The Friday Mash (Strait and Narrow Edition)

On this day in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan discovered a navigable sea route separating South America and Tierra del Fuego. The treacherous body of water is now known as the Strait of Magellan.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Columbus, Ohio, where Scotland-based BrewDog will have a brewery up and running late this winter. BrewDog is also raising capital by crowdfunding: you can buy shares for $47.50 each.

It took him 16 tries, but reddit user “boomboomsaloon” finally succeeded in buying beer using a Blockbuster Video membership card as proof of age.

“It’s like a death in the family”, said Revolution Brewing Founder Josh Deth after he recalled more than 10,000 barrels of beer that didn’t meet his brewery’s quality standards.

Kirin Brewing Company, Japan’s second-largest brewery, will buy a 25-percent stake in Brooklyn Brewing Company. Kirin will introduce Brooklyn’s beers in Japan and distribute them in Brazil.

Food blogger Kyle Marcoux aka The Vulgar Chef found a new way to pair beer and pizza. He made a koozie by rolling a square pizza base with pepperoni and mozzarella around a beer can.

Engineers at University of Colorado have developed a process to make lithium-ion battery electrodes from the sugar-rich wastewater created in the beer-making process.

Finally, beer writer Josh Bernstein says these six trends will be the talk of 2017: Marzen beers in the fall, the revival of Kolsch beers, juice-like IPAs, milk stouts, coffee beers, and fruited sour beers.

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Beer, Hospitals and No “Double Jeopardy”

Candida Moss, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, reminds us of Christianity’s role in bringing us beer. Catholic monks didn’t invent beer or create beer culture, but out of necessity they brewed superb ales—including Westvletern 12, which has been rated the world’s best. Centuries ago, St. Benedict instructed monks to be good hosts, and to support themselves from the fruit of their labor. Brewing beer was a way to comply with both. Originally the monks made beer as a way to avoid contracting dangerous water-borne illnesses. But in the 17th century, the Paulaner monks of Bavaria starting brewing beer especially for consumption during the Lenten fast, when eating was prohibited. The monks’ tradition lives on in the form of Starkbierzeit, Munich’s Lenten festival.

Moss adds that Christianity deserves credit for the concept of the hospital as an independent institution. Here again, the monks get credit; they started caring for the sick at their monasteries; and in Egypt, they make the health care available to monks available to all. In addition, Moss traces the Anglo-American legal concept of “double jeopardy” to the Church. In the 12th century, King Henry II of England tried to pass a law allowing his courts to try members of the clergy who had already been tried in ecclesiastical courts. Thomas a Becket, who was later made a saint, argued that there could be only one judgment for the same act. Henry took exception, and his knights murdered Becket. Afterward, the pope not only condemned Henry but also his effort to inflict double punishment on the clergy.

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The Friday Mash (Blowout Edition)

One hundred years ago today, Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland University, 222-0, in the most lopsided college football game of all time. Tech coach John Heisman had an incentive to run up the score: back then, football rankings were based on margin of victory, not strength of schedule.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Asheville, North Carolina, where Catawba Brewing has honored a native son, author Thomas Wolfe, with a beer called Wolfeman Kolsch. Its ingredients include hops grown in western North Carolina.

Even though the economy has improved since the Great Recession, beer sales at bars and restaurants have stayed flat. Factors include competition from brewery taprooms and growlers.

Two more non-beer companies are rolling out their own beers: Vice Media and the clothing company Patagonia, Inc.

In the UK, the brewery count has topped 1,700. An industry analyst says that some of the country’s craft breweries are attractive acquisition targets.

Some in the brewing industry oppose legal marijuana for fear of losing market share. However, that hasn’t happened in Colorado and Washington State, where recreational pot is legal.

Entrepreneur Josephine Uwineza plans to open a brewpub in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. It will not only be Rwanda’s only women-owned brewery but also the country’s first-ever craft brewery.

Finally, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals raised eyebrows by claiming that beer is healthier than milk. PETA contends that beer can strengthen bones and extend life, while milk is linked to obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. Senate sponsors of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act: 51.
  • U.S. House sponsors of that bill: 100.
  • Value of Ireland’s beer exports in 2015: €265 million ($300 million).
  • Increase over 2014: 16 percent.
  • Average cost of a pint of beer in the UK this year: £3.47 ($4.61).
  • Increase over last year: 1p.
  • Licensed premises’ share of UK beer sales in 2015: 49 percent. For the first time in history, it fell below 50 percent.
  • Decline in UK licensed premises’ beer sales from 1980 until 2015: 44 percent.
  • Projected U.S. hop harvest for this year: 92 million pounds.
  • Acres of U.S. farmland on which hops are currently grown: 51,000.
  • Increase over 2011 acreage: 20,000 acres (64.5 percent).
  • Tax revenue from legal marijuana sales in Washington State in 2015: $64.6 million.
  • Tax revenue from beer sales in Washington State in 2015: $30.8 million.
  • Market capitalization of merged corporations SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev: $245 billion.
  • SAB Miller-Anheuser-Busch InBev merger’s rank on the all-time mergers list: 4th. The combined company is the world’s fifth-largest brand.
  • The Friday Mash (James Dean Edition)

