The Friday Mash (Emoticon Edition)

On this day in 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons, :-) and :-( , on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System. So now you know who to blame.

And now….The (emoticon-free) Mash!

We begin in Israel, where Itsik Levy named his brewery “Isis” after an Egyptian goddess. Now that the Islamic State is using that name, Levy said—tongue in cheek—that he’s considering “a massive lawsuit” against it.

D’oh! Australian regulators ordered Woolworth’s to stop selling Duff beer because the brand’s association with The Simpsons made it too appealing to would-be underage drinkers.

Scientists say that the fastest way to chill beer is to pour plenty of salt into a bucket of water, then add ice, and then drop in the beer. It’ll be cold in 20 minutes or less.

For Ohio to get Stone Brewing Company’s second brewery, lawmakers will have to raise the ABV cap. Some of Stone’s ales exceed the current 12-percent cap and thus can’t be brewed in Ohio.

Britain’s Prince Harry celebrated his 30th birthday by downing a beer at the Invictus Games. He has good reason to celebrate: now that he’s 30, he inherits $17.4 million from his mother, the late Princess Diana.

The Beer Geeks are returning to this year’s Great American Beer Festival. They’re a corps of 3,000 volunteers who are trained by the Brewers Association to tell festival-goers more about the beers they’re sampling.

Finally, Beverage Grades, a Denver company that analyzes the content of beer and wine, offers a “Copy Cat” app which tells where you can find beer with similar tastes to those you like.

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Beer…By the Numbers

  • Cost of a one-year, all-the-Asahi-you-can-drink, passport at Brasserie Beer Boulevard in Tokyo: 29,800 yen ($282).
  • Average cost of a draft Asahi in downtown Tokyo: 500 yen ($4.74).
  • Wages and benefits paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $79 billion.
  • Total taxes paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $49 billion.
  • Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 52.9 million.
  • Percentage of Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 17.1.
  • New Glarus Brewing Company’s production in 2013: 146,000 barrels.
  • States in which New Glarus beer is sold: 1 (its home state of Wisconsin).
  • Vermont’s current brewery count: 56.
  • Its brewery count two years ago: 31.
  • Vermont’s annual sales of craft beer: $100 million.
  • Record for most one-liter beer mugs carried by one person: 27 (by Oliver Struempfel of Abensburg, Germany).
  • Total weight of 27 full one-liter mugs: 135 pounds.
  • Breweries represented at this year’s Michigan Brewers Guild U.P. (Upper Peninsula) Beer Festival: 61.
  • Beers poured at the U.P. Beer Festival: more than 400.
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    Great American Beer Bars

    The votes have been counted in the annual “Great American Beer Bars” competition, and the five regional winners, announced earlier this week on the Brewers Association’s CraftBeer.com site, are:

  • The Bier Stein (Eugene, Oregon), which serves more than 1,000 different beers in bottles and cans and always has 30 rotating beers on draft.
  • Cloverleaf Tavern (Caldwell, New Jersey), where “it’s easy to become lost among the beers on tap and the selection of over 65 bottled beers.”
  • Falling Rock Tap House (Denver, Colorado), which specializes in draft beers and is the unofficial after-hours headquarters of the Great American Beer Festival®.
  • HopCat (Grand Rapids, Michigan), which has 48 draft beers at all times, about half of which are brewed in Michigan.
  • Mekong Restaurant (Richmond, Virginia), a three-time winner, which has more than 50 draft beers and over 200 bottle offerings.
  • Ludwig offers his congratulations to these fine establishments.

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    MGM Enters the Festival Business

    Here’s another sign of the growing popularity of beer festivals. In Las Vegas, MGM has teamed up with the organizers of the Oregon Brewers Festival to put on a festival to be held on the Strip a week from Saturday. The festival, called Blvd Beer Fest, will feature a selection of Oregon-brewed beers not normally available in southern Nevada, along with an entertainment lineup headed by The Kings of Leon. MGM hopes that the event will drive traffic to its 11 hotels on the Strip and give its guests a wider choice of things to do outdoors.

    Blvd Beer Fest will take place a week after the annual Downtown Brew Festival, organized by Motley Brews. Brian Chapin, Motley Brews’ founder, isn’t fazed by MGM’s entering the festival business. In fact, he thinks it validates the notion that craft beer has become popular in Las Vegas.

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    The Friday Mash (Ponderosa Edition)

    Fifty-five years ago today, the first episode of the television show Bonanza premiered on NBC. The show, which starred Lorne Greene and Michael Landon, ran for 14 seasons and 430 episodes, second only to Gunsmoke as the longest-running western of all time.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Crested Butte, Colorado, where residents are hopping mad over a clandestine deal to let Anheuser-Busch turn their ski town into a living Bud Light commercial.

    John Holl asked some of his fellow beer writers, “if beer were invented today, what would it look like?” The answers may surprise you.

    Heavy late-summer rains in Montana and Idaho have ruined much of the barley crop. A disappointing barley harvest could translate into higher beer prices next year.

    Are you ready for some football? The folks at Thrillist are, and they’ve picked a local beer for each of the National Football League’s 32 teams.

