The Friday Mash (Pac-Man Edition)

Thirty-five years ago today, Namco released the classic arcade game Pac-Man, which became a staple of 1980s popular culture. Over the years, Pac-Man machines have gobbled up some 10 billion quarters, making it one of the highest-grossing video games of all time.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in the Atacama Desert in Chile, where the Atrapaneblina brewery relies on water collected from fog nets to make its Scottish ale. The brewery’s name is Spanish for “fog-catcher.”

Better late than never for this article. John Hendrickson of Esquire magazine had an interesting interview with Blue Moon brewmaster John Legnard at this years South by Southwest.

With summer just around the corner, Meghan Storey of CraftBeer.com has assembled a slideshow of the best seasonal beers in your part of the country.

Yet another reason to consider San Diego for a beer vacation: craft breweries are opening south of the border in Tijuana.

Kalamazoo has so many breweries that the city and a tour company have teamed up to offer downtown craft beer walking tours.

Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com says that beer ads are becoming less sexist. SABMiller and Heineken want to broaden their appeal beyond young men getting sloshed on Saturday night.

Finally, the shape of your glass can influence whether you wind up having too many. Straight glasses and those with the amounts marked are less conducive to over-indulging than curved and unmarked glasses.

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You Be the Judge

Once in a Blue Moon, lawsuits like this get filed. Evan Parent, a San Diego man, has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing MillerCoors of false and deceptive advertising—namely, by holding out Blue Moon as a “craft beer.”

Much of Parent’s argument rests on Blue Moon being brewed by MillerCoors, which is too big to meet the Brewers Association’s definition of “craft brewery.” Further, Parent contends that the big brewery fails to identify itself on Blue Moon products. He also attacks the MillerCoors trademarked term, “Artfully Crafted.”

The Brewers Association has stayed out of this litigation, emphasizing that it only defines “craft brewers,” not “craft beers.”

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The Friday Mash (Pluto Edition)

Eighty-five years ago today, Pluto was officially named. Upon its discovery, Pluto was recognized as the solar system’s ninth planet. However, in 2006 the International Astronomical Union’s formal definition of “planet,” resulted in Pluto’s demotion to dwarf-planet status.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Wisconsin, where the fifth annual Madison Beer Week kicks off today. Co-founder Jeffrey Glazer talks about the growth of Beer Week and how beer culture has changed in Madison.

If you’re on the Paleo Diet, grain-based beer is off the menu. Scientists say it shouldn’t be. Our ancestors were creative enough to turn both grain and fruit into alcoholic beverages.

Nicolette Wenzell of the Palm Springs Historical Society takes us back to the 1950s, when the El Mirador Hotel hosted a weekly Bavarian Night. The event became so popular that local stores stocked lederhosen and felt hats.

Anti-alcohol groups are criticizing Ben & Jerry’s for getting into the beer business. The ice-cream maker is collaborating with New Belgium Brewing Company to make Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale, to be released this fall.

Paste magazine assembled a panel of experts to rank 39 American wheat beers. The overall winner was Allagash White.

Notable NBA draft bust Darko Milicic has embarked on a new career in the world of kickboxing. He’s also perfected the art of chugging a beer with no hands.

Finally, the owners of Scottish brewery Brewdog have big plans. They hope to expand their brewery, and add a distillery and a hotel to the operation. Also on the drawing board: opening 15 to 20 Brewdog bars across the U.K.

Fun With Numbers

British beer writer Martyn Cornell has written a new book, A Craft Beer Road Trip Around Britain, with snapshots of 40 of Britain’s top small breweries. His interviews of the brewers at these establishments resulted in ssome interesting statistics. Cornell cautions that with a sample size this small, these should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • Eight percent of the brewers had a Ph.D.
  • 40 percent have a home brewing background, a number that strikes Cornell as low.
  • 35 percent wore black T-shirts or polo shirts bearing their brewery’s logo. Jeans and industrial boots complete the uniform.
  • 48 per cent have beards. However, their beards aren’t as bushy as those of their American counterparts.
  • 45 percent use Cascade hops in at least one of their beers.
  • 30 percent use Maris Otter barley.
  • “Farm” appears in the name of 12 percent of their breweries.
  • Eight percent of the craft breweries are based in railway arches.
  • Five percent of breweries have artistic graffiti all over their interior walls.
  • The Friday Mash (Hubble Telescope Edition)

    Twenty-five years ago today, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit. The telescope, which has had five in-space service calls by NASA astronauts, is still functioning and is expected to last another five years.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, where Krista Dotzenrod caught a foul ball in her beer cup and, at the urging fans, chugged the beer. The hashtag for this is #ChugBall.

    “Raising the Bar”, which began last year in New York, is a program in which scholars give lectures in pubs and other venues. Recently, Hong Kong became the first Asian city to stage this event.

    Australian prime minister Tony Abbott sent a mixed message about binge drinking when he downed a 12-ounce schooner of beer seven seconds at a Sydney bar.

    A bar in Maple Grove, Minnesota, must deal with the dreaded Beer Police. Its offense? Buying kegs of New Glarus Spotted Cow from a Wisconsin liquor store and bringing them across the state line.

    The government of Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country, has outlawed the sale of beer at convenience stores. Small retailers account for around 60 percent of the country’s beer sales.

    Tomorrow is Dark Lord Day, and host Three Floyds Brewery has something new for festival-goers: Dark Lord-infused hot sauce, made with ancho and guajillo chili peppers.

    Finally, Brook Bristow, executive director of the South Carolina Brewers Guild, was presented with the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award at last week’s Craft Brewers Conference. Working pro bono, Bristow’s law firm successfully lobbied for craft-friendly laws in the Palmetto State.

