The Friday Mash (Henry Hudson Edition)

On this day in 1609, explorer Henry Hudson became the first European to discover Delaware Bay. If you live near Cape May, New Jersey, or Lewes, Delaware, you can celebrate on Saturday at a beer festival held in two different states, but on the same bay.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in North Carolina, where festivals have been the target of a summer crackdown on liquor code violations. Organizers contend that the rules are obsolete and confusing.

Mitsubishi Plastic has overcome a major obstacle to putting beer in plastic bottles. The company added a thin carbon film, which greatly reduces the loss of oxygen, to the inside of the bottles.

Joe Stange of Draft magazine has a word of warning: American “session beers” are much stronger than their British counterparts, which means they’ll make you drunker than you think.

When California’s She Beverage Company applied for a trademark for the “Queen of Beers,” Anheuser-Busch InBev filed a notice of opposition. A-B claims She’s marketing is almost identical to its marketing of the “King of Beers.”

A Denver-area brewery will serve “marijuana beer” at next month’s Great American Beer Festival. It doesn’t contain THC, which is against federal law, but does include cannabis oil.

Venture capitalist Robert Finkel has made an unusual career move. His brewery, Forbidden Root, specializes in beer made with botanic ingredients, including lemon myrtle which costs $75 a kilo.

Finally, a Detroit Free Press correspondent went to a festival where the taps are open all night and attendees can walk to bed. It was the sixth annual Michigan Homebrew Festival, which continues the brewing competition once held at the Michigan State Fair.

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The Friday Mash (Captain Cook Edition)

On this day in 1770, sea captain James Cook formally claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain, calling it “New South Wales.” Cook’s fleet carried four tons of beer, which were gone within a month of heading out.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin on U.S.-Canadian border, where Detroit’s Batch Brewing Company and Windsor, Ontario’s Motor Craft Ales are collaborating on Canucky Common, a Kentucky common ale.

The beer fad of 2015 is alcoholic root beer. Products such as Not Your Dad’s Root Beer look and taste much like the soft drink, but the leading brands carry close to a 6-percent alcoholic punch.

Blue Bell ice cream, beloved by southerners, is about to go back on the market. Carla Jean Whitley of AL.com recommends five pairings of Blue Bell and Alabama-brewed craft beer.

South Korea’s parliament has made it easier for craft breweries to enter the market, but those breweries still struggle to comply with a host of other regulations.

In addition to carnival rides a parade of presidential hopefuls, this year’s Iowa State Fair featured subfreezing draft beer. Air bubbles keep the liquid moving to keep the beer that cold.

New Jersey-based Cape May Brewing is making a beer to celebrate Pope Francis’s visit to the United States this fall. It’s an India pale ale called YOPO (“You Only Pope Once”).

Finally, the slogan “breakfast of champions” takes on a new meaning. General Mills, which trademarked it, is collaborating with Minneapolis’s Fulton Beer to create a beer called HefeWheaties.”

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Fred Eckhardt, RIP

Yesterday, Fred Eckhardt, the dean of American beer writers, passed away at his home in Portland, Oregon. He was 89.

In the 1960s, Eckhardt inspired thousands of beer lovers with his pioneering “A Treatise on Lager Beer.” Years before it became legal in the United States, he wrote about homebrewing and inspired many Americans, including some prominent craft brewery owners, to take it up. At a time when breweries were consolidating and almost all domestic beer was light lager, Eckhardt wrote about better beer—and challenged his readers to make something better.

Eckhardt’s writing style was legendary. Tom Dalldorf, the editor of Celebrator Beer News, said of him, “I’ve pretty much given up on giving Fred assignments, because he writes on whatever interests him and ignores the tedious requests of unenlightened editors. That’s why we call his column ‘Fred’s World.’ He’s comfortable in it, and you can only hope that some day he invites you in as well. It’s a pretty cool place to be.”

The word “unique” is badly overused, but Eckhardt truly was. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II, under a sergeant who kept a still going, even in combat zones. Later he became a Buddhist but defied that faith’s disdain of alcohol. During the Cuban missile crisis, when nuclear war seemed imminent, he decided there were more important things to do in life than take pictures of children and teach people to swim. He decided to brew beer and teach others how to do it as well.

