Taps

Watch the staff at Ashley’s, a beer bar in Westland, Michigan, retire the Bud Light tap handle and replace it with one from Michigan-based Short’s Brewery. Ashley’s plans to give the Bud Light handle a decent burial.

Opening Day Snark

It’s Opening Day of baseball season, and Jay Brooks joins the festivities with a snarky beer and baseball team pairing.

A few examples:

  • Houston Astros and O’Douls. “Something technically not a baseball team deserves something technically not beer.”
  • New York Mets and Cobra. “This snake bitten franchise secretly hopes they’re drinking poison.”
  • Tampa Bay Rays and Natural Ice. “By far the best beer bang for your baseball buck.”

Unfortunately, Brooks forgot to include the old joke about the teams who can’t serve beer because they lost their opener.

The Friday Mash (Cream City Edition)

On this day in 1846, Juneautown and Kilbourntown, Wisconsin, combined to form the city of Milwaukee. One of Milwaukee’s nicknames is “Cream City,” given in the late 19th century when millions of cream-colored bricks were made there.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Northlake, Illinois, where Bill Diamond, a train conductor at a distribution plant, is protecting beer from the polar vortex, which has driven temperatures well below beer’s freezing point.

Ever heard of the Andy-Oza Line? Created by Andy Sparhawk of CraftBeer.com, it’s the average ABV of the beer on tap at your local beer bar, divided by 5.9%, the average ABV of American craft beer.

These cases are getting more common. Illinois’ Rockford Brewing Company filed a trademark suit against Michigan’s Rockford Brewing Company. Both claim to they were the first to use the name.

Beer, then whiskey. MillerCoors is rolling out Miller Fortune, a golden lager that gives off a taste of bourbon. It’s aimed at 21- to 27-year-old men, who have gravitated to spirits in recent years.

Heretic Brewing Company responded to California’s new growler law by providing customers with the most detailed instructions we’ve ever seen for keeping growlers clean.

What did James Grant, a New Zealand doctor, do when a shark attacked him? He drove off the shark with a knife, stitched up his wounds, and went to the pub for a beer with his friends.

Finally, umami is a savory flavor at the heart of Japanese food. Now there’s a beer to pair with it. It’s called Wazen, which will be released this spring by Suntory, the Japanese beverage company.

Cease and Desist

Rule One of trademark law is that one can never be too vigilant in defending one’s mark. With that in mind, Starbucks sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Exit 6 Pub and Brewery, a Missouri brewpub. It told Exit 6 to stop selling a beer called “Frappicino,” which differs from Starbucks’ trademarked “Frappuccino” drink by just one letter.

Exit 6’s owner, Jeff Briton, was amazed that Starbucks’ attorneys found it worth their while to pursue a tiny establishment that sold just three of those vanilla creme and chocolate coffee ale concoctions. He decided to have a little fun at their expense. In a letter directed to “Mr. Bucks,” Briton pled guilty to being a “poor speler” and made amends by enclosing a check for $6, representing his profit on the three offending drinks–which he referred to as “The F Word” to avoid further legal trouble.

With Friends Like These…

A group of New Zealand guys hooks up kegs to their friend’s indoor plumbing, so that every faucet–and even the shower–spews out beer instead of water. The guys then mount cameras around the house, sit back, and watch the prank unravel.

The video is seven minutes long, and worth watching in its entirety–preferably with a beer.

Educating Your Friends

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, there’s a good chance you’re frustrated because your friends haven’t developed the same appreciation for beer that you have. Aaron Goldfarb, writing for Esquire is here to help with tips on throwing a craft beer party.

Goldfarb starts with common-sense pointers, such as making beer non-intimidating to your friends, comparing what you drink to what they do, and teaching proper tasting lingo (because, after all, “being an accomplished beer geek is mostly about lexiconical one-upmanship”). Goldfarb throws in these final words of advice:

Quit trying to influence these normal people into adopting your Trekkian hobbies. Remember, most people go to parties to dance, chat up girls, and recklessly pour alcohol into their faces. Not to sit around with a bunch of bearded fat guys carefully checking in arcane beers on Untappd.

The Ten Types of Craft Beer Drinkers

Oliver Gray of LiteratureAndLibation.com gives us, “distilled from the hot mash of beer culture,” the ten archetypal craft beer drinkers. Gray describes himself as a mix between “The Appraiser,” a person who loves pretty much everything he tastes, “even beers that could potentially be toxic or cause a severe allergic reaction,” and “The Comparer,” a person “who’s on a mission to compile a mental database of every beer ever,” an obsession that makes him tough to hang out with.

Gray’s funniest category is “The Critic,” and we’ve seen our share of them in online beer forums. The Critic is “a roiling mess of negativity, who despite having downed some of the best beer in existence, cannot seem to say anything good about any beers. His rampant criticism of anything and everything beer related makes the people around him wonder if he actually likes beer at all, or if he just really likes to talk about how much he doesn’t like beer.” The Critic has tried more beers than people who say the love craft beer, but “no one has ever seen him actually enjoying a beer. The day he does, the universe might implode.”

What if Beer Were Marketed Like iPads?

In this ad Carlsberg Group, the makers of Sommersby Cider, pokes fun at how Apple Corporation markets its products:

The Friday Mash (Robbie Burns Edition)

Today is the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns. It is the traditional day to honor him with a Burns supper, which typically includes haggis, Scotch whisky, and the recitation of Burns’ poetry, and closes with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Rosemont, Illinois, where America’s fourth Hofbrauhaus had a soft opening in the city’s new entertainment district. The other HB locations are Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, and Newport, Kentucky.

The Canadian humor magazine Bite has created a zodiac-like infographic, “What Your Beer Style Says About You.” (Hat tip: Jay Brooks.)

Two cheers for the three-tier system. According to the New America Foundation’s Barry Lynn, distributors are protecting craft beer from the dominance of the nation’s brewing duopoly–at least for now.

Why is beer more likely to go skunky in clear bottles? It’s because light reacts with hop alpha acids to produce a compound similar to one found in a skunk’s defense spray.

On Tuesday Harpoon Brewing, the nation’s eighth-largest craft brewer, will open a $3.5 million beer hall in Boston. It’s located just blocks from Boston Beer Company’s Jamaica Plain facility.

If you haven’t been able to get limited-release beers, Today.com’s Jim Galligan offers tips from the pros. For starters, you should cultivate a relationship with a good beer store in your area.

Finally, Matt Austin, a grad student at Cardiff University, found some interesting parallels between the way Vikings drank in mead halls and the way today’s British college athletes drink.

Funniest Beer Description Ever?

A Stan Hiernymous blog post contained one of the funniest beer descriptions we’ve seen. John Mallett, the production manager at Bell’s Beer, observed that craft beer drinkers’ tastes have evolved so much that aromas once considered offensive have become desirable. Case in point, Bell’s Hopslam:

“I’m going to have a beer that we make 4,000 barrels of, one time a year. It flies off the shelf at damn near $20 a six-pack, and you know what it smells like? It smells like your cat ate your weed and then pissed in the Christmas tree.”

Try to top that.

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