On this day in 1876, Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for an invention he called the telephone. Ironically, Bell considered the phone a distraction from his real work as a scientist and refused to have one in his study.
And now…a busy signal!
Almost 600 types of barley seeds have been added to the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway. This ups the chances that survivors will be able to enjoy a post-apocalyptic beer.
In India, architecture students from Bangalore and Spain used thousands of beer bottles to construct a classroom. The bottles eliminate the need for artificial light inside.
Stone Brewing Company plans to open a second brewery in the eastern U.S., and it appears that Greensboro has been found worthy as a site to brew Arrogant Bastard and other ales.
A London-based start-up company has a remedy for job stress. Desk Beer offers Friday deliveries of local craft beer–provided, of course, the boss approves.
If you plan on some beer hunting, Lindsey Grossman of Paste magazine suggests eight beer-related apps for your phone. They include a “fairly addictive” game called Micro Caps.
Finally, after being served three ales he couldn’t stand, Johnny Sharp unleashed a rant titled “Am I The Only Man in Britain Who Hates Craft Beer? You may find his writing an “acquired taste.”
Most companies cut back their lobbying budgets but according to Aimee Duffy of The Motley Fool, Anheuser-Busch InBev is spending heavily in favor of two tax measures currently before Congress.
Readers of this blog are probably aware of the Brewers Excise and Economic Relief (BEER) Act of 2013, which would cut the federal beer tax in half, and give small brewers an even more generous tax break; and the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce (Small BREW) Act of 2013, which would reduce the beer tax by 50 percent on the first 60,000 barrels and by 11 percent on each barrel beyond that.
According to the website govtrack.us, the BEER Act has zero chance of getting through Congress, and the Small BREW Act has only a 2-percent chance. In spite of those odds, A-B spent $4.3 million on lobbying, most of it to make sure these bills pass.
Duffy finds method in A-B’s madness. If the BEER Act passes, the company’s tax bill would drop by around $500 million a year–more than a 10,000 percent return on a $4.3 million lobbying investment.
When Prohibition ended in 1933, only a handful of breweries in the United States were still operating. Nick Green of MentalFloss.com explains how these breweries survived a 13-year period during which their main line of business was illegal.
To begin with, brewery owners knew well in advance that Prohibition was coming, and thus had time to think of alternatives. The most common was “near beer,” which the Volstead Act defined as having less than 0.5 percent alcohol. Brewers had experience with low-alcohol beer, thanks to a World War I emergency measure that outlawed beer with an alcohol content higher than 2.75 percent.
Breweries got into numerous other lines of business. Ice cream was one. Anheuser-Busch owned a fleet of refrigerated trucks, and put them to work carrying a different product. Adolph Coors mass-produced ceramic tubes and rods for the military, along with lines of dinnerware. Many of the big breweries sold malt extract “as a cooking product” which was in fact used for homebrewing, then prohibited by the Volstead Act. Other breweries converted their equipment to dye-making: the transition was easy, and a shortage of imports created a postwar “dye famine.”
On this day in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated. Can you name the other railroads on the Monopoly board? Time’s up. They’re the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading Railroad, and the Short Line.
We begin in Brazil, where the Polar brewery has an invention that will make it easier to converse in bars. It’s a beer cooler that cuts out GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, and 4G signals.
California’s drought could make your Lagunitas IPA will taste different. The Russian River, which provides Lagunitas with its water, is drying up, and brewery might have to find another source.
Beer was the headline ingredient in last Sunday’s “Chopped” competition on the Food Network. The show, with Stone Brewing Company’s Greg Koch as a judge, airs again on Sunday evening.
Higher zymurgical education awaits in the form of Joshua Bernstein’s new book, The Complete Beer Course. It contains a series of “classes” devoted to families of beers.
On Tuesday, when he was in Chicago to announce the award of a federal manufacturing grant, President Obama put in a plug for Goose Island Brewing Company’s “superior beer.”
A Korean romantic comedy in which the female lead makes chimek to celebrate winter’s first snow has Chinese viewers clamoring for the dish, which is Korean for “fried chicken” and “beer.”
Finally, a gathering of 490 Yelp members at Santa Anita Race Track might set a new Guinness record for beer tasters. We hope they bet on Ambitious Brew, who won the $100,000 Sensational Star stakes race.