If ever there was the proverbial life well lived, it was Fred’s.

h/t: John Foyston of The Oregonian, for his wonderful remembrance of Fred Eckhardt.

The Friday Mash (Merry Pranksters Edition)

Fifty years ago today, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters invited the Hells Angels to Kesey’s California estate. The party introduced psychedelic drugs to biker gangs, and linked the hippie movement to the Hell’s Angels. The Pranksters could have avoided this had they served beer instead.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Englewood, New Jersey, where Agnes Fenton became of the few people on Earth to celebrate a 110th birthday. Her secret? Three cans of Miller per day.

Miami Dolphins punter Brandon Fields is not only a Pro Bowler, but he’s also an all-Pro homebrewer. Fields, whose wife bought him a kit seven years ago, recently took up all-grain brewing.

Five weeks after a tornado devastated the town, the residents of Portland, Michigan, came together at a beer festival. The logo for one beer, Portland Strong Strawberry Stout, featured a red tornado.

Svalbard, an island in the Norwegian Arctic, is now home to the world’s northernmost brewery. Last year, the island lifted a decades-old ban on brewing.

The Fat Cat Pub in Norwich, England, has named a beer in honor of Cecil the lion, who was killed by an American dentist. Its name, “Cecil’s Revenge,” was chosen by the pub’s customers.

Last Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of Fritz Maytag’s acquiring majority ownership of the Anchor Brewing Company. Tom Rutonno of CNBC recaps this now-famous brewery’s history.

Finally, technology and the growing popularity of craft beer has created new legal issues. Kalamazoo Beer Exchange has filed a trademark infringement suit against the developer of an app for beer collectors. The parties use the same handle on social media.

The Friday Mash (Liberator Edition)

On this day in 1783, Simon Bolivar, “The Liberator,” was born. Bolivar was instrumental role in making Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela independent of Spanish rule. Toast him with a glass of Polar beer, “The People’s Beer” of Venezuela.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Milwaukee, where Pabst Brewing Company is returning to its original location. Pabst’s owner, Eugene Kashper, says the brewery will new small-batch beers, based on Pabst’s archived recipes, while staying true to its roots.

A new Indiana law classifies retirement communities as homes, so they no longer need a liquor license to serve alcohol to residents. One problem not likely to occur: underage drinking.

Mark your calendars. Next year’s Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference will be held at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. The dates are July 8-10.

Jackie Speier, a congresswoman from California, announced on her Facebook page that she’s introduced legislation that would allow the U.S. Postal Service to ship alcoholic beverages.

The clever folks at Printsome.com have designed beer labels to match the personalities of Facebook, Google, Nike, and 14 other highly recognizable corporations.

Yes, you can get an India pale ale—along with a host of other craft beers—in India. The subcontinent’s first brewpub, Doolally in the city of Pune, opened its doors in 2009. A slew of others have followed.

Finally, the Buffalo Wild Wings in Tacoma displays a bottle of Corona with a lime slice underneath an American flag. An unidentified woman ordered the Corona and placed it in front of an adjoining seat in honor of her brother, who was killed while on duty in Iraq.

Meet the New Head Brewer at Deschutes

Next month, Karl Ockert will become Director of Brewing Operations at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. His hiring is part of Deschutes’ planned expansion, which includes building a second brewery in the East in 2017.

Ockert’s career has come full circle. After graduating from the University of California, Davis, he helped start BridgePort Brewing Co. in Portland in 1984 with Dick and Nancy Ponzi. After leaving BridgePort, he worked at three breweries in the Northwest, was a brewing supervisor for Anheuser-Busch in New Jersey, served as technical director for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and worked as a consultant for his own firm.

Ockert has quite a story to tell. In a recent interview with the Bend Bulletin he discussed, among other things, his career in brewing, Deschutes’ future, and the state of the craft beer market.

The Friday Mash (Monkey Trial Edition)

Ninety years ago today, the “Monkey Trial” trial of science teacher John Scopes began. The trial, famously depicted in Inherit the Wind, made Dayton, Tennessee, the focus of world-wide attention. Beer was not served outside the courthouse because Prohibition was in effect.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in San Diego, where Comic-Con is underway. If you’re taking part, Andre Dyer of City Beat magazine has some suggestions as to where you can taste the local craft beer.

