Smarter Than the Average Bear?

An incident from 2004 has gotten renewed online attention. Fish and Game agents in Washington State found a black bear that was sleeping off the effects of a beer binge. It’s unusual enough for a bear to drink beer out of cans, but what really caught the agents’ attention was that the animal had a brand preference: it tried one can of Busch, didn’t like it, then drank 36 cans of Rainier.

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Beer…By the Numbers

  • Pabst Blue Ribbon’s sales increase from 2008 to 2009: 20.3 percent.
  • PBR’s sales increase from 2013 to 2014: 3.8 percent.
  • Percent of craft beers released in 2013 that were “high ABV” (above 6.5): 25.
  • Percent of craft beers released in 2001 that were high ABV: 7.
  • Square feet added to the Colorado Convention Center for this year’s Great American Beer Festival: 90,000.
  • Expected attendance at this year’s GABF: 60,000.
  • Breweries expected to pour at this year’s GABF: More than 800.
  • Breweries taking part in this weekend’s Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival: 103.
  • Beers these brewers will pour: 923.
  • Total production of Statewide Pale Ale, a beer benefitting the New York State Brewers Association: 100 barrels.
  • Breweries collaborating in making Statewide Pale Ale: 10.
  • Breweries currently operating in Los Angeles: More than 50.
  • Breweries operating in Los Angeles in 2011: 15.
  • Size of Mexico’s beer market, in U.S. dollars: 20 billion.
  • Craft beer’s share of that market: 1 percent.
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    The Friday Mash (Magic Kingdom Edition)

    Sixty years ago today, Walt Disney unveiled his theme park, Disneyland, on national television. The “Magic Kingdom” has attracted more than 650 million guests—more than any other amusement park in the world—since it opened.

    And now….The Mash! 

    We begin in Asheville, North Carolina, where the sold-out Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference is taking place at the Four Points Hotel. Ludwig couldn’t attend, but he’ll be there in spirit.

    21st Century Fox, which owns The Simpsons franchise, has licensed Duff beer. For the time being, Duff will only be available in Chile, where bootleg versions of the brand have been turning up on store shelves.

    Lawmakers in a number of states passed beer-friendly legislation this year. Mike Pomeranz of Yahoo! Food explains what happened in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and West Virginia.

    Oh, the agony of defeat. Australia’s cricket team was so frustrated by its 169-run defeat at the hands of England in a Test match that it refused the host country’s offer of post-match beers.

    Illustrator/animator Drew Christie has created a four-minute-long history lesson titled “The United States of Beer”, in which he offers a modest proposal: a cabinet-level Secretary of Beer.

    Here’s another reason to book that trip to Honolulu. Maui Brewing Company will open a brewpub in Waikiki. It will be located in the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber.

    Finally, Kathy Flanigan and Chelsey Lewis of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel take you on a beer tour of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region. It includes plenty of history, and features a visit to “The Troll Capital of the World.”

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    The Friday Mash (Monkey Trial Edition)

    Ninety years ago today, the “Monkey Trial” trial of science teacher John Scopes began. The trial, famously depicted in Inherit the Wind, made Dayton, Tennessee, the focus of world-wide attention. Beer was not served outside the courthouse because Prohibition was in effect.

    And now….The Mash! 

    We begin in San Diego, where Comic-Con is underway. If you’re taking part, Andre Dyer of City Beat magazine has some suggestions as to where you can taste the local craft beer.

    Those hard-to-find beers are becoming more available–if you have money. Even though shipping alcoholic beverages is against the law, the chances of getting busted for it are negligible.

    Hailstorm Brewing Company has released Captain Serious #19 Pale Ale in honor of Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Chicago has won three of the last six Stanley Cups.

    Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S are building breweries in Myanmar. Eighty percent of Myanmar’s adults drink beer, and the country’s largest brewery is owned by current and former military personnel.

    Beer shortages loom in Venezuela. Strikes at the Polar brewing company, which controls 80 percent of the market, have shut down half the brewery’s plants and forced others to run at reduced capacity.

    Naragansett beer, once a New England favorite, has once again become popular—and not just in New England. What makes its revival even more amazing is that the brewery accomplished it on a shoestring media budget of $100,000.

    Finally, a Danish music festival will collect attendees’ urine, which will be used to fertilize barley plants that will be used in a beer to be served at the 2017 festival. Organizers call this—admit it, you saw this coming—“Piss to Pilsner.”

    Bugs As a Beer Ingredient?

    Melanie Pierce, the founder of San Diego’s The Brewbies Fest, collaborates with local breweries to brew pink beers for her festival, which raises money for breast cancer awareness. The problem with pink beers is that pink doesn’t fit into established color spectrums. Pierce has come up with an unconventional alternative: ground-up insects.

    She uses insects called cochineal, which are native to Latin America and have been used for centuries to create textile dyes. The creatures get their color by drinking the crimson juices of the prickly pear cactus. When they’re crushed, the resulting product is a pigment called carmine.

    If using insects as a beer ingredient sounds nasty, you might be surprised to learn that cochineal were used until recently to create the red color of the liqueur Campari.

