The Friday Mash (America’s Cup Edition)

On this day in 1851, the first America’s Cup was won by—you guessed it—the yacht America. The “Auld Mug” is currently in the possession of Larry Ellison’s Team Oracle, which will defend it in 2017. That’s quite a ways off, so Ludwig suggests that you pass the time by filling your mug.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Oslo where, according according to GoEuro’s researchers, a 12-ounce bottle of beer costs $4.50–more than four times what you’d pay in Dublin or Warsaw.

Craft beer is so popular in Michigan that the State Police created a fake brewery, with “microbrews” like “Responsible Red” and “Designated Driver Dark,” as part of their latest anti-drunk driving campaign.

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is 26 years old and one of the NBA’s top players, but he still got carded at the local California Pizza Kitchen. Many of us share your pain, Steph.

You might prefer a beer brand because of marketing, not because it tastes better. Participants in a recent blind taste test were only slightly better than random at distinguishing among popular lagers.

Men’s Journal magazine has compiled the ten best beer commercials, starring, among others, The Most Interesting Man in the World, the Budweiser Clydsedales, and the Red Stripe Ambassador of Wisdom.

The polls are open at CraftBeer.com’s annual Great American Beer Bars competition. Voters are asked to choose one establishment from ten nominees in five regions of the country.

Finally, it’s a Great British Beer Festival tradition to show up in costume, like the gent with a Viking hat, those guys dressed up as priests, and a man who came as Prince Harry…Wait a minute, that was Prince Harry!

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What Countries Drink the Most?

At FiveThirtyEight.com, Mona Chalabi crunched the numbers from the World Health Organization to find out which countries are home to the biggest drinkers.

The WHO data confirm some stereotypes; for example, France ranks number one in per capita wine consumption, with 370 servings per year. But there were big surprises, too. Namibia ranks first in beer consumption, with 376 servings per person per year—more than 10 percent higher than Germany; and Grenada tops the list of spirits-drinking countries, with 438 servings per person per year.

Americans drink more beer—249 servings per person per year–than any other alcoholic beverage. However, American drinking preferences have fluctuated over the years. Grain shortages during World War II forced Americans to try rum from the Caribbean (fortunately, creative bartenders developed new cocktails such as the Hurricane); and after World War II, vodka became popular—and it remains the nation’s favorite hard liquor.

As for beer, it was less popular during the 19th century because innovations such as refrigeration, bottles, and cans hadn’t come into wide use, and the beverage wasn’t as easy to transport and store as it is today.

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The Friday Mash (MSG Edition)

On this day in 1908, the Japanese food company Ajinomoto—“The Essence of Taste”–was founded. Ajinmoto’s founder, chemist Kikunae Ikeda, discovered that a key ingredient in kombu soup stock was monosodium glutamate, for which he was given the patent.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Marshall, Michigan, where microbrewery owner Aaron Morse and his family have landed a reality-show gig. They’ll appear on The History Channel’s “Dark Horse Nation.”

Tin Man Brewing of Terre Haute has released Klingon Warnog. This officially-licensed beer follows the Prime Directive: “to unite both Star Trek and Craft Beer fans.”

Dogfish Head Artisan Ales is the most famous brewery in the Delmarva Peninsula, but it now has plenty of company, and that’s good news for local beer drinkers.

A new California law will allow students younger than 21 to sample alcohol as part of their beer and wine studies. Oregon and Washington have passed similar laws.

The Jurassic Park of beer? Probably not, but Jason Osborne of Paleo Quest and microbiologist Jasper Akerboom of the Lost Rhino Brewing Company are working with a 45-million-year-old yeast strain found in a fly entrapped in fossilized amber.

Philadelphians are upset at state legislators who want to close a loophole which allows pop-up beer gardens to operate without having to shell out six figures for a liquor license.

Finally, Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, says we’re not in a craft beer bubble. The nation’s 3,000 breweries is well below the saturation level; and besides, factors such as the variety and quality of local beer determine whether a market is saturated.

Hangover Cure? Scientists Are Working on It

Did you know that scientists have formed an Alcohol Hangover Research Group? A few weeks ago, Olga Khazan of The Atlantic sat down with Richard Stephens, a member of the group and a professor of psychology at Keele University in the U.K.

Professor Stephens had a number of interesting observations. Alcoholics, who ought to have the most experience warding off hangovers, actually suffer the worst ones. One big contributor to hangovers is the production of formaldehyde and formic acid, which happens about ten hours after drinking—which is why the proverbial “hair of the dog” can make hangovers less painful. There’s no cure for hangovers—yet—but a big fried breakfast can help because it’s rich in carbohydrates, which replace depleted sugar levels. And finally, more than 20 percent of drinkers aren’t susceptible to hangovers. Lucky them.

The Friday Mash (Sultan of Swat Edition)

A century ago today, George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major-league debut. Starting on the mound for the Boston Red Sox, he defeated Cleveland, 4-3. By 1919, Ruth was moved to the outfield so he—and his potent bat—could be in the lineup every day. And the rest, as they say, is history.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Lewes, Delaware, where Dogfish Head Artisan Ales has opened a beer-themed motel. The Dogfish Inn offers beer-infused soaps, logo glassware, and pickles for snacking.

Fans attending next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis can buy self-serve beer. New Draft-Serv machines will offer a choice not only of brands but also the number of ounces in a pour.

Moody Tongue Brewing, a brand-new micro in Chicago, offers a beer made with rare black truffles. A 22-ounce bottle of the 5-percent lager carries a hefty retail price of $120.

