homebrewing

When Homebrewing is Outlawed…

Meet Keith Blackwood, America’s least probable criminal. He’s a self-styled libertarian, a cigar aficionado, and “somewhat of a foodie.” He’s also an assistant prosecuting attorney in Mobile County, Alabama.

Unfortunately, Blackwood is a admitted homebrewer who happens to live in what will soon be the last state to repeal homebrew prohibition. Even more unfortunately, Blackwood made the mistake of tweeting about it. Eventually, his homebrewing came to the attention of his boss, Ashley Rich. She told an AL.com reporter that Blackwood was “disciplined,” but wouldn’t specify what the punishment was.

The Friday Mash (Buy Low, Sell High Edition)

Forty-two years ago today, the NASDAQ stock exchange was founded by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Once the home of lowly over-the-counter stocks, it’s now the exchange where companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are traded.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Britain, where health officials would like the beverage industry to disclose the number of calories in their products. They hope that people will drink less to avoid getting fat.

Add the Morrow Royal Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada, to your list of beer landmarks to visit. It’s made from recycled beer and liquor bottles–more than half a million of them.

The latest environmentally-friendly innovation is The Crafty Carton, a paper growler that holds one quart of beer and, according to Foodbeast.com, is suitable for origami.

Here’s a beer pairing we’ve never seen before. Dr. Greg Zeschuk, a video game industry veteran and craft beer aficionado, chooses the right beer style for the genre of game you’re playing.

World of Beer, which serves craft beer in a tavern-like setting, could be coming to your town. The chain has 36 locations in 11 states, and company CEO Paul Avery wants to take it nationwide.

Glyn Roberts, The Rabid Barfly, unleashes a rant about people who decide to go on the wagon during January, which is the quietest time of the year for British pubs.

Finally, will this be the year that Alabama and Mississippi finally legalize homebrewing? They’re the only two states where it remains illegal.

The Friday Mash (HP Edition)

A hundred years ago today, David Packard, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, was born. In 1938 Packard and William Hewlett went into business together. They established their company in a garage, with an initial investment of $538. Today, HP’s market capitalization is more than $33 billion.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Rochester, New York, where the Genesee Brewery will hold a grand opening ceremony tomorrow for its new brewhouse and pub. There will be a free concert, brewery tours, and tastings.

The latest in Stackpole Books’ Breweries series is Massachusetts Breweries, by John Holl and April Darcy. Gary Dzen of Boston.com reviews the book.

British scientists have found that the shape of your beer glass may determine how fast you drink. Subjects with curved glasses took a third less time to finish their beer than those with straight glasses.

Players on Spain’s national soccer team, which won their second straight European championship this summer, were given their weight in beer by the Cruzcampo brewery, a team sponsor.

Obama’s homebrew honey ale recipes got good reviews overall, but Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer has question for the president: why aren’t you using American-grown hops?

Cold War-era scientists prepared a paper titled “The Effect of Nuclear Explosions on Commercially Packaged Beverages.” They concluded that canned beer stood up quite well to a nuclear bomb blast.

Finally, it’s Week 1 of the National Football League season. Evan Benn and Sean Z. Paxton of Esquire magazine suggest a craft beer pairing for all 32 NFL teams. And Ludwig reminds us that the Detroit Lions are still undefeated in regular-season play.

Homebrewers Petition Their Government

Ludwig prefers to keep politics off his blog, but this story was too good to pass up. On the White House’s website, “John L” of Washington, D.C., has started a petition calling on President Obama to release the recipe for his home-brewed honey ale. If the petition attracts 25,000 signatures by September 17, the White House will deliver an official response–perhaps in the form of the presidential recipe.

Update. Someone has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the recipe.

The Friday Mash (”What’s Up, Doc?” Edition)

On this day in 1940, The Wild Hare, a Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies production, was released. The eight-minute cartoon, which was nominated for an Academy Award, depicted Elmer Fudd pursuing the much smarter Bugs Bunny.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in London, Ontario, whose minor-league baseball team, the Rippers, folded after being refused permission to sell beer. Ironically, the Rippers played their home games at Labatt Park.

While much of America is suffering from drought, torrential rains in northern Europe have slowed the maturation of grain crops. The forecast is for higher grain prices and, ultimately, more expensive beer.

The iconic “R” sign, placed atop Rainier Brewing’s Seattle brewery in 1953, will be re-lit at the Museum of History and Industry. The brand’s owners are also bringing back the Grazing Rainiers, those mythical beer bottles with legs.

Jim Galligan, drinks correspondent for MSNBC.com, offers five reasons why you should brew your own beer.

The brewery staff at Budweiser has been experimenting with small-batch beers. Once they dedide on which three of the original 12 beers are the best, they’ll package them in special six-packs to be sold at retail this fall.

