The Friday Mash (Cleveland Rocks Edition)

Two hundred and twenty years ago today, surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company named an area in Ohio “Cleveland” after General Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party. The city’s first “a” later vanished when a newspaper publisher couldn’t fit it on the masthead.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in space, the final frontier. Shmaltz Brewing is celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary with two “collector’s edition” Golden Anniversary beers:”The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Voyage to the Northeast Quadrant”.

“Foraging”—combing local fields and forests for ingredients—is a foodie trend that breweries are just starting to join. VinePair’s Kathleen Wilcox profiles two of them and the people who own them.

Here’s one SEC title the Alabama Crimson Tide won’t be winning: best craft beer city in the conference. The honor belongs to Athens, Georgia, the home of the Bulldogs.

The Beer Institute, whose member companies control 80 percent of the American market, has agreed to put nutritional information—including calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat—on beer labels.

It wasn’t exactly Smokey and the Bandit, but a beer distributor picked up his first allotment of Deschutes beer in Bend, Oregon, and drove it cross-country to Salem, Virginia.

Africa is a challenging market for breweries. They’ve responded by stepping up production of beer using local ingredients and rolling out low-cost alternatives to their flagship brands.

Finally, a London-based company is the first to brew beer using artificial intelligence. It uses an algorithm called Automated Brewing Intelligence to collect customer feedback via a Facebook Messenger bot, then uses the feedback to improve the recipes of its beer.

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Beer…By the Numbers

  • Average price of a 1/3-liter draft beer in Lausanne, Switzerland: $17.60 (highest in the world).
  • Average price of a 1/3-liter draft beer in New York City: $9.22.
  • Average price of a 1/3-liter draft beer in Bratislava, Slovakia: $2.80.
  • Average cost of a pint of beer in 2016: $3.99.
  • Average cost (adjusted for inflation) of a pint of beer in 1952: $5.93.
  • Craft beer’s sales growth in the first half of 2016: 6 percent.
  • Imported beer’s sales growth in the first half of 2016: 6.7 percent.
  • Grams of carbohydrates in a bottle of Michelob Ultra: 2.6.
  • Grams of carbohydrates in a bottle of Bud Light: 6.6.
  • Pounds of spent grain produced by New Belgium Brewing at its Fort Collins, Colorado, brewery: 73 million.
  • Spent grain’s share of brewery by-products: 85 percent.
  • Style categories in this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition: 96.
  • Estimated number of beers expected to be entered in this year’s GABF competition: 7,000.
  • Beers to be poured at this weekend’s Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival: 1,107.
  • Breweries that will pour at the MBG Summer Beer Festival: 125.
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    The Real Champagne of Beers

    For years, the advertising slogan for Miller High Life was “The Champagne of Bottled Beers”. However, there’s a beer with a much stronger claim to the word “Champagne”, and it’s been around twice as long.

    “Deus”, which is Latin for “God”, is brewed in Buggenhut, Belgium, by the Bosteels Brewery. This brewery was founded in 1791, and has been in the family—seven generations in all—from the beginning. Deus is, stylistically, a Brut des Flandres or a Biere de Champagne. It’s even packaged in 750-ml Champagne-style bottles.

    Bosteels brews Deus as strong blonde ale, then sends it to Epernay in France’s Champagne regionAfter fermentation the beer is bottled, then placed in a cellar for nine months, with each bottle rotated by hand once a week. This process allows the yeast to naturally carbonate the beer, giving it the fine bubbles characteristic of Champagne.

    After cellaring, the yeast sediment is removed in a process called degorgement. The bottles are stored neck down to allow the yeast to settle near the cork; then the necks are flash-frozen, and the bottle is uncorked. After the yeast plug is removed, a new cork is placed on the bottle. And voila! Champagne-like beer.

