When was the first batch of beer fermented in Europe? No later than around 4400 B.C., according to researchers at the University of Barcelona. Fourteen years ago, at a cave southwest of Barcelona, the researchers discovered four human skeletons, along with part of a cup in which evidence of oxalate and and barleycorn was found. One skeleton, of a middle-aged male, was accompanied by various burial goods, including a two-handled drinking vessel. It’s believed that beer might have been part of the death ritual.
Seventy-two years ago today, photographer Ansel Adams took a black-and-white photograph of a moonrise over the town of Hernandez, New Mexico. The image has been called “a perfect marriage of straight and pure photography.”
And now….The Mash!
We begin in St. Louis, where Busch Stadium beer vendor Patrick Ferris donated all of his tips from Game 3 of the World Series to a family whose seven-year-old son was killed in a house fire.
Hard-line Islamists in Indonesia are pushing for national alcohol prohibition. Many localities in the world’s fourth most-populous country have already banned the sale of alcohol.
Tool time! In China’s Shandong Province, 20 helicopter pilots tried to to open a beer bottle…using bottle openers mounted to the skids of their choppers.
Winchester, Kentucky, is the official birthplace of beer cheese, and the city now offers a self-guided tour of businesses connected with this distinctive Kentucky product.
Now that marijuana is legal in Washington, the Redhook Ale Brewery is teaming up with a Seattle micro to produce a hemp-infused beer called–you guessed it–Joint Effort.
This might win you a bar bet. The nation’s first brewery to can its beer was the Kreuger Brewery of Newark, New Jersey. The cans were so popular that Kreuger took market share away from national breweries.
Today is World Tourism Day, which was created by the United Nations in 1970. This year’s theme is “Tourism and Water.” If you can’t make it to Munich, where some kind of a beer festival is going on, Ludwig recommends that you take a trip to your local brewery and order a beer–which, of course, is more than 90 percent water.
And now…the Mash!
We begin in Bloomington, Illinois, the home of Beer Nuts. The first batch of the snacks–made with just four ingredients–was created 60 years ago by Jim Shirk, whose family still owns the company.
In Texas, a homebrewer recently got a nasty surprise: brewer’s yeast in his intestines caused him to spontaneously brew beer and get him drunk without warning.
A Reddit user who goes by “psychguy” explained why experienced drinkers prefer strong beer: it’s a combination of “taste fatigue” and peer pressure.
Was Jesus a beer drinker? Did He really turn water into beer at Cana? Stasia Bliss of the Las Vegas Guardian-Review cites historical and biblical evidence which points in that direction.
Savvy beer shoppers are finding bargains at their local Wal-Mart. Bloomberg.com found a Los Angeles-area store that sold Coors and Tecate at just pennies over cost.
If M.C. Escher were a glassblower, he might have come up with this: a glass designed to hold two different beers at the same time. The Dual Beer Glass holds two 1/3-pint portions of beer.
Professor Hong Luo at the Unviersity of Buffalo says the key to a good pour is avoiding that “glugging” sound produced by a low-pressure area formed when beer is poured too fast.
Finally, Scientific American magazine has awarded the IgNobel Prize in Psychology to the scientists who studied “self-beer goggles”: people who’ve had a few are more likely to consider themselves attractive.
It’s commonly believed that the first craft brewery to can its beer was Oskar Blues Brewing Company. Not so fast, beer writer Tom Acitelli warns us.
In All About Beer magazine, Aciteilli notes that the distinction belongs to Chief Oshkosh Red Lager. That brand was revived by Jeff Fulbright, the founder and president of Mid-Coast Brewing. Fulbright thought that Chief Oshkosh would become a heartland competitor to Anchor Steam and Sam Adams. But his brand, which debuted in 1991, couldn’t compete with the national brands.
Acitelli also notes that the first craft beer to be canned in North America was Yukon Gold, which first appeared in Canada’s Yukon Territory in 2001. He adds that four other canned craft beers–Pete’s Summer Brew, Capital Brewery’s Wisconsin Amber, Brewski Brewing’s Brewski Beer, and James Page Brewing’s Iron Range Amber Ale—all hit the shelves ahead of Dale’s Pale Ale. However, all of the American crafts that canned their beer in those days went out of business.
But back to Oskar Blues, In 1999, Calgary, Alberta-based Cask Brewing Systems introduced a small, manual machine that could fill two 12-ounce cans at one time. It cost $10,000, far less than the price tag for used canning machines on the aftermarket. Cask’s machine was originally aimed at brew-on-premises retailers but, when that trend fizzled, the company turned to craft brewers.
Oskar Blues was Cask’s first American client. For that, it deserves recognition.
On this day in 1954, the first edition of Sports Illustrated hit the stands, with Milwaukee Braves slugger Eddie Mathews on the cover. Although the magazine is most famous for its swimsuit supermodels, some of the nation’s top sportswriters have written for it.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in London, where the Great British Beer Festival is underway. In case you missed it, this year’s Champion Beer of Britain is 1872 Porter from Yorkshire’s Elland Brewery.
TheDailyMeal.com gears up for fall semester with a list of America’s 25 best college bars. The picks are based on several criteria, ranging from number of taps to late-night food.
