The Friday Mash (B&O Railroad Edition)

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.

All aboard!

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.

California’s Brewers Cope With Drought

California is suffering one of the worst droughts in memory and, as Claire Leschin-Hoar of Voice of San Diego explains, the state’s craft brewing industry is feeling the effects. Brewers in the San Diego area are taking steps to conserve water in the beer-making process. The first step is finding out where it’s being wasted. The next is to find ways to use less water and to re-use it–for example, by using reverse osmosis to purify wastewater.

It takes more than three gallons of water to make one gallon of beer, and even more at small breweries which can’t take advantage of economies of scale. However, other beverages have much bigger “water footprints.” It takes 880 gallons of water to make one gallon of milk or one gallon of coffee, and 1,008 gallons of water to make a gallon of wine.

Gifts for the Beer Lover

Here’s are some interesting gift ideas for the beer lover on your list. Dave Selden, a native of Portland, Oregon, created a “33 Bottles of Beer” book that can be used as a handy way to record tasting notes with one hand while drinking beer with the other. All one has to do is pull out a pencil and fill in a blank flavor wheel for each beer tasted. Selden also has “33″ tasting books for other products, including wine, whiskey, cheese, or even hot sauce. And recently, he’s debuted the “United States of Beer,” a 39-inch-by-25-inch map of the U.S. with the same fill-in-the-dots format as “33 Bottles.” And yes, all 50 states can be found on the map.

Ken Grossman: Tips From the Top

Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, is out with a new book titled Beyond the Pale. It goes without saying that he’s been successful–can you believe Sierra Nevada turns 33 years old this fall?–and that he’s being sought out for his advice to entrepreneurs. In a recent interview with Dan Schawbel of Forbes magazine, Grossman offered these three tips:

1. Gut check the path you’re paving. I encountered some huge hurdles when first building the brewery, and the outcome may have been different if my passion for beer wasn’t resolute.

2. To piggyback number one, always carry around a big helping of optimism. Challenges will be that much more bearable.

3. Be mindful of those helping you succeed, and let them know you value them—often. It’s hard to give up some of the steering of the ship as a driven entrepreneur, but we don’t last 33 years as a brewery—with no end in sight—without our loyal employees.

The Friday Mash (I’ll Take Manhattan Edition)

On this day in 1626, Peter Minuit bought the island of Manhattan from Native Americans for goods valued at 60 Dutch guilders, a sum equivalent to slightly more than $1,000 in today’s money. Today, the land alone in Manhattan has an estimated value in the tens of billions of dollars.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Milwaukee, where city authorities told the Holler House bar that the bras hanging from the ceiling were a fire hazard. In the end, common sense prevailed: the bras were allowed to stay.

We know that Darth Vader is cold-hearted, but that was a plus for artist Tom Sachs, who made the Star Wars villain into a beer fridge. Comes in black, of course.

Uh, oh. Just 16 percent of Americans approve of “hipsters.” And their favorite beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon, has gone up in price because bar owners now consider it “stylish.”

We’ve got photos from last Sunday’s Trike for Beers event in Seattle. Participants zipped down Queen Anne Hill, then downed a few at Streamline Tavern.

A chronic beer thief in suburban Cincinnati left his victims $140 in cash, along with a note of apology saying that he’d found religion and promised never to come back.

Paul has a book recommendation for beer and baseball lovers: The Summer of Beer and Whiskey, by Edward Achorn. It’s about the 1883 season, which made the game “America’s pastime.”

Finally, with summer just around the corner, Food and Wine magazine names America’s best beer gardens. Topping the list is Sheffield’s, an establishment not far from Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

The Friday Mash (Golden Spike Edition)

On this day in 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, railroad tycoon Leland Stanford drove in the Golden Spike and completed the First Transcontinental Railroad. The 1,907-mile line, built by three railroad companies, cut travel time for a coast-to-coast journey from six months to a week.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Milwaukee, where investor David Dupee is planning to launch the Craft Fund. Once the SEC gives the go-ahead, Dupee will use crowd-funding to provide capital to small breweries.

Not only must Mets fans endure losing baseball, but New York City’s finest are issuing $25 citations to people caught drinking beer in Citi Field’s parking lots.

How does a koozie keep beer cold? It prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the can. Condensation will raise the temperature of your beer in a hurry.

It appears that the British government’s decision to cut the beer tax is helping the country’s pub trade. The JD Wetherspoon’s chain reported that sales increased by six percent in the past quarter.

