Celebrate Belgian Independence Day

On this day in 1831, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg swore allegiance to the Belgian constitution and ascended to the throne, marking the beginning of an independent Belgium. Chris Van Orden, Co-Editor of DCBeer.com, can help you celebrate Belgian Independence Day with—what else?—a food and beer pairing.

Selected by Van Order’s friends, the pairings range from Moroccan chicken tagine and New Belgium Snapshot to blue cheese bacon mussels with Palm pale ale. Bon appetit!

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The Friday Mash (Oxford Edition)

Today is the 800th anniversary of the granting of a royal charter to the University of Oxford. Alumni include 26 British Prime Ministers, including current PM David Cameron; many foreign heads of state, including President Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar; and 27 Nobel laureates.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kalamazoo where, for $19, you can take part in a craft beer walking tour. Participants will meet brewery staff; learn about the city’s brewing history; and, of course, sample some beer.

Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors will post their beers’ ingredients online. This comes after a blogger called “the Food Babe” claimed that some beers contained high-fructose corn syrup and other additives.

Brian Dunn, the founder of Great Divide Brewing Company, sat down with Eater magazine and talked about his 20 years in Denver, what urban brewing is like, and the whereabouts of the Yeti.

Move over, bacon beer. The latest food-in-your-beer trend is peanut butter and jelly. Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery offers a PB&J beer called “No Crusts.”

Purists think beer has no place in a yogic lifestyle, but yoga classes are popping up in breweries. Post-practice beer makes made yoga more social, and persuades men to take it up.

When you travel abroad, what do you get when you ask for “one beer, please”? Not only will the brand and style depend on the country you’re in, but so will the size of your serving.

Finally, any in the beer community maintain that brewing is an art form. Don Tse, writing in All About Beer magazine, agrees. His article explores the close relationship between fine beer and fine art.

Remembering the First GABF

Had The Beer Festival Calendar existed in 1982, the listing for the first Great American Beer Festival might have looked like this:

June

4: Great American Beer Festival, Boulder, CO

The American Homebrewers Association presents the inaugural Great American Beer Festival, which will take place at the Hilton Harvest House in Boulder. This afternoon/evening event will feature more than 45 beers from around two dozen American craft breweries.

Of course, there wouldn’t have been a Beer Festival Calendar or a GABF website back then, because the World Wide Web wouldn’t be invented for another decade. And the term “craft beer,” if it existed at all, wasn’t in general circulation.

For the record, the first GABF drew 850 attendees. One of them was Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter. Legend has it that when AHA co-founder Charlie Papazian told him about his plan to stage a festival, Jackson famoulsy replied, “That’s a great idea, Charlie. Only what will you serve for beer?”

The Friday Mash (King Ludwig Edition)

On this day in 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria passed away. Please join our beer-drinking lion in a moment of silence for the “Mad King” who, among other things, commissioned the fantastic Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the area’s leading tourist attractions.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Petaluma, California, where Lagunitas Brewing Company held its annual Beer Circus. Some guests wore top hats and “ironic facial hair,” while others dressed as figures from popular culture.

Just in time for Father’s Day: Criquet, a clothing company, has designed a shirt with a reinforced lining that prevents you from destroying it while using the shirttail to twist a beer bottle open.

Twenty years ago, Lauren Clark quit her desk job to work for a brewery. She then gravitated to writing, and recently published Crafty Bastards, a history of beer in New England.

Gustav Holst’s The Planets inspired Bell’s Brewing to create a seven-ale series, each of which named for one of the planets in Holst’s suite. The first Planet beer will be released in August.

St. Louis, which is celebrating its 250th birthday, has 30 craft breweries–and yes, the Budweiser brewery, too. USA Today’s Wendy Pramick has a beer lover’s guide to the city.

Brock Bristow, a South Carolina attorney, might wind up in the Lobbyists’ Hall of Fame. He persuaded lawmakers to pass the brewery-friendly “Stone Bill”.

Finally, Jeopardy! for beer geeks. Three female beer bloggers host a monthly trivia night at a bar in Brooklyn. Games consist of four rounds: brewing, history, popular culture, and the “hipster trifecta.”

The Friday Mash (Board Game Edition)

On this day in 1911, board game mogul Milton Bradley passed away. His eponymous company—Ludwig’s been waiting to use that word–brought us The Game of Life, along with the ever-popular Yahtzee and Twister.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Utah, where state liquor regulators are cracking down on festivals put on by for-profit groups. One potential casualty of the new policy is Snowbird Ski Resort’s Oktoberfest celebration.

Gilley’s, the Texas honky-tonk made famous in the film Urban Cowboy, closed in 1989. However, a local brewery is making Gilley’s blond ale. A number of retailers in the Houston area carry it.

The Gun, a London pub, recently hosted an all-unfiltered beer festival. “Spring Haze” featured 30 beers from local micros. Fans contend that unfiltered beer not only tastes better, but is healthier.

