On this day in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated. Can you name the other railroads on the Monopoly board? Time’s up. They’re the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading Railroad, and the Short Line.
We begin in Brazil, where the Polar brewery has an invention that will make it easier to converse in bars. It’s a beer cooler that cuts out GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, and 4G signals.
California’s drought could make your Lagunitas IPA will taste different. The Russian River, which provides Lagunitas with its water, is drying up, and brewery might have to find another source.
Beer was the headline ingredient in last Sunday’s “Chopped” competition on the Food Network. The show, with Stone Brewing Company’s Greg Koch as a judge, airs again on Sunday evening.
Higher zymurgical education awaits in the form of Joshua Bernstein’s new book, The Complete Beer Course. It contains a series of “classes” devoted to families of beers.
On Tuesday, when he was in Chicago to announce the award of a federal manufacturing grant, President Obama put in a plug for Goose Island Brewing Company’s “superior beer.”
A Korean romantic comedy in which the female lead makes chimek to celebrate winter’s first snow has Chinese viewers clamoring for the dish, which is Korean for “fried chicken” and “beer.”
Finally, a gathering of 490 Yelp members at Santa Anita Race Track might set a new Guinness record for beer tasters. We hope they bet on Ambitious Brew, who won the $100,000 Sensational Star stakes race.
Shortly before the 2008 election (more about that in a moment), beer writer Rick Lyke wrote a column about the best and worst beer presidents. The folks at All About Beer, where the column originally appeared, tweeted it earlier today in honor of Presidents Day.
Heading the “Best Beer Presidents” list is Franklin D. Roosevelt, who campaigned against Prohibition. He’s joined by Jimmy Carter, who signed a bill legalizing homebrewing; James Madison, who promoted beer as a healthier alternative to hard liquor; and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom brewed their own. Barack Obama, who won the 2008 election, revived the tradition of homebrewing in the White House.
Warren G. Harding, who supported Prohibition but flouted the law in private, tops the “Worst Beer Presidents” list. Others on the list include Rutherford B. Hayes, whose wife, “Lemonade Lucy” Hayes, banished alcohol from the White House; George H.W. Bush, who doubled the excise tax on beer; Woodrow Wilson, who was against Prohibition but failed to stop it; and Abraham Lincoln, who signed legislation creating the federal beer tax to raise revenue during the Civil War.
Thrillist’s Adam Lapetina did some digging into D.G. Yuengling and Son’s history, and unearthed 13 facts about the company. You probably know that the company was founded in 1829, and that it survived Prohibition by making near beer and ice cream. But did you know who the “son” is? (His name was Frederick, and his brother David, Jr., was so upset that he started a steam beer brewery in Richmond, Virginia. And you’ll surprised to learn that Yuengling invested in dance halls such as Roseland Ballroom in New York where, in addition to dances, sneezing contests, yo-yo exhibitions, and female prizefights were held.
On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.
Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.
In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.
In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.
Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.
Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.
Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.
Three years ago, Chrysler Corporation scored a big hit with its “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl ad. However, Chrysler’s ad in this year’s game provoked an unexpected backlash from viewers.
Many in the audience were aghast that music legend Bob Dylan agreed to be a spokesman for a car company. But America’s craft brewers were offended by what Dylan said. He told the audience to “let Germany brew your beer” because “we will build your car.” That led Fred Bueltmann, a well-known figure in Michigan’s brewing community, to fire off a strongly-worded letter to Chrysler demanding that the automaker apologize to craft brewers for “dismissing their trade in front of millions of viewers.”
On this day in 1846, Juneautown and Kilbourntown, Wisconsin, combined to form the city of Milwaukee. One of Milwaukee’s nicknames is “Cream City,” given in the late 19th century when millions of cream-colored bricks were made there.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Northlake, Illinois, where Bill Diamond, a train conductor at a distribution plant, is protecting beer from the polar vortex, which has driven temperatures well below beer’s freezing point.
Ever heard of the Andy-Oza Line? Created by Andy Sparhawk of CraftBeer.com, it’s the average ABV of the beer on tap at your local beer bar, divided by 5.9%, the average ABV of American craft beer.
These cases are getting more common. Illinois’ Rockford Brewing Company filed a trademark suit against Michigan’s Rockford Brewing Company. Both claim to they were the first to use the name.
Beer, then whiskey. MillerCoors is rolling out Miller Fortune, a golden lager that gives off a taste of bourbon. It’s aimed at 21- to 27-year-old men, who have gravitated to spirits in recent years.
Heretic Brewing Company responded to California’s new growler law by providing customers with the most detailed instructions we’ve ever seen for keeping growlers clean.
What did James Grant, a New Zealand doctor, do when a shark attacked him? He drove off the shark with a knife, stitched up his wounds, and went to the pub for a beer with his friends.
Finally, umami is a savory flavor at the heart of Japanese food. Now there’s a beer to pair with it. It’s called Wazen, which will be released this spring by Suntory, the Japanese beverage company.
Makes sense when you think about it: when Jane Austen wasn’t writing novels that generations of raiders would cherish, she brewed beer. According to BBC magazine (hat tip: Jay Brooks), Austen learned the art of brewing as a young woman, helping her mother in the Hampshire vicarage where she grew up.
Brewing was high on the list of domestic chores in 18th-century England, and even the women of genteel families like the Austens would know how to make beer. She most likely drank it, too. Small beer was served at the Austen dining table as a safe source of drinking water for all members of the family, even the kids.
The British Beer and Pubs Association is creating a bottled beer especially for members of Parliament. It will be presented tomorrow to members of the all-party beer group to thank them for scrapping a taxation formula that raised the beer tax at a rate higher than the rate of inflation.
The Association points out that “Parliamentary Beer Champion 2014″ shouldn’t cause anyone to stagger around Westminster or, as happened a couple of years ago, head-butt another member in the MPs’ bar. Even though the beer checks in at 5.6% ABV, the servings are only 275 ml, or about 9.3 ounces.
On this day in 1929, Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar, debuted in the Thimble Theatre comic strip. Since then, Popeye has appeared in comic books, video games, and a film starring Robin Williams in the title role.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in St. Louis’s Bellefontaine Cemetery, where two adjacent mausoleums on Millionaires’ Row remind us of a rivalry between brewing families, the Lemps and the Wainwrights.
The Spencer Brewery in Massachusetts, has become only the tenth brewery to to be recognized as Trappist. Its ales are brewed by the monks–Trappist, of course–of St. Joseph’s Abbey.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office levied $150 million in fines on five breweries for conspiring to fix prices. The whistle-blower was none other than Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Has extreme beer gone too far? The Icelandic brewery Steojar was blasted by conservationists for brewing a beer with whale meat. A treaty signed by most nations bans commercial whaling.
Sam Samaneiego, the “Beer Nazi,” has passed away. His Stuffed Sandwich restaurant in San Gabriel, California, has been introducing customers to better beer since it opened in 1976.
Thailand’s Singha beer found itself embroiled in political controversy after brewery heiress Chitpas Bhirombhakdi accused rural Thais of lacking a “true understanding” of democracy.
Finally, festival organizers are having second thoughts about glassware. Some higher-end festivals give attendees fancy keepsake glasses instead of plastic cups or mini-shaker pints.