Brett VanderKamp, the co-founder of west Michigan’s New Holland Brewing Company, has written a book about his craft-brewing experiences. It’s titled Art in Fermented Form: A Manifesto.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have cultivated a new type of barley which, thanks to a genetic defect, will keep beer fresher.

Finally, the New York Post found most of 15 bars they visited poured less than 16 ounces in their “pints” of beer. That really hurts, since some NYC bars are charging $8 for a pint these days.

The Audacity of Hops

Journalist and beer enthusiast Tom Acitelli has published a new book, The Audacity of Hops, which explores the craft beer revolution. The author, recently interviewed by Cassandra Garrison of Metro magazine, said that he initially approached the craft beer industry as a business story.

Acitelli said that he discovered craft beer had intersected with a number of culinary trends, and with cities’ economies. Asked what sparked the “craft beer revolution,” he pointed to a 1976 law that gave small brewers a break on federal excise tax and, of course, the legalization of homebrewing two years later. Along with that came a shift in public opinion away from homogenized beer and toward locally-sourced products.

“I’m Tom Dibblee and I’m a Bud Light Lime Drinker”

Tom Dibblee, of the LA Review of Books, has a confession to make. He enjoys Bud Light Lime because “it allows me to shed the burden of sophistication, and it restores beer to what it once was, when I was young–a tart nectar that makes me happy.”

Dibblee makes his admission as part of his amusing review of Bitter Brew, William Knoedelseder’s account of the rise and fall of Anheuser-Busch. Knoedelseder mentions BLL just once in his book, but the beer is central to Dibble’s review.

August Busch IV was a disaster as CEO, and was shown the door by InBev after it acquired A-B. By February 2010, he was “holed up in his mansion, grievously addicted to drugs, gripped by paranoia, beset by hallucinations, and armed with hundreds of high-powered weapons, including several .50-caliber machine guns.” But before falling into the abyss, August IV suggested that the company branch out into novelty beverages. All but one flopped: Bud Light Lime, which, in 2008, led to Anheuser-Busch’s best summer sales in years.

The Friday Mash (Aloha Edition)

On this day in 1778, Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii is one of only four states that were independent countries before joining the Union. The others are California, Texas, and Vermont, which was a republic between 1777 and 1791.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Denver where, for the third straight year, Governor John Hickenlooper mentioned beer in his State of the State address. Before entering politics, Hickenlooper owned the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

If you’re in the mood to waste some time, check out (yes, that’s a real site) and start with a few memorable beer commercials, including one featuring Budweiser’s talking frogs.

The Standard Reference Measurement assigns a number between 1 (lightest) and 40 (darkest) to describe the color of beer. Jay Brooks has posted an SRM chart and other color-related links on his Brookston Beer Bulletin.

The “Big D”–Drewrys beer–might be returning to Indiana. Chicago entrepreneur Frank Manzo has acquired the Drewrys name and is lining up capital for his brewing venture.

Sprecher Brewing Company, which is famous for its root beer, is test-marketing an alcoholic version called Hard Root Beer. It has bourbon and oak flavors, and weighs in at 5% ABV.

Some experts worry that cheap beer is a health problem, and that U.S. beer prices are about to drop because of consolidation and vertical integration in the brewing industry.

Finally, congratulations are in order to Fred Bueltmann, a managing partner at New Holland Brewing Company in Michigan. His book, Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy, will be published this spring.

The Friday Mash (Man on the Moon Edition)

Forty years ago today, Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the Moon, blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The crew members for that flight were Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, who would later be elected to the U.S. Senate from New Mexico.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Duluth, Minnesota, where the owners of Fitger’s Brewhouse found a good use for their spent grain. They feed it to a herd of cattle, which will eventually provide steaks for their new brewery-restaurant.

Balance was the watchword at Wine Enthusiast magazine, whose staff selected the top 25 beers of the year. A variety of styles and places of origin are represented on the list.

Last month, two states–Colorado and Washington–voted to legalize marijuana. Which means it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to brew beer containing cannabis.

It’s time to make those Christmas lists, and Billy Broas helps you shop for beer lovers with his top five beer books of 2012.

Jim Galligan, the Today show’s beverage correspondent, wasn’t impressed by Budweiser’s “12 Series” beers. He described A-B’s foray into craft brewing as “as forced, stilted and more than a little bit cringe-inducing.”

If you want to sell your beer at the local ballpark, it’s no longer as simple as striking a deal with the concessionaire. In many parks, you have to become a sponsor, which isn’t just costly but might be non-exclusive as well.

Finally, since Ludwig says it’s now okay to start drinking Christmas ale, John Foyston of the Oregonian recommends some of his favorites, and offers advice about serving them.

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