    Sixty-one years ago today, James Dean was killed in a traffic crash in California. He was 24 years old. Dean became the first actor to earn posthumous Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, for playing Cal Trask in East of Eden and Jett Rink in Giant.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Denver, where Brent Doeden aka “Captain Earthman” suffers from inoperable brain cancer. Doeden, who’s been vending beer at Colorado Rockies baseball games since the franchise’s inception, is a cult figure at Coors Field.

    Wil Fulton of makes the case for why flip cup is a better drinking game than beer pong. One advantage: it’s easier to cheat, which—like in Monopoly—is an integral part of the game.

    The Michelada is one of Mexico’s popular new drinks. It consists of beer, lime juice, spices, sauces, and other ingredients in a salt-lined glass. It has some similarity to a margarita.

    To combat “flagship fatigue”, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will release three new ales next year: Sidecar Orange Pale Ale, Tropical Torpedo, and Golden IPA.

    Los Angeles has light rail transportation, and you can spend a day pub-crawling along the Red Line, which runs from Union Station to North Hollywood.

    Candidates aren’t the only ones running negative ads this fall. Miller Lite responded to a Bud Light spot with this slogan: “Bud Light says raise one to right now so why not raise the right one?”

    Finally, ultra-runner Karl Meltzer set a new record for running the length of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail: 44.9 days, 22 hours 38 minutes. His routine on the AT included ending the day with a couple of brews. Meltzer celebrated the end of his trek with a pepperoni pizza and—you guessed it—a beer.

    The Friday Mash (Neptune Edition)

    One hundred and seventy years ago today, astronomers Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, John Couch Adams and Johann Gottfried Galle collaborated on the discovery of Neptune. Now that Pluto has been demoted, Neptune is the most distant planet in our solar system.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Jacksonville, Florida, where an over-eager liquor control officer charged a 17-year-old girl with the crime of underage possession of alcohol. Her offense? Moving a cup of beer on a beer pong table at a Jaguars tailgate party.

    Terrorist attacks in Europe have forced Oktoberfest organizers to beef up security this year, and many would-be attendees are avoiding the celebration out of fear of an attack in Munich.

    Rutgers University ended its school-sponsored football tailgate parties after athletics director Pat Hobbs was seen chugging a beer onstage. Drinking on the job is a no-no at RU.

    The new season of Shark Tank begins tonight. Leading off are the inventors of Fizzics, an in-home tap that re-creates the mouthfeel and aroma of freshly-poured draft beer.

    Long Island’s Blue Point Brewery is serving up history in the form of Colonial Ale. It was made using a recipe written by George Washington in a military journal in 1757.

    Are you seeing less pumpkin beer on the shelves this fall? It’s because breweries overproduced it last year and demand for the style fell off. Unseasonably warm weather also hurt sales.

    Finally, scientists have figured out why the foam on top keeps your beer from sloshing. The answer is “capillary action”, the same phenomenon that enables paper towel to soak up spilled milk and plants to suck up water from their roots.

    The Friday Mash (Night at the Opera Edition)

    Fifty years ago today, the Metropolitan Opera House opened at Lincoln Square in Manhattan. The opening-night performance was the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin on ESPN College GameDay, where Sam Crowder held up a sign last Saturday asking Vemmo users to send him beer money. Within hours, more than 2,000 people contributed.

    BBC correspondent Stephen Evans hopped a flight to make a beer run…all the way to Beijing. His Chinese friends had made a trip to the border to acquire “forbidden” Taedonggang beer, which is brewed in North Korea.

    Here’s a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had. It’s a beer mug that won’t block your view of the TV when you’re drinking.

    Pork roll aka Taylor ham, a New Jersey breakfast favorite, is now a beer ingredient. Flying Fish Brewing Company has released Exit 7 Pork Roll Porter as part of its “Exit Series”.

    Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing has rolled out a beer honoring the stereotypical “Florida Man”. The label for this beer, a double IPA, depicts a man wrestling an alligator—and winning.

