The Friday Mash (Champions Day Edition)

This day in 1936 was Champions Day in Detroit. It celebrated of “the most amazing sweep of sport achievements ever credited to any single city” including the rise of boxer Joe Louis, and the first-ever championships won by the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Detroit Lions. Yes, the Detroit Lions, who have driven generations of fans to drink.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Canada, where Miller Brewing Company and MolsonCoors appear headed to court over distribution rights for several Miller brands that Miller wants to reclaim.

Shandy has become one of the fastest-growing segments of the beer market. It’s popular among women, moderate drinkers, and those looking for refreshment and willing to try new tastes.

Don’t throw out that can of beer that sat in your fridge all winter. Mother Nature News has seven uses for it, including killing slugs and fruit flies, highlighting your hair, and polishing furniture.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin have confirmed the ancestral homeland of the yeast used in lager beer. It’s Patagonia, of all places. The yeast found its way to Bavaria 500 years ago.

Is the craft beer industry growing too fast? Attendees at last week’s Craft Brewers Conference warned about quality problems with some new breweries’ beers.

Beer aficionados hate Corona, and it costs as much as some national microbrews, but sales keep booming. The secret is marketing, which associates the brand with sun, sand, and surf.

Finally, our sports desk has learned that Flying Dog Ales will host Sprint for the Spat in Baltimore’s Fell’s Point. One of the highlights will be–this is not a typo–a 0.10-K race. A spat, by the way, is a baby oyster.

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The Friday Mash (Fab Four Edition)

Fifty years ago today, The Beatles occupied the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Fab Four still hold the record for most Billboard number-one hits with 20; and, with more than 600 million records sold world-wide, remain the biggest-selling band of all time.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Houston, where Whole Foods’ Post Oak location will brew its own beer. Other grocery chains sell own-label beer, but they contract out the actual brewing.

A layover might be an opportunity to enjoy a pint at one of America’s best airport beer bars. All nine are outposts of local craft breweries such as Harpoon, Schlafly, and Rogue.

Kudzu beer? The invasive Southern plant is among the “foraged ingredients” that have found their way into new beers. Kudzu, by the way, is said to impart a fruity flavor.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is celebrating this summer’s World Cup in Brazil by introducing Brahma Selecao Especial. Its recipe includes barley grown on the Brazilian national team’s training field.

Old Style beer will be sold in Wrigley Field this season after all. The Cubs’ concessionaire plans to sell it, along with Goose Island, at the park’s concession stands.

Brooklyn Brewing Company founder Steve Hindy wrote a New York Times op-ed calling for reform of franchise laws that keep small breweries from getting their beer on the shelves.

Finally, scientists at Johns Hopkins University have created the first synthetic yeast chromosome. Since the yeast genome consists of 16 chromosomes, there’s still plenty of work to be done.

The Friday Mash (Istanbul Not Constantinople Edition)

The Four Lads once asked the musical question, “Why did Constantinople get the works?” Their answer: “It’s nobody’s business but the Turks’” Eighty-four years ago today, the Turks changed the city’s name to Istanbul. They also changed the name of their capital to Ankara.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Cincinnati, where Listerman Brewing Company is hosting Starkbierfest, a family-friendly version of Munich’s Lenten tradition where potent doppelbock takes center stage.

Yards Brewing Company is brewing a special beer for the popular TV show “Walking Dead.” No humans have been eaten in the brewing process, which involves smoking goat brains.

Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has installed craft beer taps at his official residence. The first keg he tapped was Silverback Pale from Wynkoop Brewing Company, which he founded.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Fortune magazine writers tried MillerCoors’s new Fortune beer and gave it a thumbs-up–and not just for its name.

While visiting Belgium, Jay Brooks discovered a new organization, the Belgian Family Brewers. Its members have been brewing for at least 50 years, and have been family-owned all that time.

Purists are up in arms about it, but three Seattle-area homebrewers have developed the PicoBrew Zymatic, a “set-and-forget” system that can be controlled from one’s laptop.

Finally, Florida craft brewers learned that campaign cash trumps free enterprise. The State Senate president admitted that he’s against legalizing half-gallon growlers because a big beer distributor is a major contributor to his party.