Craft brewers have invaded Bavaria, the last bastion of brewing tradition. The newcomers’ offerings include Belgian-style wheat bock, a strawberry ale, a Baltic porter, and of course, IPAs.

Now that grilling season is here, scientists suggest that you marinate your meat in beer, which inhibits the development of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that have been linked to cancer.

Taco Bell’s parent company’s is working on a new spinoff chain called the U.S. Taco Company & Urban Taproom, which will serve craft beer as well as beer milkshakes to pair with menu items.

Finally, Two Brothers Brewing Company has created a beer for Chicago’s Field Museum. The white IPA is called “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a name once given to museum collections.

The Friday Mash (Palmetto State Edition)

On this day in 1788, South Carolina ratified the Constitution, becoming the eighth state to join the Union. The Palmetto State is home to first-rate barbecue and has miles of beautiful beaches, both of which will be fine accompaniments to a beer this holiday weekend.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Tulsa, where the pop group Hanson staged a free concert at the Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival. The beer list included Hanson’s own Mmmhops pale ale.

Dartmouth University inspired Animal House and claims to be the birthplace of beer pong. But school president Phil Hanlon thinks the partying has gotten out of hand, and vows to curb dangerous drinking on campus.

The folks at Kona Brewing Company thinks mainlanders work too hard. The brewery’s “Dear Mainlander” ads propose a new schedule: one “sad hour,” and 23 happy hours.

Jeff Baker argues that Vermont has its own distinctive style of IPA. It’s bright golden and hazy in appearance, soft in mouthfeel, dense with hop flavor and aroma, but only moderately bitter.

In Olympia, Washington, a new partnership wants to bring back brewing at the historic Tumwater complex. The complex was part of the Olympia brewery, which closed in 2003 after nearly a century of making beer.

Two entrepreneurs have opened a “brewnuts” shop in downtown Tremont, Ohio. For the uninitiated, brewnuts are “craft beer inspired donuts” that are popular with the late-night crowd.

Finally, New York City’s Irish pubs are becoming an endangered species. Bar owners can’t afford skyrocketing rent, and younger drinkers are looking for something more adventurous than Guinness, Jameson, and pub grub.

The Friday Mash (Vast Wasteland Edition)

Forty-three years ago today, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton Minow delivered his famous “Vast Wasteland” speech in which he decried “totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in the Shaab Valley in Jordan, where Yazan Karadsheh has launched his country’s first microbrewery. The brewery is called Carakale, after an indigenous mountain cat.

A mobile beer garden is coming to Milwaukee County’s parks this summer. The tables, glassware, and of course, the beer, will be provided by Sprecher Brewing Company.

In Portland, Oregon, Fred Eckhardt’s many friends celebrated his 88th birthday last weekend with two dozen big special beers from breweries from throughout the region.

PYT, a burger joint in Philadelphia, is now serving a burger topped with a Pabst Blue Ribbon-filled wonton. It’s designed to explode hot beer in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, so many new breweries have opened in recent months that the city can make a good argument that it’s now Canada’s craft beer capital.

Chicago’s DryHop Brewers has collaborated with the Lincoln Park Zoo to brew “I’m Not a Raccoon”, a red saison that checks in at 6% ABV. Proceeds will be donated to the Red Panda Wish List Fund.

Finally, beer writer John Holl went to the Bud Light Hotel in Las Vegas, which was “designed to be the ultimate fusion of sports and music.” Holl was amazed at Bud Light fans’ brand loyalty.

Tomorrow, Take Part in The Big Brew

Every year, on the first Saturday in May, the American Homebrewers Association celebrates National Homebrew Day with the AHA Big Brew.

Hundreds of bars, breweries, shops, and clubs across the country will take part in a national, same-day homebrewing session. And at noon Central time, homebrewers and beer lovers are encouraged to raise a glass of homebrew in a simultaneous toast to the more than 1.2 million Americans who brew their own beer.

Bring ID, But Leave Your Clothes at Home

We’ve seen a wide variety of beer festival announcements over the year, but this is a first. Sunny Rest Resort, a naturalist resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, will host the Bare Beach Beer Bash on June 28. In addition to the usual rules–you must be 21 and show ID at the door–organizers will enforce the following rule: “Nudity is required at the beer festival area and in the pools and hot tub.” Consider yourself warned.

The Ultimate Beer Festival?

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is taking its Beer Camp on the road this summer. Called “Beer Camp Across America,” it will be a series of festivals to be held in seven cities, starting in Sierra Nevada’s hometown of Chico, California, and winding up at the brewery’s new plant in North Carolina. Sierra Nevada has invited every craft brewery in the country to pour at these events. It has also joined forces with other craft brewers to create a 12-pack of collaborative beers. These, too, will be available at the festivals.

Proceeds from Beer Camp Across America will go to the California Craft Brewers Association.

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