“Black Friday” in Milwaukee

Before heading out of town in his lion limo, Ludwig asked us to post this story on the blog. The dateline is Milwaukee, and it’s about Lakefront Brewery’s way of celebrating the day after Thanksgiving. Starting at 8 am, Lakefront will pour its “Black Friday” ale. It’s an Imperial India-style black ale, which the brewery describes as “a huge, dark ale,” with about 10% ABV and “ample pine and citrus aromas.” The beer release is part of Lakefront Brewery’s second annual “Black Friday” event, which includes 12 hours of continuous brewery tours.

The Friday Mash (Acid Test Edition)

On this day in 1938, the hallucinogenic drug LSD was first synthesized in Europe. It entered popular culture in the 1960s when Timothy Leary promoted its use, and author Tom Wolfe documented the adventures of Ken Kesey and his acid-dropping band of Merry Pranksters.

Ludwig recommends avoiding this drug and sticking to beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Fredericksburg, Texas, where Lee Hereford raised $2 million for his Pedernales Brewing Company by visiting would-be investors’ homes armed with a prospectus and samples of his beer.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. If you haven’t decided how to cook your turkey, homebrew chef Sean Z. Paxton has a recipe for “Tipsy Turkey”. You’ll need a good holiday ale for the beer brine.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the beer brewed by Plymouth Colony Pilgrims might have offended craft beer purists because the grain bill included corn. With good reason: local barley crop often failed.

Canadian beer writer Jordan St. John toured Boston Beer Company’s Jamaica Plain facility, with none other than company founder Jim Koch leading the tour. St. John learned why sour beer and balsamic vinegar are similar.

About ten years ago, someone decided to dress up the gardens of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium by planting hop bines. Now, dry hops from those bines will be used by Revolution Brewing, a local micro.

Next year, Anheuser-Busch InBev will roll out Budweiser Black Crown, which it describes as a “golden amber lager.” It will carry a 6% ABV alcoholic punch.

Finally, Ludwig would like to introduce Wojtek, a brown bear that fought alongside Polish soldiers during World War II. Adopted as a cub by artillerymen serving in Iran, the bear drank two bottles of beer a day.

The Friday Mash (Nixon in China Edition)

Forty years ago today, President Richard Nixon began his historic journey to Beijing, where he laid the groundwork for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with China. “Nixon in China” has become a political catchphrase, and China now ranks number-one in the world in beer consumption.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Mississippi, where state lawmakers will once again consider raising the maximum allowable alcohol content of beer, currently 5.9 percent ABV. Also under consideration: legalizing homebrewing.

Fancy a pint of Kremlin Beer? The Russian government has trademarked that name, along with Kremlin Vodka. Ludwig hopes the beer will be a red lager.

Corner taverns weren’t just places to knock back a few with friends. They were also centers of community life. Sadly, these establishments are disappearing, thanks in large part to yuppification and stricter licensing laws.

The International Trappist Association, which recognizes seven authentic Trappist breweries, might recognize an eighth brewery: the Engelszell Stift monastery in Austria. Commenters on the story suggest that a couple more might be added to the list as well.

Do you review beers? If so, you might fit into a stereotype. Billy Broas, who blogs at BillyBrew, has compiled a list of ten different types of reviews that he’s run across on the Web.

If you’re headed to Canada’s largest city, the staff of Toronto Life magazine has some tips. They’ve chosen the city’s best bars to have a pint (or three). The establishments range from a locovore’s paradise to an authentic Irish pub.

Finally, Monday is President’s Day. Jay Brooks calls our attention to beer and the presidency, from George Washington’s insistence on American-brewed porter to Barack Obama’s homebrewing.

A Very Ludwig Christmas

Dear readers, it’s time for Ludwig to take his annual Christmas vacation, where he’ll get to spend some quality time with his pride.

Before stepping into the lion limo, Ludwig left us a present: a video of the construction of a Christmas tree made with more than 1,000 beer bottles. Enjoy!

Bon voyage, Ludwig; we’ll see you after the holidays!

