In the early 2000s Maureen Ogle, a professor at the University of South Alabama, set out to write a history of American brewing. She was surprised by how little had been written about the subject. That has begun to change. The spread of craft beer has led a number of American universities to make brewing studies part of their course offerings.
Meanwhile, other professors are exploring beer’s relationship with American culture, economics, labor relations, and even gender.
Randolph College professor J. Nikol Beckham brewed beer before turning her scholarly attention to it. The only African American woman in her community of homebrewers and enthusiasts, Beckham became interested in the relationship between beer and race. She discovered that during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some temperance advocates used ugly stereotypes of German immigrants and African-Americans to attack saloon culture. Drinking was portrayed as an affront to America’s dominant culture: white, Protestant, and sober.
Beckham contends that after the repeal of Prohibition, scholars lost sight of the ties between beer and American history. That trend might be reversing itself. One example is the Smithsonian Institution’s search for a scholar. His or her job will include helping the National Museum of American History collect artifacts, and conducting field research for a project on brewing in the U.S., especially during the last 50 years.
On this day in 1968, the musical Hair opened on Broadway. Notable songs from the “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” include “Aquarius”, “Easy to Be Hard”, and “Good Morning Starshine”.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a mechanic named Andrey Eremeev persuaded the beer store in his apartment building to let him run a pipeline from a keg in the store’s refrigerator to one of the taps of his kitchen sink.
Theater Cedar Rapids has added beer to its improv comedy classes. According to its education director, beer helps relieve inhibitions that can kill a performer’s creativity.
In Hastings, Nebraska, temperance advocates picketed the Do the Brew beer festival. The protesters, dressed in period garb, were actors promoting the upcoming Nebraska Chautauqua fest.
Israel’s Herzl Brewery made a beer that people might have enjoyed when Jesus was alive. It tasted a bit like honey and berries, but it was flat and cloudier than what we drink today.
Six years ago, Greg Avola and Tim Mather launched Untappd. The app now has more than 3.2 million users, and is so successful that both men quit their jobs to manage Untapped full time.
Frances Stroh has written a book about the Detroit-based brewery’s rise to national prominence in the late 1800s and its downfall amid consolidation and the city’s economic demise.
Finally, Utah liquor regulators may revoke a Salt Lake City movie theater’s liquor license for showing the R-rated film Deadpool. State law forbids a licensed establishment to show nudity. Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds donated $5,000 to the theater’s legal defense fund.
One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, at high noon, thousands of people took part in the Oklahoma Land Rush. Within hours, Oklahoma City and Guthrie had instant populations of 10,000.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Tumwater, Washington, once the home of Olympia Brewing Company. Today, it’s the home of a cluster of legal marijuana growers and processors—including one of the state’s largest.
Peru’s Cerveza San Juan beer brand has replaced the roaring jaguar with barnyard animals on its cans. The reason? The brewery is calling attention to the big cat’s endangered status.
Officials have reinstated beer at the University of Missouri’s “Tiger Prowl”, where graduating seniors eat barbecue, get free merchandise, and get ready to say goodbye to their classmates.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired its eighth craft brewery, Devil’s Backbone of Roseland, Virginia. Established in 2008, Devil’s Backbone has won multiple Great American Beer Festival medals.
The Vietnamese love beer, and craft brewers have begun to enter the market. One new craft is the Pasteur Street Brewing Company, whose founders include Vick’s Florida native John Reid.
Forbes magazine’s Tara Nurin explores “pay-to-play” in beer distribution. Even after a high-profile crackdown in Massachusetts, she says it’s “a common yet whispered business practice”.
Finally, Don Russell aka Joe Sixpack takes us back to the bad old days of Prohibition’s “needle beer”: speakeasy owners injected alcohol into near beer—which was still legal in the 1920s. One customer, who sampled the stuff, compared it to 44-D cough syrup.
Jonathan Carlyon, a professor at Colorado State University, had a friend from Spain who was spending a year in Fort Collins. At first the friend drank only wine, but Carlyon introduced him to the local craft beer. That experience, along with CSU’s creation of a fermentation studies program, led the professor to study the beer of ancient Spain.
The beer, called Caelia, was brewed extensively in Iberia from around 3,000 B.C. until the Romans conquered the peninsula and made wine the beverage of choice. It was a lightly-carbonated drink, made by women using a fermentation process similar to that of bread-making. Carylon describes the beverage as “like a beer juice, compared to the beer made today”.
Carylon found literary references to beer in everything from the Bible to accounts of the Roman Empire’s difficulty conquering an ancient Spanish city of Numancia. Before every battle against the Romans, the Numancians drank Caelia, contributing to the Romans’ view of them as ferocious fighters. (Tired of the heavy casualties they were taking, the Romans laid siege to Numancia and starved its inhabitants.)
Thanks to the Romans, Spain is considered a “wine country.” However, craft beer has won a following there. As for Carylon, he’s working with the CSU fermentation program to re-create Caelia in Fort Collins.