    Beer is more expensive than ever at NFL stadiums, but there’s one consolation: you can now buy craft beer from breweries that Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors recently acquired.

    Finally, Nebraska liquor regulators have banned homebrewers from beer festivals. Because homebrewers aren’t licensed, there’s no assurance that they meet health and sanitation standards.

    Tracing Beer Yeasts’ “Family Tree”

    Humans domesticated yeasts long before they figured that yeasts even existed. Now a team of geneticists created the first family tree of those yeasts. They did so by examining samples collected from nearly 100 breweries around the world.

    For most of history, people made beer at home. Because beer kept for a long time, it was necessary to brew only once a month or so. The long interval gave the wild yeasts in the beer enough time to interbreed with other strains and stay feral. But with the rise of commercial brewing some 400 years ago, brewers made beer on a continuous basis. In an effort to make the beer consistent, they inadvertently changed the yeasts’ genetic makeup. Brewers “backslopped”—that is, they took the sediment at the end of the brewing process and used it to inoculate the next batch. Over time, the yeasts lost the ability to sexually reproduce and acquired genes that helped them digest maltose, a type of sugar found in backslop.

    It turns out that brewing yeasts were domesticated in two separate lineages. “Beer 1” emerged in Germany and Belgium around the turn of the 17th century. Those yeasts spread to the United Kingdom and, from there, to North America. Most of the yeasts used in brewing today belong to the Beer 1 branch of the family tree.

    About 50 years later, another branch of beer yeasts, “Beer 2,” arose independently. The geneticists who studied them are unable to identify their place of origin. Beer 2 yeasts evolved from yeasts found in wineries, and generally result in beers with higher alcohol content.

    It is almost impossible to distinguish a Beer 1 yeast from a Beer 2 yeast based on flavor alone. Beer yeasts can create such a variety of flavors that even two closely related-yeasts can create beer with vastly different tastes.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Number of beers ordered by Bristol Motor Speedway for last Saturday’s Tennessee-Virginia Tech game: 545,000.
  • Attendance at that game: 156,990.
  • Ohio’s brewery count: 180.
  • Percent of Ohio breweries that intend to make 12-percent-plus beer now that the ABV cap has been lifted: 10.
  • Increase in 2016 craft beer sales over 2015 sales: 6 percent (compared to 19 percent the year before).
  • Percentage of top-ten craft breweries with lower sales this year than last: 50.
  • Decline in Samuel Adams Boston Lager sales from 2015 to this year: 13.8.
  • Tsingtao Brewery Company’s net income in the first half of 2016: 1.07 billion yuan ($160 million).
  • Change from the first half of 2015: Down 11 percent.
  • Number of tickets Toppling Goliath brewery issued for its Mornin’ Delight imperial stout: 500.
  • Number of people who logged onto Toppling Goliath’s website to buy Mornin’ Delight tickets: 80,000.
  • Average annual salary for assistant brewers at small breweries: $30,000-$40,000.
  • Average annual salary for head brewers at small breweries: $35,000-$47,000.
  • Style categories in this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition: 96.
  • Breweries expected to compete in this year’s GABF: 1,600.
  • The Friday Mash (Piggly Wiggly Edition)

    One hundred years ago today, the first Piggly Wiggly grocery store opened in Memphis. It was the first true self-service grocery store, and the originator of such supermarket features as checkout stands, individual item price marking, and shopping carts.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin at sea, where part of the sixth annual Brews by the Bay will be held tomorrow. Festival venues are Cape May, New Jersey; Lewes, Delaware; and the ferry connecting those two towns. It’s the only multi-state beer festival we’re aware of.

    Edinburgh’s Innis & Gunn latest release is “Smoke & Mirrors”, whose ingredients are said to make the drinker more likely to tell the truth. The brewery has sent a bottle to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    Liquor laws left over from the repeal of Prohibition are a case study in how government regulations can stifle entrepreneurship, then leave entire regions playing catch-up when they’re finally relaxed.

    What makes breweries’ flagship beers disappear? The reasons include waning brand loyalty, competition from newcomers, and consumers’ changing tastes.

    Researchers at Indiana University found that that if you really want a beer and want it right now, the source of your craving may be a pea-sized structure deep inside the right side of your brain.

    English illustrator Tom Ward has created a series of beer mats depicting fictional bars from the movies. The collection includes the Hog’s Head Pub from Harry Potter and The Prancing Pony from Lord of the Rings.

    Finally, Suzanne Schalow and Kate Baker have found success with Craft Beer Cellar: small, selective stores with hundreds of beers and knowledgeable staff. Schalow and Baker have learned that “craft” and “local” don’t equal quality.

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