two cameras, two GoPros," he said. "There were smartphones, a packet of brewer's yeast and a pack of hops." 

He recognized the materials as beer-making ingredients. He just had to figure out who launched them.

A note in the box led him to a FaceTime session with the man who started it all.

Michael Prestas, who lives in Maryland, said he launched the balloon in 2013 to honor his mother, Teresa, who had passed away.

"She never gave up and like this project, I never lost faith," Prestas said.

Prestas said the brewing ingredients were for a special toast in his mother's honor.

"We put some hops and yeast in there," he said. "We're going to make some space beer. We thought it was a great idea."

Prestas said he'll be driving up to Connecticut to get the ingredients so he can brew the beer. Then, he said he'll pour some for his new friend.

"I can't wait to meet Mike [Hanson] here," Prestas said. "I can't wait to ask him to be a part of the second launch."

Prestas said he had given up hope of finding the box. The phones inside were supposed to help him track it.

He offered Hanson a reward, but Hanson said a sip of space beer is the only thanks he needs.

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