The Friday Mash (Wednesday Edition)

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, which means that Ludwig, our beer-drinking lion, is spending quality time with his pride. His first stop is, of course, the Detroit Lions game at Ford Field. Then, after he and the other lions feast (on zebra and all the trimmings, of course), he’s going to take a long nap. He’ll be back next Friday with the regular edition of…

The Mash! 

We begin in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where The Field hosted its annual Pub Debate over whether marijuana should be legalized. The debate was conducted under British parliamentary rules, and both drinking and heckling were encouraged.

Chris Bosh of the NBA’s Miami Heat hosted a block party for his neighborhood. Bosh, an avid homebrewer, included a growler of his beer with each invitation.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has launched the Alpha Hops Society. For a $250 annual fee, members will receive a quarterly release of small-batch experimental brews.

Last month’s mega-merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller has put midsize brands such as Carlsberg and Heineken in a squeeze between a goliath with one-third of the industry’s market share and a growing craft sector.

The “Flux Capacitor” is back from the future. Treadwell Park, a beer hall in Manhattan has installed the device, which lets bartenders control the carbonation and temperature of each beer.

Here’s evidence that beer pong can be educational. Alex, from, hosts a two-minute video in which he uses the game to explain the solar photovoltaic effect.

Finally, beer, then whiskey. Rhonda Kallman, co-founder of the Boston Beer Company and a craft beer legend, has started a new venture, the Boston Harbor Distillery. It makes whiskey out of—you guessed it—Sam Adams beer.

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How Oskar Blues Managed Growth

Can a craft brewery get the funds needed to expand without its independence? Dale Katechis, the CEO of Oskar Blues Brewery, found an answer. Instead of selling out to a larger brewery, he brought in Fireman Capital, a private-equity firm in Boston. Katechis met Dan Fireman while developing a succession plan for his brewery, and concluded that Fireman would make a good business partner. He said, “It was refreshing to meet someone who understood the heart and the soul of this business was and knew how important the heart and the soul is to it. Sometimes, it isn’t the best business decisions that are the heart and the soul.”

Oskar Blues used some of Fireman’s cash to acquire Perrin Brewing Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Katechis was introduced to the brewery by Keith Klopcic, a co-owner of Oskar Blues’s Michigan distributor. Perrin had gone from zero to 14,000 barrels in two years, and had a distribution network in place; however, it “wasn’t into packaging.” After taking over the brewery, Katechis introduced a canning line. Cash flow doubled within three months, and Perrin is expected to grow substantially. Klopcic is in charge of Perrin, which will remain independent of Oskar Blues.

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The Friday Mash (One Whale Of An Edition)

On this day in 1820, in the South Pacific, an 80-ton whale attacked the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick–admit it, you read the Cliff’s Notes for that title-is in part inspired by this story.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Leeds, where two men refused to let a rainstorm, or the flooding from that storm, stop them from enjoying a pint in a pub’s beer garden. Their Sunday roast, however, was rained out.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione has been named executive editor of Pallet, a quarterly magazine aimed at people who “like to think and drink.” Pallet’s subtitle is “Only interested in everything.”

Historians have concluded that the Pilgrims didn’t have beer at the original Thanksgiving feast. That, however, shouldn’t stop you from serving beer with your Turkey Day dinner.

Louisville plans to revive a tradition from more than a century ago: a party to celebrate the release of bock beer. The NuLu Bock Beer Festival will take place next spring.

A beer garden made from shipping containers? It’s coming to the port city of Long Beach, California. Called SteelCraft, it will feature beer from Smog City and other local micros, along with gourmet food.

Samuel Adams Utopias, an ultra-high-gravity (28 percent ABV), and ultra-expensive (suggested retail price: $199) beer is back. The current batch, the ninth brewed since 2002, contains previous vintages going back to 1992.

Finally, Sadie Snyder, a Massachusetts woman who celebrated her 106th birthday, credits beer for her longevity. She had her first beer at age six thanks to her father, who worked in the beer industry.

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The Friday Mash (College Football Edition)

On this day in 1869, host Rutgers College defeated the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University), 6-4, in the first-ever intercollegiate football game. How much beer was consumed before and after the game is lost to history.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Richmond, Virginia, which is floating $23 million in bonds to finance the construction of a second plant for Stone Brewing Company.

Pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who chugs cans of beer in the ring, has teamed up with El Segundo Brewing Company. The new beer is called Broken Skull IPA.

A start-up company in Belfast has invented a a beer-making machine called the BrewBot, which takes care of temperature and liquid pumping on its own.

Statistician Dr. Nathan Yau, using the website Flowing Data, figured out the most efficient route for taking a beer-tasting road trip around the continental U.S. The itinerary is 12,299 miles long.

Cara, a Canadian beer bar chain, has rescinded a dress code that forced Bier Markt’s female servers to wear revealing dresses. Some believe Cara was violating Ontario’s civil-rights laws.

South Korea’s exports in general have fallen but its beer exports are strong, partly because Iraqi Kurds and young Chinese drinkers prefer a beverage with a lower alcoholic content.

Finally, struggling presidential candidate Lindsey Graham flubbed his stint tending bar before taking part in a debate in Colorado. Graham, whose father tended bar, served up a pint with 15 ounces of foam.

Founding Fathers of San Diego Beer

San Diego has become one of the nation’s premier beer cities, both for the number of breweries and the quality of beer they produce. Its road to craft beer prominence began in 1989, when two friends in Mission Beach, Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner, founded the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. The brewery’s namesake was Cramer’s cousin, who had been trained in Germany as a brewer before World War II and fled before the Holocaust.

