Breweries

The Friday Mash (Lamont Cranston Edition)

Eighty-five years ago, the radio drama The Shadow debuted. The title character, who know “what evil lurks in the hearts of men,” became a major influence on later comic book superheroes, Batman in particular.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Kabul, Afghanistan, where non-alcoholic beer is popular, and costs only 30 cents a can. Alcohol is banned in this Muslim country–but there’s a thriving black market in beer and spirits.

Lululemon, the yoga pants company, is using beer to attract male customers. Curiosity Lager, which features hints of lemon drop and Chinook hops, will soon be available at select locations in Canada.

Heavy Seas Brewing Company will mark the 20th anniversary of Cal Ripken, Jr., setting a new Major League Baseball consecutive-games-played with a retro lager called Fielder’s Choice.

Vault Brewing Company invented a new way of canning nitro-conditioned beer. Vault adds the nitrogen when the beer is canned, bypassing the famous Guinness “widget.”

“Session beers”—those with less than 5% ABV—have gained a following among Colorado drinkers. The trend has spread from India pale ales to other styles, such as sour beers and saisons.

Producers of the zombie drama The Walking Dead have teamed up with Terrapin Brewing Company to make the show’s official beer: a Red India pale ale brewed with blood orange peel.

Finally, not all Utahns are Mormons, and some stage an alternative to the Pioneer Day state holiday. It’s called called “Pie and Beer Day,” and celebrants are invited to gather friends and family. Beer is optional.

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The Friday Mash (Liberator Edition)

On this day in 1783, Simon Bolivar, “The Liberator,” was born. Bolivar was instrumental role in making Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela independent of Spanish rule. Toast him with a glass of Polar beer, “The People’s Beer” of Venezuela.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Milwaukee, where Pabst Brewing Company is returning to its original location. Pabst’s owner, Eugene Kashper, says the brewery will new small-batch beers, based on Pabst’s archived recipes, while staying true to its roots.

A new Indiana law classifies retirement communities as homes, so they no longer need a liquor license to serve alcohol to residents. One problem not likely to occur: underage drinking.

Mark your calendars. Next year’s Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference will be held at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. The dates are July 8-10.

Jackie Speier, a congresswoman from California, announced on her Facebook page that she’s introduced legislation that would allow the U.S. Postal Service to ship alcoholic beverages.

The clever folks at Printsome.com have designed beer labels to match the personalities of Facebook, Google, Nike, and 14 other highly recognizable corporations.

Yes, you can get an India pale ale—along with a host of other craft beers—in India. The subcontinent’s first brewpub, Doolally in the city of Pune, opened its doors in 2009. A slew of others have followed.

Finally, the Buffalo Wild Wings in Tacoma displays a bottle of Corona with a lime slice underneath an American flag. An unidentified woman ordered the Corona and placed it in front of an adjoining seat in honor of her brother, who was killed while on duty in Iraq.

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Meet the New Head Brewer at Deschutes

Next month, Karl Ockert will become Director of Brewing Operations at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. His hiring is part of Deschutes’ planned expansion, which includes building a second brewery in the East in 2017.

Ockert’s career has come full circle. After graduating from the University of California, Davis, he helped start BridgePort Brewing Co. in Portland in 1984 with Dick and Nancy Ponzi. After leaving BridgePort, he worked at three breweries in the Northwest, was a brewing supervisor for Anheuser-Busch in New Jersey, served as technical director for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and worked as a consultant for his own firm.

Ockert has quite a story to tell. In a recent interview with the Bend Bulletin he discussed, among other things, his career in brewing, Deschutes’ future, and the state of the craft beer market.

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Another Big Beer Merger

On Thursday night, Firestone Walker Brewing Company announced its acquisition by Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat. By one estimate, Duvel will pay $250 million for Firestone Walker.

Firestone Walker is the third brewery to be acquired by Duvel Moortgat, following Brewery Ommegang and Boulevard Brewing. Duvel Moortgat made the following statement in its press release:

“The relationship I have built with David and Adam made Firestone Walker the perfect fit for future growth,” said Michel Moortgat, CEO of Duvel Moortgat. “We share the same values; have a great mutual respect for each other’s achievements and a deeply-held belief in exceptional quality as a platform for long-term success. Bringing Firestone Walker together with Boulevard, Ommegang, Duvel and the other craft breweries in our family creates a stronger platform in the USA for us both and allows us to collaborate on brewing in different locations across the USA”

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What’s With All The Sexist Beer Names?

From the earliest days of craft brewing, breweries have loved to incorporate puns into the names of their beers. Some of the names are clever; some are groan-inducing; and some give offense, especially to women.

Will Gordon, writing in Slate magazine, finds much craft beer marketing to be “astonishingly sexist.” Even though only the top-tier craft brewers can afford a traditional mass-media marketing campaign, many smaller brewers resort to the equivalent of filling the screen with images of attractive young women in bikinis. Which brings us back to beer names.

Choosing a product name is the first marketing decision a business has to make. In Gordon’s opinion, this is where too many craft brewers “embarrass themselves and alienate potential customers.” He’s especially critical of Flying Dog Ales, whose product line includes beers called “Raging Bitch” and “Pearl Necklace,” the latter being slang for a sexual act. Also on his dishonor roll: SweetWater Brewing Company, which earlier this year sent samples of “Happy Ending” ale—complete with mini bottles of skin cream.

