The Friday Mash (Inauguration Day Edition)

Eighty years ago today, Franklin D. Roosevelt took the oath of office, beginning his second term as president. Roosevelt was first the president to be inaugurated on January 20 under the 20th Amendment. Previously, presidents were sworn in on March 4.

And now…The Mash!

We begin at the University of Leuven in Belgium, where scientists have found that brewers “tamed” beer yeasts by reusing them until they adapted to the brewery environment. In fact, brewery yeasts couldn’t survive if reintroduced into the wild.

At age 87, former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke drank a beer while watching the Aussie cricket team take on Pakistan. In college, Hawke set a world record by drinking a yard of ale—that’s three pints—in 11 seconds.

John Laffler, the co-founder of Off Color Brewing, has a confession to make. He’s a fan of Miller High Life, which he describes as light, crisp, technically perfect, and very consistent.

Singer Ed Sheeran dropped 50 pounds in 12 months after giving up beer. Beer is back in Sheeran’s diet, but perhaps he’s switched to these low-calorie offerings.

This year’s 10th annual Philadelphia Beer Week will be part of a year-round celebration called “Philly Loves Beer”. Organizers hope the new format gives local breweries greater exposure and draws more visitors.

Refocusing on daytime business, Starbucks has dropped evening beer and wine sales. However, alcohol may eventually return to the chain’s high-end “Roastery” locations.

Finally, bad craft beer is becoming more common. Reasons include lax brewing standards, under-trained brewers, and intense competition that tempts breweries to bring faulty beer to market rather than dump it.

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Beer Comes up on Jeopardy!

On Tuesday’s Jeopardy! game, one of the categories was “Scrambled Kegs”. Players had to figure out five anagrammed beer brands:

  • Not just for the stoutest: INN GUESS
  • Perfect for award season: PROBABLE BIB NUTS
  • Out with the old: CLEAN STEW
  • Tonight is kind of special: NEW LABOUR
  • Enjoyed by a “range” of people: AREA INVADERS
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    The Friday Mash (National Geographic Edition)

    On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society was formed. The Society’s logo, a bright yellow box, appears on National Geographic magazine, which is published in 40 languages around the world.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Pennsylvania, where the beer police caught up with Travis John Miller, who was selling the contents of his beer cellar on Craigslist. Miller faces a misdemeanor charge of selling alcohol without a license.

    Swedish brewer Fredrik Tunedal, who often came home from work covered in malt dust, has released a Shower Beer. Its flavor profile includes a soapy taste, which Tunedal calls “on-point” for his product.

    Keurig Green Mountain has partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev to develop a line of instant beers—and other instant adult beverages—that Keurig owners can make at home.

    The CEO of Constellation Brands, which imports Corona and Modelo beer, said that he doesn’t expect President-elect Donald Trump’s trade policy to raise the price of Mexican brands.

    Despite a dismal 5-7 record, the University of Texas finished #1 in the country—in beer sales, that is. By season’s end, Longhorns fans spent $5.26 on alcohol for every fan in attendance.

    Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, disputes studies showing that beer sales have fallen in states where recreational marijuana is legal. Watson argues that pot is just one of many variables affecting sales.

    Finally, in Adelaide, Australia, the woman-owned Sparkke Change Beverage Company is putting feminist messages on cans of its beer. It’s an effort to start conversations in the country’s male-dominated beer culture.

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    Beer Tailored to Your DNA

    If you have an extra $30,000 lying around, the Meantime Brewery in London will custom-brew a batch of beer that literally matches your DNA. Interested? The first step (assuing you’ve got the money), is to provide a saliva sample to be analyzed by the company 23andMe. The analysis focuses in particular on the gene TAS2R38, which contains oral taste receptors.

    The next step is an appointment with Meantime’s brewmaster Ciaran Giblin, who will work with you to perfect the beer. An awful lot of beer—some 2,000 pints worth. Optional add-ons (you’ve got plenty of money, right?) include ad agency time to design your packaging, kegs to send to your local pub, and pint glasses molded to your hand.

    Forbes magazine correspondent Leslie Wu, who wrote the article about the brewery’s “Meantime Bespoke” beer, has misgivings about it. She wonders who, even in a highly-competitive craft beer market, would pay that much money for beer. And she warns that personalized beer can lead to a “beer dystopia” where people are unwilling to try anything new.

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    The Friday Mash (Epiphany Edition)

    Today, Christians celebrate The Feast of the Epiphany. In Louisiana, this means Carnival season is underway. The local tradition is to bake King Cakes; and the person who finds the doll in his or her slice must bake the next cake.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in France, where the Benedictine monks at the 1,367-year-old Abbey of Saint-Wandrille are back in the business of brewing. They’re the country’s only producers of truly monastic beer.

    In an interview with Paste magazine, 21st Amendment Brewery’s Nico Freccia talked about the fine art of naming beers, and how the brewery’s odd names has become mainstream.

    When Tim Kliegl turned 65, he celebrated in unusual fashion—namely, by running a mile, and trying a new beer, every day for an entire year. And he’s got the notes to prove it.

    Staffers at Amazon.com’s Christmas party in Dublin were treated to a special beer from local micro Metalman Brewing. Grainne Walsh, Metalman’s founder, once worked as an engineer at Amazon.

    The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended lowering the DUI threshold to .05 percent, and a Utah lawmaker wants his state to be first. The current threshold in all states is .08.

    Rick Astley, whose song “Never Gonna Give You Up” was part of a popular Internet prank, plans to “roll” out a beer. The lager, which will be brewed by Mikkeller, has yet to be named.

