Seventy-five years ago today, Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14, a radioactive isotope. It’s the basis of the radio-carbon dating method that determines an object’s age. However, bartenders still have to use ID cards to determine the age of their customers.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Barlioche, a Patagonian resort town that has become the craft beer capital of the Andes. It’s home to 15 breweries, which join forces for a beer festival in December.
Last weekend, more than 100 people played whiffle ball in the snow in a Milwaukee-area park. Leinenkugel Brewing Company hosted the tournament to promote its Summer Shandy.
Experts aren’t sure why this happens, but recipients spend more on beer when food stamps are distributed on the weekend—even though the stamps can’t be used to buy beer.
The Brew Kettle, a Cleveland-area brewery, is rolling out an ale for Cavaliers basketball fans. “All For One” session IPA will be available at the brewery and at Cavs’ home games.
Hellboy, the character created by comic-book artist Mike Mignola, turned 21, and Rogue Ales celebrated his big birthday by releasing Hand of Doom Red Ale. It sold out in a hurry.
This month’s “Session” asked beer bloggers the question “Festivals: Geek Gathering or Beer Dissemination?” Joan Villar-i-Martí, who blogs from Barcelona, has rounded up the best responses.
Finally, thousands of whiskey barrels have found their way to craft breweries. Now, Heavy Seas Brewing Company has returned the favor, sending its brewhouse tanks to a distillery.
As another Siberian Express rolls across North America, an ice-cold beer might be farthest from your mind. It was also the farthest thing from 18th-century Americans’ minds. In an article in The Atlantic, Jacob Grier reminds us that in those days, heated ale drinks were staples of home and tavern life. They provided warmth on chilly nights and nutrition when meals were scarce.
There are numerous reasons for the popularity of heated ales back then. Lager beer hadn’t made its way across the Atlantic. Ales fermented quickly without refrigeration, and they offered a sweetness that could be enjoyed at higher temperatures. Ale was a source of nutrition, and often contained food items such as berries or milk. And people actually believed that the human stomach acted like a cauldron.
Now that breweries are reviving beers from long ago, Grier wonders whether someone will take a big risk and roll out a hot ale. Perhaps the harsh winter we’ve endured has provided the motivation.
On this day in 1872, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in Manhattan. With more than two million works in its permanent collection, “The Met”—not to be confused with baseball mascot “Mr. Met”—is one of the largest art museums in the world.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Turkey, where security guards red-carded a fan for trying to smuggle beer into a soccer stadium. A whole case of bottles, in an outfit he’d designed for that purpose.
The latest trademark fight pits New Belgium Brewing Company and Oasis, Texas Brewing Company, both of which brew a beer called “Slow Ride”. New Belgium filed its mark ahead of Oasis, but Oasis’s beer hit the market first.
Vietnam’s robust drinking culture—there is no word for “hangover”—is raising concerns about health as citizens grow wealthier. A glass of beer costs just 30 U.S. cents.
Screenwriter and director Matthew Vaughn says that Guinness provided the inspiration for Kingsman: The Secret Service. Over pints, Vaughn and comic book maestro Mark Miller came up with the idea of an old-school spy movie.
The popularity of IPA and other craft beer has forced Iowa lawmakers to revisit the definition of “beer”. Beverages with 5 to 8 percent ABV currently exist in a legal twilight zone.
An Austin, Texas, company has developed a product called Kube, which combines a high-quality portable sound system and a beverage cooler. It’s designed to be used at parties and outdoor events.
Finally, Empire Brewing Company is collaborating with China’s Jingwei Fu Tea Company to brew Two Dragons beer. It starts out mellow and woody, and finishes with a sweet tea-like taste. Empire hopes to export it to China.
Angela Steil is only 21 years old, but she’s earned certification as a Cicerone and will be working as the in-house beer sommelier at Gravity, a beer-focused restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Steil is the world’s youngest Cicerone. Attaining that status is no easy task, regardless of one’s age. Only half of those who take the exam pass it. It requires memorizing a huge material of material—the syllabus is 19 pages long—and includes tasting portion in which one has to identify specific off-flavors of beer. Steil’s test preparation included marathon flash-card sessions, videos, “every book they mention,” and innumerable blind flight tastings.
Steil’s next goal is to achieve Master Cicerone status, which is so difficult that only seven people have qualified so far. However, she has plenty of time to acquire the knowledge needed to get there.
On this day in 1914, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers was formed. This performance-rights organization takes in close to $1 billion in licensing fees, most of which it distributes to artists as royalties.
And now (cue the music)…The Mash!
We begin in the Verizon Center in Washington, where the Brooklyn Nets’ Mason Plumlee committed the ultimate party foul. He crashed into a courtside vendor, sending $200 worth of beer flying.
Researchers have found that if you’re seen holding a glass of beer, you will be perceived as less intelligent. It’s called “the imbibing idiot bias”: we closely associate drinking and dumb behavior.
The Louisville Courier-Journal asked local brewers how they name their beers. Just as they brew their beers differently, they follow different processes for naming them.
One beer trend that’s taking off this year is grocery store growlers. For example, several Kroger locations in Virginia are offering 32- and 64-ouncers with a choice of eight different taps.
China’s anti-corruption campaign has been a drag on the brewing indsutry. Government officials are refusing invitations to go drinking out of fear of being accused of taking bribes.
Drinking beer out of cans might endanger your health. Cans are lined with epoxy that contains bisphenol-A, a chemical that’s been linked to a number of serious ailments.