    Add chili pepper-infused beers to the list of craft brewing trends. USA Today’s Mike Snider reviews some popular chili beers, including one made with extra-potent ghost peppers.

    Raise a glass to Jake Leinenkugel, who is retiring as the brewery’s CEO. According to a hometown journalist, Leinenkugel has earned a place in craft brewing history.

    Finally, Marc Confessore of Staten Island showed us how not to pair food and beer. He got caught trying to sneak four cases of Heineken and 48 packages of bacon out of a grocery store.

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    Marijuana “Brew” in Washington State

    Edible marijuana products are available in the two states where recreational pot is legal. Now customers can buy “marijuana brew” in Washington State. Mirth Provisions, a maker of edibles, has debuted the “Legal” line of cannabis-infused beverages. A bottle, which contains 10 mg of liquid cannabis–the equivalent of one joint–retails for $10. “Legal” is available in three flavors, Sparkling Rainier Cherry, Sparkling Lemon Ginger, and Sparking Pomegranate; and coffee drinks will be available soon.

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    Beer States, Ranked

    These rankings come courtesy of Ben Robinson, Andy Kryza, and Matt Lynch of Thrillist.com. Before calling the roll of the states, the authors explain their criteria: “Quantity and quality are both important, but quality’s a bit MORE important. If you’re a small state turning out a disproportionate amount of great beer, it did not go unrecognized. We also gave a boost to states who played a historical role in American beer as we know it today.”

    Heading the list is Oregon (”Even the ‘crappy’ breweries by Portland standards would bury most of their peers”), followed by California (”San Diego…the most dominating beer city in world history”), Colorado (”Beer is everywhere. Everywhere is beer”), Michigan (which “some of the best damned breweries in the country”), and Washington (”home to more than 200 breweries, highlighted by greatness”).

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the bottom five: Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and coming in dead last, Mississippi.

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    The Friday Mash (Razor Sharp Edition)

    On this day in 1698, Tsar Peter I of Russia decided to Westernize his country by imposing a tax on beards for all men except the clergy and peasantry. That tax would have killed Russia’s craft brewing industry, had one existed at the time.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Texas, whose residents insist that everything is bigger. The Austin Beer Works lived up to that reputation by selling 99-packs of its “Peacemaker Anytime Ale.”

    The remains of what appears to be a nearly 300-year-old brewery have been discovered on the campus of William and Mary. It made small beer for the college’s colonial-era faculty and students.

    Are beer enthusiasts getting too fixated on ratings? CraftBeer.com’s Chris McClellan, who watched a feeding frenzy ensue when a top-rated beer arrived at a store, thinks they have.

    A deconsecrated church, an ex-funeral home, and a military base are among Esquire magazine’s 14 strangest brewery locations in America.

    Gizmodo.com’s Karl Smallwood explains why beer is rarely sold in plastic bottles. They contain chemicals that ruin the beer’s taste; and they allow carbon dioxide to escape, making the beer flat.

    Archaeologist Alyssa Looyra has re-created a beer from a bottle found near the site of the Atlantic Beer Garden, a 19th-century New York City hangout. It’s “a light summer drink.”

    Finally, the Leinenkugel Brewing Company took the high road when it discovered that Kenosha’s Rustic Road Brewing was already using the name “Helles Yeah.” CEO Dick Leinenkugel showed up and bought the name for a few cases of beer, some pizza, and an undisclosed sum of money.

    The Eco-Honor Roll

    For the past five years, the San Francisco-based Seedling Project has given out the Good Food Awards, which recognize of high-quality food made in a environmentally responsible manner. The awards have a beer category. To be considered, a brewery has to recycle water, source locally, and not use genetically modified ingredients; and for a beer to win, it has to taste good as well.

    The latest issue of the Sierra Club magazine mentions five Good Food Award-winning beers: Port City Brewing Optimal Wit, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Bear Republic Cafe Racer 15 Double IPA, Victory Helios Ale, and Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale. Those five would make an awfully good flight of tasters.

    To Your Health?

    A copy of the 1964 book, The Drinking Man’s Diet, led New York Times food writer Mark Bittman to write a column titled The Drinker’s Manifesto. It’s a response to the inflated warnings about the effects of drinking on one’s health.

    The Centers for Disease Control flatly says that drinking too much is “dangerous,” and can “lead to heart disease, breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sudden infant death syndrome, motor-vehicle crashes, and violence.” Bittman responds: “Many of these dangerous effects are indirect and can be mitigated: If you don’t have sex or get into a car after drinking, you can’t possibly get pregnant or in a car accident. (One thing about drinking alcohol, though: It can cause bad judgment.) The more direct ones, like heart disease and breast cancer, have so many risk factors that drinking may perhaps be discounted, especially in moderation. And there’s evidence that drinking ‘the right amount’—which is less than “too much”—can be good for you.”

    The CDC also says that excessive alcohol consumption causes 88,000 deaths a year and “costs the economy about $224 billion.” However, Bittman points out that obesity-related illnesses cause somewhere around 112,000 deaths, and cost maybe a trillion dollars—and you don’t see any health warnings on a bottle of Coke.

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