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    The Friday Mash (Spanish Inquisition Edition)

    On this day in 1834, the Spanish parliament formally disbanded the Inquisition, which was created in 1480 by monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It was revived in 1970 by the Monty Python troupe—when no one was expecting it.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Amsterdam, which is having a rainy summer. That’s good new for a group of entrepreneurs who are gathering rainwater and using to brew a pale ale called “Hemelswater: code blond”.

    The newly-opened Tilted Mash Brewing got a big boost from judges at this year’s California State Fair. A third-place showing in the competitive Pale Ale category gave the brewery instant credibility.

    Beer, then whiskey. Chicago’s Wander North Distillery is distilling beer mash from its next-door neighbor, Northgate Brewing. The first whiskey in the series is called Uncharted 1.

    William Turton and Bryan Mengus of Gizmodo.com tried three popular brands of non-alcoholic beer. The best of the three “tasted like carbonated water with some beer flavoring thrown in”, the worst was “disgusting”.

    Engineers at Heineken have discovered a way to dispense beer at high altitudes. Once the airline gets the necessary safety certificates, it will start serving in-flight draft beer.

    How intense has beer trademark litigation gotten? Twelve lawyers filed challenges to Candace Moon’s application to trademark the phrase “Craft Beer Attorney”.

    Finally, two IT consultants from Michigan have developed an app for beer festivals. It allows festival-goers to see what beers are available, develop a customized list, and rate the beers after tasting them.

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    Cracking The Beer Code

    Denmark’s TO ØL Brewery has released six beers whose names and labels touched off Da Vinci Code-level sleuthing on both sides of the Atlantic. The beers have names such as “Mr. Blue”, and strange alphanumeric symbols on the label: a letter, a colon, and digits.

    It turns out that the alphanumeric characters represent Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key symbols used for four-color process printing. For example, Mr. Blue’s C:98, M:8, Y:6, K:0 is the printing “recipe” for the color blue. Other colors in the series include Blonde, Brown, Orange, Pink, White, and a forthcoming Brown.

    The mystery doesn’t end there. The beers’ colorful names are tied to the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs in which the gem thieves adopted the names of colors as their aliases.

    Finally, the brewery’s name is part of the story. In Danish, “ØL” is similar to the English word ale. It’s also an abbreviated adaption of the brothers’ first names. In other words the name signifies, in English, “Two Founders, Two Beers”.

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    Miller Lite’s Inventor Was a Suspected Communist

    Miller Lite is an American icon but George Weissman, the man behind its creation, was suspected by the government of being a Communist. For decades, the FBI maintained a file on Weissman. Gawker’s Matt Novak filed a Freedom of Information Act request to access the Weissman file—which had been transferred to the National Archives.

    The 26 pages of documents detail Weissman’s alleged associations with the Communist Party in the 1940s, both before and after he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. The FBI also followed up in the 1970s when it investigated Weissman’s involvement with an organization called Executives Move For Peace in Vietnam. Novak observes, “It appears that the FBI considered protesting the war in Vietnam to be more dangerous than selling a product that killed tens of thousands of Americans every year”. That product was cigarettes; Weissman also created another American icon: the Marlboro Man.

    The last page in the Weissman file suggests that the White House asked about him in October 1973. It in’t entirely clear from the file why the Nixon administration was interested in Weissman, though it was later revealed that he appeared on one of Nixon’s many political enemies lists.

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    Will Craft Lager Be Mega-Brewers’ Next Headache?

    Unless you live in New York or southern California, you’ve probably never heard of House Beer. But House founder Brendan Sindell and his business partner have big plans for their beer. Really big plans. They want to beat Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller, and Coors at their own game: making lager in large quantities. And they plan to do so by making a better-tasting lager.

    Despite craft beer’s rise in popularity, the overwhelming majority of beer sold in the U.S. is still lager. Some craft breweries, such as Sierra Nevada, have added a lager to their lineup, but most of their product is ales, India pale ale in particular.

    House’s business model is different from that of craft brewers. It will offer just one beer, its lager. Its current production in 8,000 barrels a year, but it plans to expand rapidly, targeting customers in metropolitan areas starting with Chicago and Austin.