Finally, Scottish brewery Innis & Gunn has released a Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired beer. It’s fortified with ginseng to boost the sex drive, ginkgo biloba to get the blood pumping, and a mild nerve stimulant called damiana.
RateBeer.com has ranked the world’s top 100 beers, based on users’ reviews and weighted by performance within and outside of style. Because the list is alphabetical, we don’t know which beer was number-one overall.
American beers dominated the Top 100. California put more beers on the list—22—than any other state. It was followed by Vermont, with 11, and Michigan, with eight. Five there states—Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New York, and Wisconsin—placed four or more beers on the Top 100, which is further evidence that craft beer has become a nationwide phenomenon.
Two hundred years ago today, the state of New Jersey awarded the first-ever railroad franchise to Colonel John Stevens III, the inventor who constructed America’s first steam locomotive.
And the bar car is open!
Fore! We begin at the 16th hole of the Phoenix Open, where rowdy spectators celebrated Francesco Molinari’s hole-in-one by showering him with beer and other flying objects.
A Minnesota brewery found out that it can’t sell “Rated R” beer. Not because of violence or sex, but because the Motion Picture Association of America trademarked the phrase. Molson’s XXX is, presumably, still in the clear.
MillerCoors has installed 10,000 solar panels at its Irwindale, California, brewery. The new system will generate enough electricity to brew seven million cases of beer each year.
Blank Slate Brewing Company joined forces with Oskar Blues Brewery to brew “Cincy 3-Way Porter.” The beer contains cumin, coriander, allspice and cinnamon, which are found in Cincinnati-style chili.
Researchers in China have discovered that xanthohumol, a substance found in hops, contains anti-oxidants that may delay or even prevent the onset of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline.
Ontario’s government plans some changes to its relationship with The Beer Store, the province’s quasi-monopoly. However, those changes won’t bring beer into convenience stores.
Finally, Yeti Coolers has invented a super-luxury koozie. The Colster, which retails for $30, wraps a beer in a stainless steel, double-walled, vacuum-insulated enclosure; and its “No Sweat” design prevents condensation from forming.
Anheuser-Busch, whose products have steadily lost market share in recent years, aired a Super Bowl ad titled “Brewed the Hard Way, which made fun of craft beer and the people who enjoy it. The craft beer community wasted no time firing back.
One of the best critiques came from Jim Vorel, Paste magazine’s news editor. He led off by telling his readers that he’d been to the Budweiser Research Pilot Brewery and met the people who work there.
Vorel then opened fire on “Brewed the Hard Way”. A few of his comments:
- “So, what if right after we say it’s not to be fussed over, we IMMEDIATELY trumpet the fact that it’s beechwood aged, something that roughly 1% of our target demographic understands?”
- “Please, if at all possible, try not to taste our beer. If you’re able to disable your gag reflex and just pour it straight down your gullet and into your stomach in one fell swoop while bypassing the taste buds altogether, that would be ideal.”
- “Anheuser is literally mocking the consumers of the COMPANIES THEY NOW OWN. Honestly, how devastating is that for the Elysian brewing team? Your owners think your customers are pretentious hipsters. These are the people who own your business.”
Finally, Vorel notes that the “pumpkin peach beer” A-B made fun of in the ad, and which a company executive called “a fabricated, ludicrous flavor combination,” is being brewed by a company that A-B is in the process of buying. About that he says, “We’re at Irony Defcon 1, people.”
Guinness Blonde has been on the shelves for several months, and there’s an interesting story behind its creation. To begin with, it isn’t brewed in Dublin but in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The brewmaster, Joe Gruss, is American; the hops are Mosaic, Mt. Hood, and Willamette; and the crystal malt is domestically sourced as well.
The yeast, however, is from Dublin, and that leads to another story. The first attempt–fermented at 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest temperature lager yeast is typically subjected to—resulted in bad-tasting beer. The brewing staff did something counter-intuitive: they raised the fermentation temperature another three degrees C. (5.4 degrees F.). Even though the higher temperature was above lager yeast’s comfort zone, somehow it worked.
On this day in 1649, King Charles I of England was beheaded for high treason. His execution ushered in the Interregnum, during which Oliver Cromwell and later his son, Richard, ruled the country.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Colorado, where Oskar Blues has given its session ale a marijuana-themed name: Pinner, which is slang for a joint with low THC content. Above the Pinner logo is the question: “Can I be blunt?”
Carlsberg Group is developing the world’s first fully biodegradable bottle for its beverages. The “Green Fiber Bottle” will be made from wood fiber or paper pulp, and will be lighter than a glass bottle.
Yahoo Food profiles Chris Loring, whose Massachusetts-based Notch Brewing specializes in session beers. Loring reminds us that these beers have existed in America for 100 years.
An unidentified man in Brooklyn has trained his girlfriend’s pet rabbit, Wallace, to bring him a beer. The animal puts its paws on the beer cart, pushing it forward.
A trip to a The Alchemist brewery not only netted MSNBC TV personality Rachel Maddow some Heady Topper IPA, but also revealed how New England’s economy is booming.
Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs’s most impressive statistic might not be his 3,010 career hits. Legend has it that Boggs put away 64 beers while on a cross-country trip during his playing days.
Finally, don’t scoff at the idea of beer brewed with sewer water. Washington County, Oregon’s Clean Water Services claims that its purification system makes sewer water even cleaner than tap water. One homebrewer uses the water, and calls his beer “sewage brewage.”