The Friday Mash (GW Bridge Edition)

On this day in 1931, the George Washington Bridge opened to traffic. This double-decker span over the Hudson River connects Manhattan with Fort Lee, New Jersey–a town now famous thanks to “Bridgegate.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kansas City, where Boulevard Brewing Company will kick off its 25th anniversary celebration with the release of a special ale brewed in collaboration with Odell Brewing Company.

Chef David Chang made enemies thanks to a GQ magazine article declaring his hatred of “fancy beer”. Chang contends that craft beer has too intense a flavor to pair with his food.

Two hundred years ago, in London, eight women and children were killed by a flood of beer caused by an explosion at the Henry Meux & Company brewery. The disaster was ruled an “act of God.”

Why not turn your Halloween jack-o-lantern into a beer keg? All you need is a carving knife, a pumpkin carving kit, a Sharpie, a spigot, and beer—which need not be pumpkin beer.

William Bostwick, the Wall Street Journal’s beer critic, has written a book titled The Brewer’s Tale. In her review, Amy Stewart calls Bostwick “the very best sort of literary drinking buddy.”

In Papua New Guinea, which suffers 1.8 million cases of malaria every year, a brewery packs its beer in a box that contains eucalyptus, a natural mosquito repellent.

Finally, should the Great American Beer Festival give medals for best beer puns? CraftBeer.com’s Atalie Rhodes found these doozies on the list of medal winners. Our favorite is “Dubbel Entendre.”

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Educate Your Palate

The October 10 Friday Mash contained an item about a new beer and food pairing course offered by the Brewers Association. The course, which you can download for free, co-authored by chef Adam Dulye, the Association’s culinary consultant and Julia Herz, the Association’s craft beer program director.

It’s constructed as a five-day-long introduction to craft beer, pairing beer with food, and how to pour and present beer at the table. In addition to lectures and suggested readings, instructors guide students through two tasting sessions of beer styles and a food pairing session.

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The Friday Mash (Anchors Aweigh Edition)

On this day in 1845, the Naval School–later renamed the United States Naval Academy—opened in Annapolis, Maryland, with a class of 50 midshipman students and seven professors. Since then, the entire campus has gained recognition as a National Historic Landmark.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Australia, where a feral hog stole three six-packs of beer, got snorting drunk, and got into an altercation with a cow. The hog was seen the next morning sleeping off a nasty hangover.

It’s October, which means the pumpkin beers are flowing. If you like them, Playboy magazine has done you a favor. After tasting a slew of them, they’ve ranked America’s best pumpkin beers.

At last week’s Great American Beer Festival, the Brewers Association unveiled its beer and food pairing course. The five-unit course is free of charge, and you can download the course materials.

Watch out for yellow jackets. This is the time of the year when they feast on anything sweet—including your half-finished can of beer. Swallow one, and you’ll be in a world of hurt.

Sometimes distribution can the a bane of craft brewers. On its website, Clown Shoes Brewing tells a horror story about its relationship with its distributor in Georgia.

There’s a YouTube video of Alfred the cat, who appears to be polishing off a beer. Experts caution against serving beer to felines—unless, of course, they’re beer-drinking lions.

Finally, even though beer consumption at this year’s Oktoberfest was down 15 percent from last year’s, everyone had a good time in Munich. The Daily Mail has a photo essay of the festivities.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Top ten breweries’ share of the world beer market in 2004: 48 percent.
  • Top ten breweries’ share of the market in 2013: 65 percent.
  • Barrels of Castle, SABMiller’s biggest-selling beer, sold in 2013: 17.68 million.
  • Barrels of Carling Black Label, SABMiller’s second biggest-selling beer, sold in 2013: 17.59 million.
  • Average cost of a beer at a National Football League stadium: $7.53.
  • Increase over last year’s average cost: 23 cents.
  • Survival rate for microbreweries that opened in 1980 or later: 76 percent.
  • Survival rate for brewpubs that opened in 1980 or later: 51.5 percent.
  • Share of the sale price of a craft beer that goes to the retailer: 31 percent.
  • Share that goes to the distributor: 21 percent:
  • Share that goes to industry workers: 1 percent.
  • Beer’s share of alcoholic beverage consumption in 2001: 59.6 percent.
  • Beer’s projected share of alcoholic beverage consumption in 2015: 50.1 percent.
  • Size of a “crowler,” a metal beer container pioneered by Oskar Blues Brewery: 32 ounces.
  • Cost of a “crowler starter package”: $3,000 (machine, cans, and lids).
  • GABF 2014: The Winners’ Circle

    The winners of this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition were announced this afternoon. A total of 268 beers from 234 breweries were awarded medals, out of a record field of 5,507 beers entered. Fifty-two breweries taking part in the competition for the first time are coming home with medals.