    The Friday Mash (Very Endangered Species Edition)

    On this day in 1844, the last two known great auks were killed. These large flightless penguin-like birds, which lived in the North Atlantic, were hunted to extinction because their down was in high demand in Europe.

    And on that auk-ward note…The Mash!

    We begin in China, where designer Li Rongjun has built an office out of 8,500 empty beer bottles. Rongjun has a degree in construction from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology.

    Lagunitas Brewing Company will build a third brewery in Asuza, California. The new plant, with a projected capacity of more than 400,000 barrels a year, is expected to open in early 2017.

    Molson’s Beer Fridge will make an appearance at this month’s Pan-American Games in Toronto. The latest edition will dispense a free Molson to those who say “I Am Canadian” in any of 40 languages.

    Anita Brown, an artist in Los Angeles, has designed beers for each of the books in the Harry Potter series. They include Pilsner of Azkaban, Amber of Secrets, and Deathly Hops (h/t Jay Brooks).

    Queen is the latest rock group to release its own beer. It’s a pilsner that will be called—what else?—Bohemian Rhapsody. The bottle’s design features a crest designed by Freddie Mercury himself while he was in college.

    5 Rabbit Cerveceria has pulled a custom-brewed batch of ale from Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico. 5 Rabbit’s founder, is a native of Costa Rica.

    Finally, New Orleans is rarely associated with German culture, but Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, a year-round, Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall, will open this summer in the city’s Warehouse District.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Average cost of an 11.2-ounce beer (standard European size) in Geneva: $6.32.
  • Average cost of a standard European-size beer in London: $4.52.
  • Average cost of a standard European-size beer in Berlin: $2.58.
  • Cost of a one-liter mug of beer at this year’s Oktoberfest: 10 euros ($12).
  • Increase over last year: 3 percent.
  • Germany’s annual inflation rate: 0.5 percent.
  • California brewery count, as of March 2015: 554.
  • California’s breweries’ annual production: 3.4 million barrels.
  • U.S. imported beer sales in 2015’s first quarter: 7.46 million barrels.
  • Increase over 2014’s first quarter: 13 percent.
  • Corona beer’s rank in U.S. sales: 5th.
  • Corona’s average rating on BeerAdvocate.com: 2.33 out of 5 (39th worst).
  • Corona’s 2015 sales increase over 2014: 16 percent.
  • Percent of adults aged 21-35 who consider local origin an important factor in buying beer: 53.
  • Percent of adults of all ages who consider local origin an important factor: 45.
  • Beck’s Beer Drinkers to Get a Refund

    If you bought Beck’s beer, you may be eligible for a refund. Anheuser-Busch InBev has settled a class-action lawsuit which alleged that the brewery deceived consumers by representing Beck’s as a German product when in fact it’s brewed in St. Louis. Beck’s buyers who’ve saved receipts from their purchases can claim a refund of up to $50. Those who can’t produce receipts may be entitled to as much as a $12 refund.

    Many other beers associated with foreign countries—including Red Stripe, Fosters, and Killian’s Irish Red—are brewed in the U.S. However, those beers’ packaging identifies them as domestically-made. As part of the settlement, A-B will change Beck’s labeling to identify it as American-made.

    The idea of brewing foreign brands of beer in the U.S. was inspired by the auto industry. European and Japanese automakers have moved much of their production to American plants, which resulted in a substantial decrease in shipping costs. Those costs are a concern for breweries because it’s so expensive to transport beer from overseas to the U.S.

    The Friday Mash (UN Edition)

    Seventy years ago today, representatives of 50 countries meeting in San Francisco signed the Charter of the United Nations. The UN’s original five Security Council members were the U.S., Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China (Taiwan)–which shows up in this week’s Mash.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Chicago, where Goose Island Brewing Company is launching a series of beers brewed by its alumni. First up is Greg Hall, who returned 27 years after his first day on the job.

    Duquesne Brewing Company is rolling out a beer honoring Joe Paterno. Part of the proceeds from the Vienna-style lager will go to charities chosen by the late coach’s family.

    Carlsberg Brewing, with 8 percent of the world beer market, is pitching a line of grooming products to the men who drink its beer. The product line includes shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.

    Beer has been linked to “man boobs”. But even though hops contain phytoestrogen, it’s found in many other foods. The real culprit is calories, not beer itself.

    Chestnuts aren’t just for roasting on an open fire. Dennis Fulbright, professor emeritus at Michigan State University, says they make for sweeter, smoother beers—which are also gluten-free.

    A Portland, Oregon, a beer hall that opens next month will pay its workers at least $15 an hour, and will enforce a no-tipping policy. Beers, sandwiches, and sausages will cost $6 apiece.

    Finally, the Wunderman Taiwan brewery gave a new meaning to starting a “buzz.” It dressed up drones as bees to deliver its new Honey Beer to office workers.

    Don’t Be a “Sample Hog”

    Aaron Goldfarb of Esquire magazine has some friendly advice for craft beer fans: don’t abuse your sampling privileges. Even though Goldfarb understands the purpose of asking for samples, he comments, “I can’t tell you how much of my life I must sit around thirsty and sober because some yahoo has asked for taste after taste after ceaseless taste of that kölsch (too boring) and then that gose (too salty) and finally that gueuze (too tart!) before simply ordering his old standby.”

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