The Friday Mash (Boston Tea Party Edition)

On this day in 1773, a group of colonists called the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships and threw their cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. The Sons of Liberty were led by none other than Samuel Adams, whose smiling face nowadays adorns millions of bottles of ale and lager.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Quebec, where a number of breweries have gotten into barrel-aged beer. Some of their best, and strongest, offerings are now available for Christmas celebrations and gift-giving.

Need something to do on Sunday? Deborah Braconnier of Yahoo! Sports, who calls herself a life-long Denver Broncos fan, proposes a Tim Tebow drinking game.

The Pacific Northwest supplies most American-grown hops, but entrepreneurs elsewhere in the country, like Jeff and Bonnie Steinman of Plainwell, Michigan, are growing their own.

Cigar City Brewing decided not to use Winston Churchill on the label of its barleywine, even though it could legally do so in Florida, because the British statesman’s descendants objected.

Which craft brewery had the most creative packaging this year? Brian Stechschulte of All Over Beer, says it’s the 21st Amendment Brewery, whose four-packs for Allies Win the War look like a newspaper from 1945.

Will the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company open a second brewery in North Carolina? The brewery isn’t saying, but local media report that it’s meeting with local officials.

Finally, if you need an excuse to bring home some beer, the Beer Mapping Project has declared tomorrow National Growler Day.

Independence Day Potpourri

As America celebrates its 235th birthday…

According to the Beer Institute, the Fourth of July ranks number-one in beer consumption, ahead of Memorial Day, Labor Day and even Super Bowl Sunday.

Fire up the grill, and pour yourself a cold one. Greg Kitsock discusses pairing beer with barbecue, and Norman Miller matches it with grilled meat.

Could the ideal Fourth of July beer be a German import? Eric Asimov of the New York Times makes the case for Kolsch.

Tom Atwell of the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald picks his favorite red, white, and blue beers. Finding a blue beer was a toughie.

Finally, Jonathan Bender of wants to know what American beer will you be drinking on the Fourth?

Beer Touring in Toronto

Tomorrow is Victoria Day, which marks the unofficial start of summer in Canada. The three-day weekend is also known as “May Two-Four.” As you might have guessed, a “two-four” is Canadian slang for a case of beer.

Victoria Day has a place in Toronto’s brewing history. On that day, 11 years ago, Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewery sold its first case of beer. The brewery, which is going strong and well worth visiting, is the first stop on Oliver Dawson’s Old Toronto Beer Tour. Other tour stops include the Amsterdam Brasserie and Brewpub; Dominion on Queen, a popular downtown bar; and the Mill Street Brewery in the city’s historic Distillery District.

Bryen Dunn of Digital Journal magazine went on the tour, which began with a pilsner breakfast and wound over with an Irish stout paired with blueberry cheesecake. He not only learned about Toronto’s brewing culture–after ten years of heading tours, Dawson has become an authority–but also discovered that most of his fellow tourists weren’t tourists at all but Ontario residents who wanted to learn more about good beer in their backyard.

If you’re planning a visit to Toronto, check out Dawson’s beer tour website.

Spotlight on St. Patrick’s Day

In case you’ve forgotten, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day.

America now has a Homebrewer in Chief. The White House announced that President Obama will be brewing his own beer, White House Honey Ale, for St. Patrick’s Day.

Whether to serve green beer is an annual debate topic among bar owners and patrons. By the way, green beer, like many other St. Patrick’s Day traditions, is of American origin.

William Lee, a mathematician at the University of Limerick, is tackling a problem that’s of great interest to Guinness drinkers: designing a cheaper, more efficient widget that dispenses nitrogen into a Guinness can after it’s opened.

Don Russell, a/k/a Joe Sixpack, sings the praises of an underappreciated style–namely, Irish red ale and chooses the best ones available.

Finally, Guinness has recruited basketball legend Bill Walton as a television spokesperson. Well, he was once a redhead.

A Day Late, But…

Ludwig insists that it’s worth posting. We’re talking about’s Advent calendar, with each day devoted to a different beer.

Day 1 of the 2010 calendar showcases Special Holiday Ale, a collaboration among Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, Michigan; Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, California; and Nogne O Brewery, Grimstad, Norway. It features ingredients native to each brewery: chestnuts from Michigan, white sage from southern California, and Norwegian juniper berries. Just the beverage to put you in the holiday mood.

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