Breweries

The Friday Mash (“Be Prepared” Edition)

On this date in 1907, Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp on the south coast of England. That nine-day event—we assume that no beer was served to campers—was the foundation of the Scouting movement.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Scotland, where the Innis & Gunn brewery has released a “Vintage” beer that is meant to be aged. One bottle has been put inside a time capsule, which is not to be opened until 2116.

Old Style beer will return to its La Crosse, Wisconsin, birthplace. The brewery will make an Oktoberfest-style version of the 114-year-old brand for the city’s annual Oktoberfest U.S.A.

After winning his third Tour de France, Britain’s Chris Froome celebrated in style. In the Tour’s final stage, he handed out bottles of beer to his teammates.

According to the libertarian magazine Reason, state beer laws continued “a slow creep in the right direction.” However, many bad laws remain on the books.

The Smithsonian has posted a want ad for a beer historian/scholar. This three-year position, funded by the Brewers Association, will pay $64,650 plus benefits.

Some breweries try too hard to be original, and wind up giving their beers awful names. Thrillist.com calls out some of the worst offenders.

Finally, Jim Vorel of Atlanta magazine criticizes Terrapin Brewing Company for selling a majority interest to MillerCoors—and then keeping mum about the transaction on social media.

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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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Chicago Brewery Puts Cats on Its Payroll

At Chicago’s Empirical Brewing, rats were a problem. Not only did they eat up its expensive grain, but they also carried diseases such as antibiotic-resistant E. coli.

The brewery contacted Tree House Humane Society which, for the past five years, has maintained a “Cats at Work” program. The shelter neuters feral cats, then introduces them into neighborhoods, where they hunt down and kill the local rodents.

Empirical received four cats from Tree House, and named them after Ghostbusters characters. The felines quickly chased off the rats—including the gigantic “Jesus rat”—and the brewery no longer loses 200 pounds of grain per year.

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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.

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”.

The Friday Mash (Wall Street Journal Edition)

On this day in 1889, the first edition of the Wall Street Journal was published. With a total of 2.4 million print and digital subscribers, the Journal is the largest newspaper in the United States by circulation.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in the Bay Area, where David Kravets of Ars Technica magazine reviews Heineken’s new “Brewlock” technology. Brewlock consists of a rubbery bladder that holds the beer inside a plastic centrifuge. Compressed air pumped into the centrifuge forces out the beer before air can mix with it.

In Ephraim, Wisconsin, beer is legal for the first time since 1853, when it was founded by Norwegian Moravians. Efforts to overturn the beer ban failed in 1934 and 1992.

The mayor of Zaragoza, Mexico, says there’s no water for consumption by its residents. He blames Constellation Brands’ brewery, which uses the water to brew Corona and brands of beer.

A Microsoft recruiter messaged a “bae intern”, inviting him or her to an Internapalooza after-party with “noms”, “dranks”, and “Yammer beer pong tables”. A company spokesperson called the message “poorly worded”.

The “world’s oldest payslip,” which dates back 5,000 years, reveals that some laborers in ancient Mesopotamia opted to be paid in beer for their work.

After Wales made it to the semifinals of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, Budweiser celebrated the team’s success by treating every Welsh adult to a beer.

Finally, Matt Cunningham is growing hops and barley on his farm, a big step toward a beer brewed with all Ohio ingredients. Sounds perfect for Ohio State football games, where beer will be sold stadium-wide this fall.

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.”

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.

More About That Big Beer Merger

Bob Pease of the Brewers Association has sobering news for craft beer lovers. In a New York Times op-ed earlier this month, Pease warned that the coming merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller will have an impact on your local beer selection that you hadn’t expected.

The problem is rooted in the three-tier system of liquor regulation, which forces craft breweries to sell their beer through distributors. In some states, the law allows big breweries to own distributors. Making matters worse, the distribution industry has undergone consolidation, and many areas of the country are served by a handful of distributors.

A-B, which controls 45 percent of the U.S. beer industry, has been particularly aggressive, buying five independent distributors—a move that has led to a Justice Department investigation. The brewery also compensates its distributors using a formula that in effect penalizes them for handling craft brands rather than A-B brands. That, too, is being investigated.

Pease hopes that the when the Justice Department gives final approval to the InBev-SAB merger, it will take steps to keep the beer market competitive. He points out that in 2013, it prohibited A-B InBev from interfering with independent distributors that sold Mexico’s Modelo beer. Pease urges Justice to give craft brand distributors similar protection, require A-B to reduce its stake in distributors, and bar compensation systems that favor A-B’s own brands.

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