A number of Karl Strauss alumni went on to open their own breweries. Scott Stamp, the original bartender at Karl Strauss, went on to open Callahan’s and the San Diego Brewing Company. Their original cocktail waitress Gina Marsaglia opened Pizza Port Brewery in 1992 with her brother Vince. That same year, the brewery’s original tour guide, Jack White, started Home Brew Mart.

During Home Brew Mart’s early days, a customer named Yuseff Cherney so impressed White with his knowledge of beer that White hired him on the spot. Cherney later became the chief operating officer and head brewer at Ballast Point Brewing Company. At the same time, Cherney was working with fellow UC San Diego student Chris White, a post-graduate biochemistry student who later started White Labs, one of the nation’s premier yeast laboratories.

As for Karl Strauss, the brewery ranks 45th in production among the nation’s craft breweries, even though its distribution is limited to California.

Sam Calagione Returns to TV

This fall, First We Feast will air a six-episode series titled “That’s Odd, Let’s Drink It,” which the network describes as an improv version of brewing. The star of the series is Sam Calagione, the founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Brewery, who will brew never-seen-before beers with celebrity guests. The guest list includes rapper Mac Miller, NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, DJ Z-Trip, and actors Ken Marino and Joe Lo Truglio.

The Friday Mash (World Anesthesia Day Edition)

On this day in 1846, William T.G. Morton first demonstrated ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Each year the medical community honors this breakthrough with World Anesthesia Day. If ether “isn’t right for you”, we suggest having a beer instead.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Iowa City, where the informal University of Iowa “Beer Band” has suspended itself—at least for the time being—after townspeople complained abou X-rated song lyrics.

Beer author John Holl interviewed Dr. Chris White, the founder of yeast provider White Labs. Topics include sour beer, brewer education, and White’s new facility in North Carolina.

Chicago restaurateur Rick Bayless is introducing genuine Mexican-style beers. He’s opened a brewpub, and has also formed a brewing partnership with Constellation Brands .

Years ago, graphic designer Harvey Shepherd fell in love with beer packaging. He’s turned his avocation into the recently-published Oh Beautiful Beer: The Evolution of Craft Beer and Design.

Business consultant Chip Martella has good news and bad news for craft brewers. The dreaded industry shakeup has arrived, but a scrappy craft brewer can still succeed in this environment.

Carla Jean Whitley of details the revival of brewing in Alabama. Now that lawmakers have eased many Prohibition-era restrictions, the state’s brewery count has risen to 28.

Finally, declining sales of American light beer have forced breweries to rethink their advertising strategies. Their new ads will stress product quality, and will carry more woman-friendly messages.

The Friday Mash (Black Sox Edition)

On this day in 1919, the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Chicago White Sox 5 games to 3, in the World Series. Eight members of the White Sox were later accused of intentionally losing games in exchange for taking bribes from gamblers. All eight were banned for life.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Boston, where an Israeli company’s water purification technology is converting the Charles River’s famous “dirty water” into a new pale ale by Harpoon Brewing Company.

Some establishments are trying to cut costs by replacing bartenders with self-serve taps. However, human beings are still needed to check IDs and make sure intoxicated patrons don’t get served.

Anheuser-Busch has invented the Bud Light “Bud-e Fridge”. This wi-fi-enabled appliance will provide your mobile phone with real-time updates on your beer supply.

In an effort to attract moms in their 20s and 30s, Chuck E. Cheese is adding beer and wine to the beverage menu. The chain is also offering thin-crust and gluten-free pizza.

Raleigh television station WRAL interviewed Rodenbach Brewery’s Rudi Ghequire, the “father of sour beer”, about the style’s growing popularity in the U.S.

Authorities in Casablanca have canceled a beer festival because it violated local laws and customs. Morocco is a Muslim country, but tourists and non-Muslims are allowed to drink.

Finally, the Straight to Ale brewery in Huntsville, Alabama, honors the city’s NASA heritage with a “space beers” series. Its ales have honored the International Space Station, Laika the Soviet space dog, and even unobtanium from the movie Avatar.

Dogfish Head Does Deal With Private Equity Firm

On Monday, Sam Calagione, the CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Inc., told his employees that LNK Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, has taken a 15-percent stake in the brewery. As part of the deal, LNK would be given one seat on the company’s board of directors.

Calagione made it clear that Dogfish Head will remain a family-led and -controlled business. He also said that LNK was in accord with his instance that the deal wouldn’t lead to an initial public offering, interfere with the brewery’s “off-centered” culture, or stress fast growth over “smart growth”.

Dogfish Head, the nation’s 13th largest craft brewery, produces 175,000 barrels a year.

How the GABF Came to Be

Last night, the 34th Great American Beer Festival came to an end. There wouldn’t have been a 34th GABF, or even a first one, had it not been for Charlie Papazian—and, perhaps, an event called “Beer and Steer”.

Beer and Steer, organized during the 1970s by Papazian, was annual beer party, held in the foothills above Boulder, Colorado. Homebrewers and beer enthusiasts gathered there each year to swap beers and recipes, and enjoy roasted meat and good company. Partiers brought down snow from higher elevations to keep the beer cold.

Each year the party grew more elaborate and more popular, forcing Papazian and his fellow organizers to limit it to 400 attendees.

The experience Papazian gained from Beer and Steer proved invaluable when he founded the American Homebrewers Association. He invited industry professionals to the National Homebrewers Conference, turning a low-key competition into an industry event. Papazian next launched the GABF, which gave aspiring craft brewers an opportunity to meet professional brewers and learn how to scale up their own operations while maintaining quality.

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