Fast Company magazine caught up with Jill Vaughn, head brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch’s Research Pilot Brewery. She’s experimented with offbeat ingredients ranging from pretzels to ghost peppers.

Entrepreneur Steve Young has developed beer’s answer to Keurig. His Synek draft system uses cartridges of concentrated beer which, when refrigerated, keep for 30 days.

Brewbound magazine caught up with Russian River Brewing Company’s owner Vinnie Cilurzo, who talked about Pliny the Elder, quality control, and possible future expansion of the brewery.

Finally, cue up the “final gravity” puns. Amateur rocketeers in Portland, Oregon, will launch a full keg of beer to an altitude of 20,000 feet. Their beer of choice? A pale ale from Portland’s Burnside Brewery.

One Beer, Two Beers, Red Beer, Blue Beer

Your political beliefs probably influence your beer preferences. Researchers have found that residents of counties that vote heavily Republican and/or have a high percentage of church-goers tend to buy established brands rather than generics or new products. Conservatives are less comfortable with uncertainty, and one purpose of branding is to reduce uncertainty and simplify decision-making. Thus conservatives seem to like domestic beers more than imports such as Guinness or Heineken. They might also have mentioned Coors, for many years run by Joseph Coors, who gave generously to conservative causes.

Beer Choices and Anthropology

Humans have enjoyed beer since the days before recorded history. But when humans have their pick of beers, what influences their choice?

Anthropologist Donald Lende has identified six criteria: “sensorial”, “corporal”, “experiential” “decision engaging,” “social,” and “meaningful.” To make more sense of Lende’s terms, Russell Edwards of Plos Blogs recruited eight subjects, who tasted a dozen cans of beer served in five different vessels, ranging red Solo cups to the cans themselves covered in a paper bag.

One of Edwards’s findings was that craft brewers did a better job wth the “meaningful” criterion: they not only brewed more flavorful beers, but they also provided tasting notes and associated themselves with local history.

Genetics and Beer Yeast

It’s a development that Nobel laureate Dr. Randy Schekman, a yeast geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, calls “long overdue.” The brewing community is finally studying the molecular basis of differences in yeast strains. Researchers at California’s White Labs and at a Belgian laboratory are creating the first genetic “family tree” for brewing yeasts and the beers they make. They’ve sequenced the DNA—some 12 million molecules–of more than 240 yeast strains from around the world. Differences among those molecules translate into differences in flavor and aroma.

However, it may take time for this knowledge to be put to use making new and better yeast strains. Brewing yeasts are so specialized that cross-breeding rarely results in a strain that makes for good beer. And while genetic modification is possible–the Belgian team has several hundred such strains in storage—genetically-modified food carries such a stigma that brewers are unlikely to use them anytime soon. That said, the Belgian scientists hold out the possibility that with more comprehensive knowledge of yeast genetics, non-GM cross-breeding will become feasible.

The Friday Mash (Board Game Edition)

On this day in 1911, board game mogul Milton Bradley passed away. His eponymous company—Ludwig’s been waiting to use that word–brought us The Game of Life, along with the ever-popular Yahtzee and Twister.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Utah, where state liquor regulators are cracking down on festivals put on by for-profit groups. One potential casualty of the new policy is Snowbird Ski Resort’s Oktoberfest celebration.

Gilley’s, the Texas honky-tonk made famous in the film Urban Cowboy, closed in 1989. However, a local brewery is making Gilley’s blond ale. A number of retailers in the Houston area carry it.

The Gun, a London pub, recently hosted an all-unfiltered beer festival. “Spring Haze” featured 30 beers from local micros. Fans contend that unfiltered beer not only tastes better, but is healthier.

Craft brewers have invaded Bavaria, the last bastion of brewing tradition. The newcomers’ offerings include Belgian-style wheat bock, a strawberry ale, a Baltic porter, and of course, IPAs.

Now that grilling season is here, scientists suggest that you marinate your meat in beer, which inhibits the development of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that have been linked to cancer.

Taco Bell’s parent company’s is working on a new spinoff chain called the U.S. Taco Company & Urban Taproom, which will serve craft beer as well as beer milkshakes to pair with menu items.

Finally, Two Brothers Brewing Company has created a beer for Chicago’s Field Museum. The white IPA is called “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a name once given to museum collections.

The Friday Mash (Oregon Trail Edition)

On this day in 1843, one thousand pioneers set out from Missouri on the first major wagon train on the Oregon Trail. It would be nearly 140 more years until microbrew pioneers established themselves in Oregon, but they’re certainly made up for lost time.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Cleveland, where Johnny Manziel celebrated being drafted #1 draft by the Browns by treating bar patrons to a shot and a beer. The way the Browns have been playing, fans need a few to deaden the pain.

Do you know what LPT1 is? It stands for “lipid transfer protein.” Karl Siebert, a professor of food science in New York State, says it’s the secret to optimal foam in the head of a freshly-poured beer.

Another sign of American craft beer’s popularity overseas: San Diego’s Karl Strauss Brewing Company may invest £1.7 million to develop a brewpub in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Utah is known for teetotaling residents and weird liquor laws, but the state is home to 20 breweries. Best-known is Uinta Brewing Company, which ranks in the country’s top 50.

Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb cites 13 reasons why bars in movies are totally unrealistic. Reason #12: a customer can ask for “a beer” without naming a brand.

Will Hawkes set out from London on a day trip to Brussels. Stops included Cantillon and several of the city’s famous beer bars, where his group reacquainted itself with the Belgian classics.

Finally, a restaurateur plans to build a Hofbrauhaus beer hall in downtown Buffalo. Meanwhile, another Hofbrauhaus is under construction in Columbus, Ohio.

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