On this day in 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria passed away. Please join our beer-drinking lion in a moment of silence for the “Mad King” who, among other things, commissioned the fantastic Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the area’s leading tourist attractions.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Petaluma, California, where Lagunitas Brewing Company held its annual Beer Circus. Some guests wore top hats and “ironic facial hair,” while others dressed as figures from popular culture.
Just in time for Father’s Day: Criquet, a clothing company, has designed a shirt with a reinforced lining that prevents you from destroying it while using the shirttail to twist a beer bottle open.
Twenty years ago, Lauren Clark quit her desk job to work for a brewery. She then gravitated to writing, and recently published Crafty Bastards, a history of beer in New England.
Gustav Holst’s The Planets inspired Bell’s Brewing to create a seven-ale series, each of which named for one of the planets in Holst’s suite. The first Planet beer will be released in August.
St. Louis, which is celebrating its 250th birthday, has 30 craft breweries–and yes, the Budweiser brewery, too. USA Today’s Wendy Pramick has a beer lover’s guide to the city.
Brock Bristow, a South Carolina attorney, might wind up in the Lobbyists’ Hall of Fame. He persuaded lawmakers to pass the brewery-friendly “Stone Bill”.
Finally, Jeopardy! for beer geeks. Three female beer bloggers host a monthly trivia night at a bar in Brooklyn. Games consist of four rounds: brewing, history, popular culture, and the “hipster trifecta.”
Breweries are among the oldest businesses in the world, and their beer labels are full of symbols from their storied histories. In MentalFloss.com, Nick Green explains the symbolism behind 20 well-known beer labels.
One of the most common sources of symbols is the brewery’s own history. The eagle on the Yuengling label and the horn on Stella Artois’ harken back to the breweries’ original names. The hometown coat of arms is another source. That’s why there are lions on the Amstel and Modelo Especial labels, and a key on the Beck’s label. Dos Equis resurrected Aztec leader Moctezuma II for its label, and Guinness appropriated the Brian Boru harp.
Green’s article has some other fun facts. Bass’s red triangle was issued Trademark #1 by the British government; until 1908, the text of the Budweiser label was in German; and legend has it that Miller High Life was called “The Champagne of Beers” because it was released a few days before New Year’s Eve.
Finally, there’s Rolling Rock’s mysterious “33”. People have offered numerous explanations, but no one knows for sure how and why that number wound up on the label.
- Number of beer distributors in the U.S. in the 1970s: more than 5,000.
- Number of beer distributors in the U.S. today: fewer than 1,000.
- Beers entered in this year’s World Beer Cup competition: 4,754 (833 more than in 2012).
- Breweries competing in this year’s World Beer Cup: 1,403.
- Countries represented in this year’s competition: 58, from 5 continents.
- Australian per capita beer consumption last year: 4.04 liters.
- Years since Australian beer consumption has been that low: 69.
- Beer’s share of Australian alcoholic beverage consumption: 41 percent (wine is second, with 37 percent).
- Average cost of a beer at a major-league ballpark: $6.09 (unchanged from last season).
- Most expensive ballpark beer: 65 cents per ounce (Fenway Park, Boston).
- Cheapest MLB ballpark beer: 28 cents per ounce (Angel Stadium of Anaheim).
- World of Beer locations in the U.S.: 57.
- States with World of Beer establishments: 17.
- Decrease in German beer sales between 2012 and 2013: 2 percent.
- Total decrease in consumption between 1988 and 2013: 25 percent.