    The most popular category was American-Style India Pale Ale, with 279 entries, followed by Herb and Spice Beer (150) and American-Style Pale Ale (145).

    A full list of this year’s winners, in pdf format, is available here.

    GABF Myths: Debunked

    The Great American Beer Festival opens tomorrow, and the folks at Paste magazine have addressed the top ten myths about the event. For those who’ve been to GABF, some of the myths are obvious: volunteers don’t know about the beer they’re pouring; Saturday night’s session is a drunken frat party; and if you don’t have a ticket, there’s nothing for a beer drinker to do in Denver.

    Paste also tries to set the record straight about gold medals: “A gold medal means that a particular entry perfectly meets the standard for that style–period. In the 2013 competition, Anheuser-Busch InBev won a gold medal in the American-Style Lager or Light Lager category for Budweiser Select, a technically well-done brew, but not exactly something a craft-beer aficionado would seek out.”

    But one myth is true: the Silent Disco is hilarious to watch.

    The Friday Mash (Sailing in Style Edition)

    Eighty years ago today, the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary was launched. She was retired in 1967, after taking well-heeled passengers across the North Atlantic, and is now a hotel and a tourist attraction in Long Beach, California.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Bavaria, where the Munich 1860 football team is selling Oktoberfest-themed uniforms complete with lederhosen and Bavarian blue-and-white gingham shirts.

    C. Dean Metropolous sold Pabst Blue Ribbon and other “nostalgia” brands to Oasis Beverages, a Russian-based brewer and distributor. Metropolous reportedly got $700 million for the brands.

    Crikey! After being attacked by a crocodile, a hunter in Australia’s Northern Territory drank beer to deaden the pain while he waited for an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

    Growlerwerks LLC is developing uKeg, a pressurized growler that should eliminate flat beer from growlers. The pressure comes from carbon dioxide cartridges, which cost about $1 apiece.

    Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu, who’s facing a tough fight for reelection, helped a fan do a keg stand while tailgating at last weekend’s Mississippi State-LSU football game.

    All About Beer magazine has a new owner. Daniel Bradford has sold the 35-year-old publication to a newly-formed corporation, All About Beer LLC, headed by Christopher Rice.

    Finally, New Holland Brewing Company is celebrating Carhartt, Inc.’s 125th anniversary with a new beer called Woodsman and a “The Road Home to Craftsmanship” tour which will wind up at the Great American Beer Festival.

    Making a Statement

    At this year’s Craft Brewers Conference, Brewers Association head Paul Gatza warned attendees that the quality of craft beer, especially from newcomers to the industry, was becoming a concern.

    John Stewart, the brewer at Grand Rapids-based Perrin Brewing Company, took Gatza’s message to heart. Perrin has released the “Killing Craft” series, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “craft” versus “crafty” controversy in the industry. And each series beer will spell out Perrin’s mission–namely, “to support and defend craft beer from all threats, foreign and domestic, macro and nano.”

    Meanwhile, in Macrobrew Land…

    This blog has run a host of stories about the success of craft beer and the people who brew it. However, as Benjamin Dangl of CommonDreams.com explains, there are disturbing developments in the “macrobrew” sector and involving Anheuser-Busch InBev in particular.

    A-B InBev owns almost half of the US beer market, and the top four companies have a 78-percent market share—in spite of there being more breweries in the United States than at any time in history. The result of consolidation is less competition and higher prices. And, in the case of A-B InBev, poorer-quality beer. Dangl notes that the company abandoned Budweiser’s traditional and much-advertised “beechwood aging” to save money—and that discerning drinkers have noticed the decline in quality.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Cost of a one-year, all-the-Asahi-you-can-drink, passport at Brasserie Beer Boulevard in Tokyo: 29,800 yen ($282).
  • Average cost of a draft Asahi in downtown Tokyo: 500 yen ($4.74).
  • Wages and benefits paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $79 billion.
  • Total taxes paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $49 billion.
  • Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 52.9 million.
  • Percentage of Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 17.1.
  • New Glarus Brewing Company’s production in 2013: 146,000 barrels.
  • States in which New Glarus beer is sold: 1 (its home state of Wisconsin).
  • Vermont’s current brewery count: 56.
  • Its brewery count two years ago: 31.
  • Vermont’s annual sales of craft beer: $100 million.
  • Record for most one-liter beer mugs carried by one person: 27 (by Oliver Struempfel of Abensburg, Germany).
  • Total weight of 27 full one-liter mugs: 135 pounds.
  • Breweries represented at this year’s Michigan Brewers Guild U.P. (Upper Peninsula) Beer Festival: 61.
  • Beers poured at the U.P. Beer Festival: more than 400.
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