    Harpoon Ex-CEO Returns to the Beer Business

    Rich Doyle, former CEO of Harpoon Brewery, is back in the brewing business. Nine months after selling his stake in Harpoon, he’s joined forces with Friedman, Fleisher & Lowe, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, to form Enjoy Beer LLC. The new venture will create partnerships with craft brewers who wish to preserve their local independence, while gaining shared resources in areas such as marketing, logistics, and finance in order to compete with larger competitors.

    Abita Brewing, the group’s founding brewery partner, has reportedly sold a stake in the company in order to join the new enterprise. Abita CEO David Blossman said, “Enjoy Beer will pioneer a new model in the industry, and together, we will help these independent companies compete at the next level by expanding their resources and their reach.” Abita recently completed a $30 million expansion that will increase its brewing capacity to 400,000 barrels a year. Its current annual production is 160,000 barrels, which ranks it 21st on the list of largest craft breweries.

    Indiana Beer Bar Owner’s Support for LGBT Rights

    Last week, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed Senate Bill 101, which would prevent state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means. Critics contend that the law gives business owners a license to discriminate, especially against gays and lesbians.

    Businessman Scott Wise, who owns the Scotty’s Brewhouse chain in Indiana, wrote an open letter explaining his opposition to the law. After identifying himself as a born-again Christian, Wise went on to say, “Several of my employees are openly gay, proud and happy” and that “I consider all of them my colleagues and even more so, my friends.” Wise called his guests’ sexual orientation “utterly unimportant in running a business, nor any of my personal business.”

    Cyd Zeigler of OutSports.com has asked supporters of LBGT rights who’ll be in Indianapolis for this weekend’s Final Four to join him at Scotty’s downtown location Friday evening at 7 pm. The establishment is just a few blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the games will be played.

    An Oral History of Beer Label Design

    As the craft beer industry grows more crowded, it becomes increasingly important for breweries to distinguish themselves from the competition. One way of doing so, aside from the beer itself, is the look and feel of the beer’s packaging. Chris Wright of GearPatrol.com sought out a number of leading figures in the craft community, and asked them about the design of their beer labels.

    Wright’s panel of experts includes Brooklyn Brewery’s Milton Glazer, who founded New York magazine and designed the iconic “I (Heart) NY” logo in the 1970s; Flying Dog Ales’ Erin Weston, who works closely with Hunter S. Thompson’s illustrator Ralph Steadman; and Dogfish Head Brewery’s Sam Calagione, who really needs no introduction. Ten other designers, representing such well-known brands as Founders, Ommegang, and Sly Fox, also contributed to this fascinating oral history.

    The designers come from various walks of life; and, as expected, many of them are home brewers. They explained to Wright what they wanted their labels to convey, such as psychedelia or fond memories of the beach. Perhaps the best comment came from Calagione, who told Wright that label design has become a challenge. He said, “It’s getting harder to find fun, provocative on-brand names these days with 1.5 new breweries opening every day and only half a million words in the English language.”

    The Friday Mash (Iditarod Edition)

    Thirty years ago today, Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. “Mushers,” as competitors are called, must brave dangerous cold, blizzards, and whiteout conditions on the 1,135-mile course from Willow to Nome, Alaska.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in St. Paul, where a delegation of Minnesotans—including state lawmakers—made a symbolic beer run to Wisconsin to protest their state’s ban on Sunday alcohol sales.

    A group of writers at Fortune magazine took a stab at deciding what your choice of beer brand says about you. For instance, Amstel Light says, “Thank God the beer is free at this office party.”

    Rhys Morgan, a student at the University of Cardiff in Wales, figured out how to make a bottle opener out of a sheet of paper. His YouTube tutorial has more than 350,000 views.

    Civil engineer Dave McWilliams won first prize in a home brewing contest. And what a prize it was: the opportunity to brew a batch of IPA at Anheuser-Busch’s pilot brewery in St. Louis.

    Tap beer is served at 38 degrees. That’s fine for mass-market lagers, but it’s too cold for craft beers, which should be served at temperatures between the mid-40s and the upper 50s.

    Beer is expensive in New York City, but an app called Price Per Pint can help find the cheapest drinks, as well as specific happy-hour times and daily specials at hundreds of establishments.

    Finally, staffers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation brewed up a beer protest of the National Security Agency’s “three-hop” surveillance program. Their beer is called “Stormbrew” and yes, the recipe is available to the public under a Creative Commons license.

    The Friday Mash (San Diego State U. Edition)

    On this day in 1897, San Diego State University was established. The 35,000 students at SDSU have an amazing selection of craft beer to choose from. At the end of 2014, the county had nearly 100 breweries and brewpubs.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Houston, where the Texas Beer Refinery has opened for business. Its fermenting tanks and brew kettles have been made to look like refinery towers from a distance.

    Goose Island Brewing Company’s 20-year-old brewery on Chicago’s Near West Side will start offering tours and tastings later this month. The tasting room will also offer growler fills.

    Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company has brewed a beer to benefit James Madison’s Montpelier. Ambition Ale, “a beer with checks and balances,” will be available in central Virginia this summer.

    Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen, Oregon’s largest-selling craft beer, is now co-branded with Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers. Both the brewery and the team are Portland institutions.

    Goldcrest 51 beer was popular in Memphis until the Tennessee Brewing Company closed its doors in 1955. Beer writer Kenn Flemmons plans to revive the beer this spring, using the original recipe.

    A federal appeals court has ruled that Flying Dog Ales can sue Michigan for damages over its refusal to approve the label for Raging Bitch IPA. The state’s decision was overturned in court.

    Finally, a new beer from Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company honors cherry farmer Nancy Bunting, who supplied it with thousands of pounds of cherries. Allagash has donated part of the proceeds from “Nancy” to a charity that helps farmworkers with health problems.

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