Those hard-to-find beers are becoming more available–if you have money. Even though shipping alcoholic beverages is against the law, the chances of getting busted for it are negligible.

Hailstorm Brewing Company has released Captain Serious #19 Pale Ale in honor of Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Chicago has won three of the last six Stanley Cups.

Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S are building breweries in Myanmar. Eighty percent of Myanmar’s adults drink beer, and the country’s largest brewery is owned by current and former military personnel.

Beer shortages loom in Venezuela. Strikes at the Polar brewing company, which controls 80 percent of the market, have shut down half the brewery’s plants and forced others to run at reduced capacity.

Naragansett beer, once a New England favorite, has once again become popular—and not just in New England. What makes its revival even more amazing is that the brewery accomplished it on a shoestring media budget of $100,000.

Finally, a Danish music festival will collect attendees’ urine, which will be used to fertilize barley plants that will be used in a beer to be served at the 2017 festival. Organizers call this—admit it, you saw this coming—“Piss to Pilsner.”

Bugs As a Beer Ingredient?

Melanie Pierce, the founder of San Diego’s The Brewbies Fest, collaborates with local breweries to brew pink beers for her festival, which raises money for breast cancer awareness. The problem with pink beers is that pink doesn’t fit into established color spectrums. Pierce has come up with an unconventional alternative: ground-up insects.

She uses insects called cochineal, which are native to Latin America and have been used for centuries to create textile dyes. The creatures get their color by drinking the crimson juices of the prickly pear cactus. When they’re crushed, the resulting product is a pigment called carmine.

If using insects as a beer ingredient sounds nasty, you might be surprised to learn that cochineal were used until recently to create the red color of the liqueur Campari.

The Revival of Brewing in Alaska

Geoff and Marcy Larson, owners of the Alaskan Brewing Company, overcame long odds in building a successful business. During the 1970s, a German brewing company opened Prinz Brau in Anchorage. Despite generous incentives from the state government, Prinz Brau went under after three years.

When the Larsons decided to open a brewery, it appeared that Alaska was too isolated and too thinly populated to support one. The local banks turned them down for financing, so they ended up raising funds from more than 80 individuals.

In December 1986, the Juneau-based company shipped its first beer: 253 cases of Chinook Alaskan Amber Beer, as it was called then. Shipping is problematic in Alaska: the beer had to be ferried to Haines, then trucked to Anchorage. And, because locally-grown hops and barley weren’t available, the Larsons resorted to a pre-Prohibition recipe that called for the sparing use of hops.

Alaskan’s beer gained a following at home, and its reputation spread. Today, it’s distributed to 16 of the “Lower 48” states.

The Friday Mash (Very Endangered Species Edition)

On this day in 1844, the last two known great auks were killed. These large flightless penguin-like birds, which lived in the North Atlantic, were hunted to extinction because their down was in high demand in Europe.

And on that auk-ward note…The Mash!

We begin in China, where designer Li Rongjun has built an office out of 8,500 empty beer bottles. Rongjun has a degree in construction from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology.

Lagunitas Brewing Company will build a third brewery in Asuza, California. The new plant, with a projected capacity of more than 400,000 barrels a year, is expected to open in early 2017.

Molson’s Beer Fridge will make an appearance at this month’s Pan-American Games in Toronto. The latest edition will dispense a free Molson to those who say “I Am Canadian” in any of 40 languages.

Anita Brown, an artist in Los Angeles, has designed beers for each of the books in the Harry Potter series. They include Pilsner of Azkaban, Amber of Secrets, and Deathly Hops (h/t Jay Brooks).

Queen is the latest rock group to release its own beer. It’s a pilsner that will be called—what else?—Bohemian Rhapsody. The bottle’s design features a crest designed by Freddie Mercury himself while he was in college.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria has pulled a custom-brewed batch of ale from Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico. 5 Rabbit’s founder, is a native of Costa Rica.

Finally, New Orleans is rarely associated with German culture, but Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, a year-round, Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall, will open this summer in the city’s Warehouse District.

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