On this day in 1837, the retailer now known as Tiffany’s was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in New York City. The founders called their store a “stationery and fancy goods emporium.” However, Tiffany’s didn’t serve breakfast, let alone Founder’s Breakfast Stout.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Sacramento, where the inaugural California Craft Beer Summit took place. This two-day festival attracted the biggest names in craft brewing, who talked about the state of the industry.
Listen up, class. Sylvester Schneider, the owner of Zum Schneider in New York City, has prepared a video to show you how to pour wheat, pilsner, and lager beer like a German.
A boarding school in Zimbabwe has slapped a ban on breakfast cereal. Students mixed it with brown sugar, water, and yeast, then left it in the sun to ferment into beer.
The recipes for New Belgium Brewing Company’s dubbel and trippel Belgian-style ales are getting a makeover. The changes, which include a different yeast strain, will make the beers more authentically Belgian tasting.
A video of six Scottish men, drinking beer at the bottom of a swimming pool while on vacation in Florida, was viewed more than 1.8 million times on YouTube in the week after it was posted.
Greg Koch, the founder of Stone Brewing Company, is stepping down as CEO. He’ll stay on as executive chairman, and he promises not to sell out to one of the big breweries.
Finally, even though China is a huge beer market, intense competition has made it tough for breweries to make much of a profit. That problem could get worse as the country’s economy slows.
Want to work in a brewery? Tony Kiss of the Asheville Citizen-Times, who’s spoken to brewery executives, has a few pointers: Don’t count on being offered a tasting job. Be flexible. Prepare to use some elbow grease. And, by all means, hit the books.
The good news is that the big breweries coming to western North Carolina, along with the smaller breweries already in operation, offer a variety of jobs ranging from keg cleaner to social media director to—believe it or not–Director of Fun. Many of those jobs pay a living wage, more than $10 an hour, and a few pay up to $50,000 a year. The bad news is that competition for those jobs is intense, and most applicants will have to start from the bottom. That could mean shlepping bags of grain.
Brewery people say that one way to increase your chances or the better jobs is to sign up for courses in craft brewing. Several schools in the Asheville area offer them.
The October 10 Friday Mash contained an item about a new beer and food pairing course offered by the Brewers Association. The course, which you can download for free, co-authored by chef Adam Dulye, the Association’s culinary consultant and Julia Herz, the Association’s craft beer program director.
It’s constructed as a five-day-long introduction to craft beer, pairing beer with food, and how to pour and present beer at the table. In addition to lectures and suggested readings, instructors guide students through two tasting sessions of beer styles and a food pairing session.
Fifty years ago today, the first batch of chicken wings was served at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. There are several versions of how this now-ubiquitous dish came into existence, but there’s little doubt that its creator was Teressa Bellissimo, who deep-fried the wings and then coated them with hot sauce for her hungry guests.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Vermont, where Nancy Warner’s Potlicker Kitchen sells jellies made with local craft beers. She recommends pairing them with cheese or charcuterie, or using them to glaze grilled meat.
Central Michigan University is the latest school to offer a certificate program in brewing studies. The program includes science courses plus a 200-hour internship at a local brewery.
It appears that Washington’s NFL team is serving bad beer along with bad football. Fans have tweeted pictures of bottles of months-old beer that were served to them at FedEx Field.
Drinking beer might improve your brainpower. Experiments with mice suggest that Xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in beer, improves cognitive function. And it’s available without a prescription.
The 2006 film Beerfest popularized the Bierstiefel or boot-shaped drinking vessel. According to Thrillist.com, the custom of drinking beer out of footwear might be thousands of years old.
Emily Price of Esquire magazine offers ten things to do with beer besides drink it. But why would you?
Finally, a group of journalists are playing a brewery version of fantasy football. They held a “draft” of breweries competing in this weekend’s Great American Beer Festival, and will earn points based on the medals their selected breweries earn.
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.
Today is the 800th anniversary of the granting of a royal charter to the University of Oxford. Alumni include 26 British Prime Ministers, including current PM David Cameron; many foreign heads of state, including President Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar; and 27 Nobel laureates.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Kalamazoo where, for $19, you can take part in a craft beer walking tour. Participants will meet brewery staff; learn about the city’s brewing history; and, of course, sample some beer.
Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors will post their beers’ ingredients online. This comes after a blogger called “the Food Babe” claimed that some beers contained high-fructose corn syrup and other additives.
Brian Dunn, the founder of Great Divide Brewing Company, sat down with Eater magazine and talked about his 20 years in Denver, what urban brewing is like, and the whereabouts of the Yeti.
Move over, bacon beer. The latest food-in-your-beer trend is peanut butter and jelly. Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery offers a PB&J beer called “No Crusts.”
Purists think beer has no place in a yogic lifestyle, but yoga classes are popping up in breweries. Post-practice beer makes made yoga more social, and persuades men to take it up.
When you travel abroad, what do you get when you ask for “one beer, please”? Not only will the brand and style depend on the country you’re in, but so will the size of your serving.
Finally, any in the beer community maintain that brewing is an art form. Don Tse, writing in All About Beer magazine, agrees. His article explores the close relationship between fine beer and fine art.