In Washington, beer geeks and history buffs gathered to taste Christian Heurich’s original beer, first brewed in 1891. Heurich’s brewery, D.C.’s last survivor, closed in 1956.
There’s an app for that. Pivo offers translations and phonetic pronunciations to help you order a beer in 59 different languages. “Pivo,” by the way, is Czech for beer.
Founder Sam Walton frowned on drinking to excess, but his heirs are planning to step up beer sales at Wal-Mart in states where they’re legal in supermarkets.
A beer brewed for Ontario golfers is coming to the province’s golf courses, bars, and liquor stores. It’s called–you guessed it–Triple Bogey Lager.
Finally, Don Russell has a gig to make us jealous: beer ambassador to Lithuania, where he attended festivals, gave TV interviews, and introduced the locals to American brews.
In an article in New Yorker magazine, writer Christian DeBenedetti (The Great American Ale Trail) says we’ve come full circle with sour beer. Before refrigeration and advances in fermentation science in the mid-19th century, almost all beer was more or less sour. Even after science eliminated most off-tastes, some breweries continued to turn out sour styles. The best-known such brewery is Brussels’s Cantillon brewery, founded in 1900. To this day, it specializes in spontaneously fermented lambics and gueuzes.
DeBenedetti notes that Cantillon’s beers were, at first, widely misunderstood by American customers. Some reacted to their tart and musty character by calling the beers “infected” and sending them back. As late as 1997, when he first visited Cantillon, its products weren’t available in the United States beyond a few semi-smuggled shipments. Dan Shelton, who took the risky step of importing Cantllion, said that it took almost ten years for people to realize that lambic and gueuze were supposed to taste that way.
Today, a number of American breweries have developed a reputation for high-quality sour beers. They include Jolly Pumpkin, Russian River, Crooked Stave–and De Benedetti’s own sour beer brewery, which he’s building on his family’s hazelnut farm in Oregon.
FIve thousand years ago, the Sumerians lived in Mesopotamia. And they brewed beer. Now the Great Lakes Brewing Company of Cleveland, Ohio, is teaming up with researchers at the University of Chicago to re-create the beer. To make it as authentic as possible, they’re using only clay pots and wood spoons that archaeologists unearthed in Iraq.
There’s significant guesswork involved in making the beer. The Sumerians left notes about the ingredients they used, and how they distributed the beer once it was ready. However, they didn’t leave behind a recipe per se. Researchers do know that the Sumerians malted their own barley, added cardamom and coriander, and enlisted bakers to create brick-like “beer bread” containing the yeast. They cooked the beer outside, over a manure-fed fire.
One thing researchers don’t know is whether today’s drinkers would find Sumerian beer palatable.
Major League Baseball’s All Star Game will be played Tuesday night. It’s a perfect time to show this video, which was put together by Dave Burkhart, Anchor Brewing Company‘s resdient historian, about the connection between beer and baseball in San Francisco.
People visit the Napa Valley to taste wine, and travel to Kentucky to taste bourbon. Now Cincinnati hopes to draw beer tourists to the Over-the-Rhine Historic District. OTR, as locals call it, was founded by German immigrants in the 19th century. The neighborhood recently fell upon hard times, but gentrification is taking place.
Now a non-profit is trying to turn OTR’s Brewery District, where 18 large breweries once operated, into a tourist attraction. Three new breweries have already opened. One of them, Rhinegeist, has opened a taproom in what used to be part of the old Christian Moerlein complex. As for Christian Moerlein, the brand name is now owned by entrepreneur Greg Hardman, whose brewery not only has a taproom but plans to add a multimillion-dollar tour facility.
Many of us plan to celebrate Independence Day with an American craft beer–something that, just a generation ago, barely existed. Tom Acitelli, the author of The Audacity of Hops, identifies four milestones that made America’s craft brewing industry what it is today.
First, there’s Fritz Maytag’s decision in 1965 to buy Anchor Brewing Company, the nation’s last surviving craft brewery, and improve what was then a very bad product. Maytag insisted on high quality and independent ownership, and suffered big financial losses for years before his brewery became a national icon.
Second, in 1966, Jack McAuliffe, a U.S. Navy mechanic stationed in Scotland, bought a home-brewing kit at a local drugstore and discovered he could brew a very good pale ale. His own attempt at commercial brewing, the New Albion Brewing Company, eventually failed–but not before it encouraged other homebrewers to go commercial.
Third, and you might not have known this, Coors Brewing Company tested a new hop variety, the Cascade hop, which was the first American-grown variety considered good enough to use as an aroma hop. Maytag used it in his Liberty Ale, released in 1975 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere’s famous ride. Liberty Ale led the way to modern India pale ale, the most popular style of American craft beer.
Finally, a 1976 act of Congress lowered the federal excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels of beer. After the tax cut took effect, the number of craft breweries in America grew rapidly. Many of them, including Jim Koch and Pete Slosberg, decided to rent the equipment and subcontract the labor at one of many under-capacity regional breweries being squeezed by industry consolidation.
The rest, as they say, is history.