The Friday Mash (Monkey Trial Edition)

Ninety years ago today, the “Monkey Trial” trial of science teacher John Scopes began. The trial, famously depicted in Inherit the Wind, made Dayton, Tennessee, the focus of world-wide attention. Beer was not served outside the courthouse because Prohibition was in effect.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in San Diego, where Comic-Con is underway. If you’re taking part, Andre Dyer of City Beat magazine has some suggestions as to where you can taste the local craft beer.

Those hard-to-find beers are becoming more available–if you have money. Even though shipping alcoholic beverages is against the law, the chances of getting busted for it are negligible.

Hailstorm Brewing Company has released Captain Serious #19 Pale Ale in honor of Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Chicago has won three of the last six Stanley Cups.

Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S are building breweries in Myanmar. Eighty percent of Myanmar’s adults drink beer, and the country’s largest brewery is owned by current and former military personnel.

Beer shortages loom in Venezuela. Strikes at the Polar brewing company, which controls 80 percent of the market, have shut down half the brewery’s plants and forced others to run at reduced capacity.

Naragansett beer, once a New England favorite, has once again become popular—and not just in New England. What makes its revival even more amazing is that the brewery accomplished it on a shoestring media budget of $100,000.

Finally, a Danish music festival will collect attendees’ urine, which will be used to fertilize barley plants that will be used in a beer to be served at the 2017 festival. Organizers call this—admit it, you saw this coming—“Piss to Pilsner.”

The Revival of Brewing in Alaska

Geoff and Marcy Larson, owners of the Alaskan Brewing Company, overcame long odds in building a successful business. During the 1970s, a German brewing company opened Prinz Brau in Anchorage. Despite generous incentives from the state government, Prinz Brau went under after three years.

When the Larsons decided to open a brewery, it appeared that Alaska was too isolated and too thinly populated to support one. The local banks turned them down for financing, so they ended up raising funds from more than 80 individuals.

In December 1986, the Juneau-based company shipped its first beer: 253 cases of Chinook Alaskan Amber Beer, as it was called then. Shipping is problematic in Alaska: the beer had to be ferried to Haines, then trucked to Anchorage. And, because locally-grown hops and barley weren’t available, the Larsons resorted to a pre-Prohibition recipe that called for the sparing use of hops.

Alaskan’s beer gained a following at home, and its reputation spread. Today, it’s distributed to 16 of the “Lower 48” states.

The Friday Mash (Very Endangered Species Edition)

On this day in 1844, the last two known great auks were killed. These large flightless penguin-like birds, which lived in the North Atlantic, were hunted to extinction because their down was in high demand in Europe.

And on that auk-ward note…The Mash!

We begin in China, where designer Li Rongjun has built an office out of 8,500 empty beer bottles. Rongjun has a degree in construction from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology.

Lagunitas Brewing Company will build a third brewery in Asuza, California. The new plant, with a projected capacity of more than 400,000 barrels a year, is expected to open in early 2017.

Molson’s Beer Fridge will make an appearance at this month’s Pan-American Games in Toronto. The latest edition will dispense a free Molson to those who say “I Am Canadian” in any of 40 languages.

Anita Brown, an artist in Los Angeles, has designed beers for each of the books in the Harry Potter series. They include Pilsner of Azkaban, Amber of Secrets, and Deathly Hops (h/t Jay Brooks).

Queen is the latest rock group to release its own beer. It’s a pilsner that will be called—what else?—Bohemian Rhapsody. The bottle’s design features a crest designed by Freddie Mercury himself while he was in college.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria has pulled a custom-brewed batch of ale from Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico. 5 Rabbit’s founder, is a native of Costa Rica.

Finally, New Orleans is rarely associated with German culture, but Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, a year-round, Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall, will open this summer in the city’s Warehouse District.

The Friday Mash (UN Edition)

Seventy years ago today, representatives of 50 countries meeting in San Francisco signed the Charter of the United Nations. The UN’s original five Security Council members were the U.S., Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China (Taiwan)–which shows up in this week’s Mash.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Goose Island Brewing Company is launching a series of beers brewed by its alumni. First up is Greg Hall, who returned 27 years after his first day on the job.

Duquesne Brewing Company is rolling out a beer honoring Joe Paterno. Part of the proceeds from the Vienna-style lager will go to charities chosen by the late coach’s family.

Carlsberg Brewing, with 8 percent of the world beer market, is pitching a line of grooming products to the men who drink its beer. The product line includes shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.

Beer has been linked to “man boobs”. But even though hops contain phytoestrogen, it’s found in many other foods. The real culprit is calories, not beer itself.

Chestnuts aren’t just for roasting on an open fire. Dennis Fulbright, professor emeritus at Michigan State University, says they make for sweeter, smoother beers—which are also gluten-free.

A Portland, Oregon, a beer hall that opens next month will pay its workers at least $15 an hour, and will enforce a no-tipping policy. Beers, sandwiches, and sausages will cost $6 apiece.

Finally, the Wunderman Taiwan brewery gave a new meaning to starting a “buzz.” It dressed up drones as bees to deliver its new Honey Beer to office workers.

Update on Jim Koch’s “Alchemy and Science”

In 2011 Boston Beer Company chairman Jim Koch recruited Alan Newman, co-founder of Magic Hat Brewing Company, to head the company’s “Alchemy and Science” venture, an incubator for developing new craft beverages.

Four years, millions of dollars, and thousands of hours of Newman’s time have paid off. Some of those beverages are coming to market. One of them is Traveler, a line of shandies that will be distributed nationwide by the end of this year. Other graduates of the incubator include Los Angeles-based Angel City Brewing and Concrete Beach, a brewery in Miami. Those companies are based in cities Boston Beer describes as “underdeveloped craft beer markets.”

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