The Travel Channel serves up its list of top seven beer destinations. Instead of the usual suspects, their picks are up-and-coming places you might not have thought about.

Finally, the Bad Training Regimen Award goes to Tyler Bray, a quarterback at the University of Tennessee. Bray decided to limber up his throwing arm by lobbing beer bottles at parked cars.

Seattle to Host Homebrewers’ Conference

This year’s National Homebrewers Conference will take place in Seattle the weekend of June 21-23. The conference, put on by the American Homebrewers Association, will feature a keynote address by Charles Finkel, the founder of Seattle’s Pike Brewery; a banquet and award ceremony featuring Sean Paxton,”The Homebrew Chef”; and appearances by dozens of professional brewers, beer experts, and writers. This year’s National Homebrew Competition has attracted 7,800 entries in 28 style categories, making it the largest such competition to date.

The Friday Mash (”Eek! A Mouse!” Edition)

Thirty-one years ago today, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center introduced the computer mouse. The prototype mouse was invented in 1963 by Douglas Engelbart. Unfortunately, Engelbart’s patent for the device expired before it was widely used in personal computers.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in ancient Mesopotamia which, thousands of years ago, was the beer capital of the world. Back then, the royal well-to-do drank their brew out of straws. Don’t scoff. They also invented writing, irrigation, and the clock.

Don’t drink and gamble, please! Players from countries with the highest per capita beer consumption wind up the biggest losers in casinos.

Admit it. Back in the day, you drank 40-ouncers. Craft breweries are appealing to nostalgia–and to your evolved taste in beer–with high-class malt liquor. Some are even sold in brown paper bags.

The ballot has been finalized for the 2012 Beer City USA competition. There are 31 cities on the ballot; and with an expanded choice of locations this year, write-ins aren’t allowed.

Go figure. Alabama regulators gave the thumbs-down to Founders Dirty Bastard ale, even though Flying Dog Raging Bitch ale and Fat Bastard wine are legal.

Bonobos, a clothing manufacturer, is selling denim pants made from recycled beer bottles. Priced at $135 a pair, they’re not for people on a beer budget.

Finally, someone must be buying Mr. Beer homebrew kits. Coopers, an Australia-based brewery, bought Mr. Beer in a multi-million dollar deal. Homebrewing supplies account for 30 percent of Coopers’ revenue.

The Friday Mash (Major Medical Edition)

Today is Doctors Day, a day set aside to honor physicians. It marks the date in 1842 on which Dr. Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, Georgia, administered ether to a patient before removing a tumor from his neck. The patient said he felt nothing and wasn’t aware the surgery was over until he awoke.

And now….The Mash!

What would Jesus brew? They’re answering that question in Wilmington, North Carolina, where church-based homebrewing teams are facing off in the Heavenly Homebrew Competition of Churches for Charity.

Opening Day is almost upon us, and that happy prospect inspired the New York Times’s Eric Asimov to write about baseball and his favorite springtime beer–namely, porter.

In the Southwest, “beer run” refers to someone who grabs a case of beer at a convenience store, then walks out without paying. El Paso, Texas, the nation’s beer run capital, reported 2,876 such thefts last year.

Jeff Alworth, who blogs at Beervana, has a troubling thought. Young men aren’t joining monasteries; so if the monks can’t replenish their ranks, could we face the extinction of Trappist ales?

Watch out, beer bloggers. Boak and Bailey, who also blog, have figured you out. They’ve arranged you on a spectrum, and only three of their seven blogger categories are labeled “We like.”

Someone with GIF skills, and access to behind-the-scenes footage of Star Wars, invented a scene in which Princess Leia hands Luke Skywalker a beer. If you’ve blown up the Death Star, you’ve earned one.

FInally, Pete Brown isn’t a doctor, but knows a misdiagnosis when he sees one. He recently gave British anti-alcohol campaigners an earful over their blaming beer for an increase in liver disease.

Why Homebrewing Matters

The next time your friend tells you about the beer he–or she–is brewing, listen up. According to Dave Conz, a professor at Arizona State University, homebrewing leads to innovation and is good for the soul as well.

Professor Conz links the Prohibition-era ban on homebrewing to the consolidation of America’s brewing industry and the dominance of light lager. Once the ban was lifted in 1978, the number of breweries began to grow again, and most of them were founded by DIY homebrewers. (Conz also points out that while Germany’s Reinheitsgebot ensured uniformity and quality, it stifled innovation by prohibiting brewers from trying other ingredients. Belgium, which never had such a law, brews an astounding variety of beers.)

Conz also maintains that DIY activities, such as homebrewing, provide an outlet from the daily grind and a sense of satisfaction, make people more self-reliant, and provide an alternative to our consumer culture. It’s a good way to make friends, too.

“I Am a Polish Homebrewer”

In Polish, with English subtitles:

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