Sixty-six years ago today, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was formed in Daytona Beach, Florida. Today, NASCAR is second only to the National Football League in television ratings and has more Fortune 500 corporate sponsors than any other sport.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in western North Carolina, where the new Sierra Nevada brewery has started brewing IPA. It will start shipping to distributors this spring, and open to the public in August.
It looks like a stout, but Morning Beer by a Sacramento roaster is actually a nitrogenated coffee. It’s alcohol-free, so you can enjoy it on your way to work.
Think you’re the ultimate beer geek? If so, send a video to the Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The lucky winner will get four VIP tickets to the sold-out Invitational Beer Festival.
The All-American Food Truck & Craft Beer Rally took place in Huntsville, Alabama, on Wednesday. Food trucks are showing up at more and more festivals on our calendar.
Your purchase of Flying Dog Ales’ Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout helps fund the brewery’s effort to plant oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Flying Dog expects to plant two million this year.
It’s almost Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. If you’re going, local writer Nora McGunnigle tells where you can find good beer in the Crescent City.
Finally, we recently told you about beer concentrate. Now the folks at Gizmodo.com have tried it straight, and say it “bombards your taste buds with a rotting symphony of flavors not meant for consumption.”
One hundred and fifty-five years ago today, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state. An impressive 47 percent of the beer poured in the Beaver State is craft beer, most of it locally brewed; and Portland, the state’s largest city, has become a top destination for beer travelers.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Pennsylvania where, after a 29-year hiatus, D. Yuengling & Son is again making ice cream. It’s so popular that the first 100,000-quart run rolled off the line ahead of schedule.
The Stochasticity Project has released its first beer, Grapefruit Slam IPA. The beer, which checks in at 8.2% ABV and 95 IBUs, will be available nationwide.
Bear Republic is the first brewery to buy the Eco-Volt system, which uses microbes to convert dissolved carbon in wastewater into biogas, which can be burned to make electricity or heat.
The Beer Store, Ontario’s provincial retail monopoly, warns that if grocery and convenience stores are allowed to sell beer, consumers will have to pay an extra C$10 (U.S. $9) a case.
Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, who performed as Status Quo, are the latest celebrity beer makers. Piledriver ale, named for their 1972 album, is brewed by Wychwood Brewery of Oxfordshire.
Fans at the Winter Olympics can escape bland food by journeying to the nearby town of Adler, where “Draft Beer & Fish” has 16 beers on tap, most of them locally brewed.
Finally, clear your desk and take out a number-two pencil. John Metcalf of The Atlantic has a ten-point craft beer quiz that emphasizes the strange ingredients brewers are using.
Thrillist’s Adam Lapetina did some digging into D.G. Yuengling and Son’s history, and unearthed 13 facts about the company. You probably know that the company was founded in 1829, and that it survived Prohibition by making near beer and ice cream. But did you know who the “son” is? (His name was Frederick, and his brother David, Jr., was so upset that he started a steam beer brewery in Richmond, Virginia. And you’ll surprised to learn that Yuengling invested in dance halls such as Roseland Ballroom in New York where, in addition to dances, sneezing contests, yo-yo exhibitions, and female prizefights were held.
Kurtis Alexander of the San Francisco Chronicle made the trek to Santa Rosa, where he joined hundreds of IPA fans outside the Russian River Brewing Company. They were there for Friday’s Pliny the Younger release, an event that Alexander compares to Apple product debuts. Release day attracts so many out-of-town visitors that a couple of local hotels offer “Pliny packages.”
Pliny is available at selected draft accounts in northern California until February 20. Then the wait begins all over.
Three years ago, Chrysler Corporation scored a big hit with its “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl ad. However, Chrysler’s ad in this year’s game provoked an unexpected backlash from viewers.
Many in the audience were aghast that music legend Bob Dylan agreed to be a spokesman for a car company. But America’s craft brewers were offended by what Dylan said. He told the audience to “let Germany brew your beer” because “we will build your car.” That led Fred Bueltmann, a well-known figure in Michigan’s brewing community, to fire off a strongly-worded letter to Chrysler demanding that the automaker apologize to craft brewers for “dismissing their trade in front of millions of viewers.”