A Victim of Its Own Success

Release parties can be a great way for a brewery to draw attention to their flagship products. Sometimes, however, a party can be the victim of its own success. Joey Redner, the owner of Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, has a cautionary tale to tell.

For the past five years, Cigar City has hosted Hunaphu Day, which celebrates the release of Hunaphu’s Imperial Stout. Last year, it drew a big crowd that blocked entrance to neighboring businesses. To avoid a recurrence, the brewery made this year’s Hunaphu Day a ticketed event. The tickets, which cost $50 each, sold out. However, thousands of party-crashers showed up, preventing ticket-holders–one of whom drove 18 hours–from getting any Hunaphu.

Redner apologized for what happened, and tried to make it up to Hunaphu lovers by offering free beer in his tasting room the next day. He also decided to get out of the release party business, telling TheFullPint.com, “This year they got WAY around my pitiful efforts. I am acknowledging defeat. That was the last Hunahpu Day. The beer will go into distribution next year and hopefully spread out among many accounts it will get to consumers more fairly.”

The Friday Mash (Ale and Pi Edition)

Today is Pi Day, an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant. It’s celebrated today because Americans write the date as 3/14; and “3″, “1″, and “4″ are the three most significant digits of pi in decimal form. Ludwig recommends a beer, preferably a Real Ale, to go with your pi.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Boston, where Jim Koch invited survivors of last year’s Marathon bombing to his brewery, which is again brewing a special “26.2″ ale to raise funds for those injured last year.

A company in Canada plans to brew a “recovery ale” for athletes. It’s called “Lean Machine”; and it has 77 calories, 0.5 percent alcohol, and contains nutrients, antioxidants, and electrolytes.

Jonas Bronck’s Beer Company has tapped into New York tradition with an egg cream stout. An egg cream contains milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer water–but no eggs.

A Wisconsin lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create a state Beer Commission. It has the backing of the state’s breweries.

Charlie Papazian, head of the Brewers Association, has decided to discontinue the Beer City USA competition because it has “served its purpose.” Grand Rapids won last year’s competition.

investor C. Dean Metropoulos, who bought Pabst Brewing Company four years ago, is reportedly considering a sale of the company, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

Finally, John Verive, a food writer for the Los Angeles Times, explains why the classic tulip glass is the only glass you’ll need. It’s versatile, supports the beer’s head, and holds in its aromas.

The Friday Mash (NASCAR Edition)

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.”

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.

Fill Out Your IPA Brackets

Brewing News magazine has released the details of its seventh annual National IPA Championship and its inaugural National Imperial IPA Championship. Both follow a bracket-style single-elimination format.

The four-round competition begins this weekend, with the final rounds and championship to take place in Buffalo on St. Patrick’s Day.

Even if you’re not a brewer, you can take part by filling out your bracket at home–or at your favorite licensed establishment. If you’re the top picker, you’ll win a free case of the championship beers.

Release the Pliny!

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.

The Friday Mash (Gold Rush Edition)

On this day in 1848, James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento. That discovery attracted hundreds of thousands of “Forty-Niners.” By necessity, these early settlers developed a style of beer known as “California Common,” better known as steam beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Boulder, Colorado, where a brewery got called for illegal procedure after the NFL learned that it had released a “Brett on the Broncos” ale honoring the AFC champions.

The Washington Post has put together a chart that links beverage choice and political views. The most Democratic beer is Milwaukee’s Best, the most Republican beer is Coors Original.

The maker of Jelly Bellys has added a new Draft Beer flavor to its lineup. Inspired by a Hefeweizen ale, it has a wheaty taste. And no, it doesn’t contain any alcohol.

Ohio lawmakers are considering whether to raise the maximum allowable ABV in beer from 12 percent to 21 percent, which is the state’s maximum ABV for wine.

From Paste magazine comes the Cheap American Beers Bracket. The magazine’s staff picked Miller High Life number one, but readers made Pabst Blue Ribbon their champion.

“Beer,” by Luke Bryan, currently tops the country music chart. The last number-one country song with “beer” in its title Billy Currington’s “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer,” in 2010.

Finally, organizers of tomorrow’s Beer Dabbler Carnival in St. Paul, Minnesota, are attempting to set a new world record for world’s largest snowball fight. Over 7,000 are expected to take part.

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