    Finally, the The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company will celebrate its 150th anniversary by joining forces with the famous Hofbräu München. The amber-colored, Marzen-style will be introduced in April.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Change in seasonal beer sales in the U.S. from 2013 to 2014: Up 13.1 percent.
  • Change from in seasonal beer sales 2015 to 2016: Down 5.4 percent.
  • UK pub closings in 2015-16: 480.
  • Change from the year before: Down 7 percent.
  • UK brewery openings in 2015: 134.
  • Change from the year before: Up 8 percent.
  • Annual growth rate in UK craft beer sales: 40 percent.
  • Oregon’s brewery count in 2016: 218.
  • Its brewery count ten years ago: 76.
  • Barrels of Modelo Especial shipped in the U.S. in 2015: 5.4 million.
  • Increase over 2010 shipments: 135.3 percent (the nation’s fastest growing brand).
  • Japanese tax on a 350-ml can of regular beer: 77 yen (81 U.S. cents).
  • Japanese tax on a 350-ml can of “happoshu” (a lower-malt content beer): 47 yen (40 U.S. cents)
  • Unique beers served by Founders Brewing Company last year: 95.
  • Live acts that performed on Founders’ stage last year: 250.
  • Raise a Glass to Santa Claus

    The legend of the man we call Santa Claus stems from Nicholas of Myra, a bishop of a small town in Greece during the 4th century. Nicholas was known for protecting children and, at least once, saving them from human traffickers.

    Nicholas became St. Nicholas and, eventually, Santa Claus. In addition to becoming the patron saint of children, he became the patron of brewers. Santa Claus fell out of favor during the Protestant Reformation in favor of darker figures such as Krampus. But during the 19th century, Christmas regained its jolliness and Santa was on his way to becoming the jolly, pipe-smoking man in the red suit.

    Advertisers have used Santa Claus to hawk a variety of products—including beer. The latter didn’t sit well with neo-prohibitionists, who persuaded policy makers to declare Santa off-limits to beer ads. The brewing industry fought back, and successfully argued that the bans violated the First Amendment. Ironically, many of the same states that banned products like Bad Elf India Pale Ale allowed a strong German lager named Samichlaus—can you guess what that means in English?—to be sold.

    Maryanne, Paul, and Ludwig wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Beer Traveling Back to the 1850s

    Carillon Historical Park, in Dayton, Ohio, provides an opportunity to taste beers from the 1850s. One of the park’s 30 buildings houses the Carillon Brewing Company, which uses historically accurate, mid-19th-century techniques. Visitors can enjoy traditional German food and other offerings at the brewery’s restaurant; while eating, they can watch employees and volunteers feed the fires, ladle the beer, and fill the barrels.

    Carillon’s ales, made using techniques that predate refrigeration and mechanization, have a traditional sourness that some will consider an “acquired taste.” (Those who like the beer can buy growlers to take home.) The brewery’s flagship product is a coriander ale made from an 1830s recipe. Another Carillon beer, a porter, is made with malt hand-roasted over the fireplace coals; and because yeast strains vary seasonally, it will taste different throughout the year.

    The Friday Mash (Hail Fredonia Edition)

    One hundred and ninety years ago today, Benjamin W. Edwards rode into Mexican-controlled Texas and declared himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia. Edwards is not to be confused with Rufus T. Firefly.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Germany, where the Bayern Munich football team treated Ingolstat’s players to sausages and beer. Ingolstat upset Leipzig, enabling Bayern to move into first place in the Bundesliga.

    A former NASA biologist has developed a genetically engineered strain of yeast that makes beer glow under a black light. His “fluorescent yeast kit” contains genes from a jellyfish.

    MobCraft Beer, a Milwaukee brewery that lets the public vote on new products, was was heavily criticized after “Date Grape” was one of the finalists. The brewery has apologized for the sexual assault reference.

    Writer Jay Brooks tells the fascinating story of the Americas’ first Western-style brewery. It opened near Mexico City in 1544, with a team of brewers imported from Flanders.

    Country music artist Sunny Sweeney’s song “One More Christmas Beer” celebrates family dysfunction. Sweeney says that the lyrics are inspired by actual events.

    Next month, Chicago’s Field Museum will start serving PseudoSue, a pale ale brewed by the Toppling Goliath Brewing Company. The ale celebrates “Sue”, the museum’s beloved T-Rex skeleton.

    Finally, Colorado’s craft brewers are engaged in soul-searching. This year, they’ve had to contend with Anheuser-Busch’s takeover of Breckenridge Brewing Company and a legislative battle over selling full-strength beer in grocery stores.

    The Friday Mash (Heisman Trophy Edition)

    On this day in 1935, the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later renamed the Heisman Trophy, was awarded for the first time. The winner was halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago who, despite being a number-one draft pick, never played pro football.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Wisconsin, where you’ll get a beer chaser with your Bloody Mary. The state’s taverns have a long-standing tradition of serving chasers with cocktails.

    The Jewish Museum of Montreal has joined forces with a nearby craft brewery to re-create a beer brewed by brothers Ezekiel, Moses, and Benjamin Hart in 1796.

    Is there a beer aficionado on your Christmas list? Forbes magazine writer Tara Nurin can help you. She’s written mini-reviews of 18 worthy beer books.

    The latest gizmo for beer snobs is That Ultrabeer Thing, a vibrator that emits ultrasonic waves that break up carbon dioxide bubbles, creating a creamy foamy head.

    San Francisco’s ReGrained is collecting spent grain from three local breweries and turning them into susatinable granola bars. The company’s slogan is “Eat Beer”.

    A market analysis firm has found that beer sales are “underperforming” in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Recreational marijuana is legal in all of those states.

    Finally, the stereotypical craft beer drinker is a bearded white male. However, craft customers are becoming more diverse, and the industry is making efforts to get customers of color to drink their product.

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