    A panel of beer enthusiasts at CNBC tasted House beer, and found that it was better than the leading domestic and imported lagers. “[T]here’s none of the sour bite that accompanies a northern European lagers or pilsners. House is a lager beer that’s equal parts tasty and quenching without any of the flavor drawbacks that accompany mega-lager-brewers. It’s not as bitter or watered-down as some mega-brands are.”

    What Happens To Beer After Brexit?

    The UK’s likely exit from the European Union has far-reaching implications, and beer isn’t exempt from them.

    Even though the U.S. isn’t part of the EU, American beer drinkers might soon feel the effects of “Brexit”. In the wake of the vote to leave, the British pound lost more than 10 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar. That might result in cheaper British beer in American stores.

    Currently, goods from EU members on the Continent enter the UK duty free, and vice versa. Once the UK leaves the EU, it would be free to impose tariffs on German malt and French cider apples. The UK also might decide to eliminate tariffs on hops from Australia or the U.S. Conversely, EU countries might start charging tariffs on English beers and ciders and on raw materials such as hops.

    All of this, however, is speculation. It will probably take two years or more to negotiate the UK’s departure from the EU, and no one is sure of what the terms of Brexit will include.

    The Friday Mash (PG-13 Edition)

    On this day in 1984, the Motion Picture Association of America added “PG-13” to its film rating system. The new rating was created after parents and advocacy groups complained about the amount of violence in some PG-rated films.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in South Carolina, where a 20-year-old law forbids breweries to donate beer to non-profit organizations. This law—which state liquor agents are aggressively enforcing—effectively prevents small breweries from taking part in festivals.

    In Las Vegas, Pub 365 plans to offer a rotating selection of 365 craft beers, including beer cocktails and a rare beer menu called the Unicorn List. Seasonals will make up one-fifth of the selection.

    Market Watch’s Jason Notte writes that craft breweries are resorting to a tactic they once despised: establishing sub-brands for beers that may not fit the character of the brewery’s core business.

    Starting next year, beer bikes will be banned from Amsterdam’s city center. Locals complained that the bikes, packed with bachelor partiers, have turned downtown into a drunken theme park.

    The Washington Post’s Fritz Hahn has noticed a trend: the 16-ounce shaker pint is giving way to smaller glassware. It’s makes craft beer appear cheape, and it’s a more responsible way to serve high-gravity styles.

    Thieves made off with two refrigerated trailers packed with 78,500 bottles of SweetWater Brewing Company’s beer. Police recovered some of the beer in a nearby warehouse—which, ironically, was a shooting location for the 1977 bootleg beer classic, Smokey and the Bandit.

    Finally, Untappd, Inc., now offers “Untapped For Business”, which allows retailers to publish beer lists, share their menus with consumers, and notify customers that rare or sought-after beers are going to appear on store shelves.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. federal excise tax on a pint of craft beer: 3 cents.
  • UK excise tax on a pint of craft beer: 50 pence (67 U.S. cents).
  • Paid attendance at “10 Cent Beer Night” at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, 1974: 25,134.
  • Estimated number of 10-cent beers consumed by fans that night: 60,000.
  • Regular price of a beer at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1974: 65 cents.
  • Football Bowl Subdivision schools that will sell beer stadium-wide in 2016: 36.
  • Percentage of FBS schools that sell beer stadium wide: 28.
  • Estimated value of Budweiser’s brand: $14.73 billion (world’s most valuable beer brand).
  • Estimated value of Bud Light’s brand: $13.92 billion (world’s second most-valuable beer brand).
  • Average price of a bushel of U.S. malting barley in 2013: $6.58.
  • Average price in 2016: $5.75.
  • Capacity of a Game of Thrones-themed “Drankgon” beer bong: 64+ ounces.
  • Retail price of a Drankgon: $27.
  • Suggested retail price of the BeerDroid personal brewing system: 799 Australian dollars ($595 U.S.)
  • Size of one batch of BeerDroid beer: 10 liters.
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