The Friday Mash (Hair Edition)

On this day in 1968, the musical Hair opened on Broadway. Notable songs from the “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” include “Aquarius”, “Easy to Be Hard”, and “Good Morning Starshine”.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a mechanic named Andrey Eremeev persuaded the beer store in his apartment building to let him run a pipeline from a keg in the store’s refrigerator to one of the taps of his kitchen sink.

Theater Cedar Rapids has added beer to its improv comedy classes. According to its education director, beer helps relieve inhibitions that can kill a performer’s creativity.

In Hastings, Nebraska, temperance advocates picketed the Do the Brew beer festival. The protesters, dressed in period garb, were actors promoting the upcoming Nebraska Chautauqua fest.

Israel’s Herzl Brewery made a beer that people might have enjoyed when Jesus was alive. It tasted a bit like honey and berries, but it was flat and cloudier than what we drink today.

Six years ago, Greg Avola and Tim Mather launched Untappd. The app now has more than 3.2 million users, and is so successful that both men quit their jobs to manage Untapped full time.

Frances Stroh has written a book about the Detroit-based brewery’s rise to national prominence in the late 1800s and its downfall amid consolidation and the city’s economic demise.

Finally, Utah liquor regulators may revoke a Salt Lake City movie theater’s liquor license for showing the R-rated film Deadpool. State law forbids a licensed establishment to show nudity. Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds donated $5,000 to the theater’s legal defense fund.

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At a Festival, Don’t Be An “Alehole”.

Beer-Simple.com runs a series called “What Brewers Wish You Knew”. The latest installment is about beer festival etiquette. The site asked brewery owners, brewers, and staff what behavior annoys them the most at festivals. Their comments are directed at a small minority—Beer-Simple calls them “aleholes”—and they fall into three categories: “The Beer”, “The Attendee”, and “The Brewer”.

A sampling of comments:

  • “No, I don’t have anything like f***ing Blue Moon…”
  • “Tell me outright if you don’t like my beer.” Smiling politely and saying “that’s great!” before going to dump what, to you, tastes like backwash sweetened with rotten peaches, isn’t helping them (or you).
  • “Don’t just walk up and ask for ‘whatever.’ If you don’t know what I’m giving you, you won’t remember my brewery.”
  • “I don’t need your credentials. Telling me you’re a homebrewer or a judge isn’t really telling me anything. Tell me what you like to drink and why, maybe—at least then I can evaluate your reaction.”
  • “No, I’m not drunk all the time.” Brewers have heard every joke there is about being surrounded by beer all day, but this go-to seems to be a very common one. If they drank all day, when would they brew?
  • “If you’ve just had a cigar, don’t bother me. You can’t taste anything right now.”
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    The Friday Mash (Boomer Sooner Edition)

    One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, at high noon, thousands of people took part in the Oklahoma Land Rush. Within hours, Oklahoma City and Guthrie had instant populations of 10,000.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Tumwater, Washington, once the home of Olympia Brewing Company. Today, it’s the home of a cluster of legal marijuana growers and processors—including one of the state’s largest.

    Peru’s Cerveza San Juan beer brand has replaced the roaring jaguar with barnyard animals on its cans. The reason? The brewery is calling attention to the big cat’s endangered status.

    Officials have reinstated beer at the University of Missouri’s “Tiger Prowl”, where graduating seniors eat barbecue, get free merchandise, and get ready to say goodbye to their classmates.

    Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired its eighth craft brewery, Devil’s Backbone of Roseland, Virginia. Established in 2008, Devil’s Backbone has won multiple Great American Beer Festival medals.

    The Vietnamese love beer, and craft brewers have begun to enter the market. One new craft is the Pasteur Street Brewing Company, whose founders include Vick’s Florida native John Reid.

    Forbes magazine’s Tara Nurin explores “pay-to-play” in beer distribution. Even after a high-profile crackdown in Massachusetts, she says it’s “a common yet whispered business practice”.

    Finally, Don Russell aka Joe Sixpack takes us back to the bad old days of Prohibition’s “needle beer”: speakeasy owners injected alcohol into near beer—which was still legal in the 1920s. One customer, who sampled the stuff, compared it to 44-D cough syrup.

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    Is Competition Hurting “Savor”?

    For years, Savor has been the gold standard of beer festivals in Washington, D.C., and one of the nation’s most important festivals. It attracts some of the biggest names in beer—both breweries and craft beer celebrities—and has consistently been one of the toughest festival tickets. However, tickets for this year’s edition of Savor are moving more slowly. As of last Saturday, general-admission tickets to the June 3-4 event are still available.

    Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post offers an explanation: Competition from other festivals near the nation’s capital. They include last Saturday’s DC Beer Fest at Nationals Park; May’s Maryland Beer Festival in Frederick; and the Americana Beer Fest in Leesburg, Virginia, in June. Those events don’t boast the beer community’s A-listers, but the price of admission is much smaller.

    What can Savor do to remain in the top tier? Currently, Savor uses a random lottery to choose the breweries that will pour. Hahn urges organizers to set aside more invitations to hand-picked breweries. He observes, “As much as a spot at Savor will raise the profile of a tiny brewery in the Great Lakes region, the people buying tickets for the tasting would be more interested in trying something from Minneapolis’s well-regarded Surly Brewing, which was one of the first breweries to run out of beer in 2015 but didn’t get in this year”.

    The State of Session Beer

    It’s National Beer Day, which is a good time to look at the state of session beer. America’s biggest promoter of session beer is writer Lew Bryson, who has led the Session Beer Day initiative for the past five years.

    Bryson says that session beer is making progress. Brewers are not only making more of them, but many of them are a financial success. He cites two examples in his home state of Pennsylvania: Yards Brewing Company, which offers a dry stout and a bitter at its taproom; and Yuengling Lager, which certainly qualifies as a session beer.

    On the other hand, Bryson identifies two threats to session beer. One is “ABV creep”, a slow but persistent increase in the upper limit for what constitutes a session beer. The other threat is excessive hoppiness, the result of breweries jumping on the session IPA bandwagon.

    Bryson hopes that brewmasters start looking beyond “5% IPA” and offer the kinds of lower-alcohol beers found in other beer-drinking countries.

    The Friday Mash (Stanley Cup Edition)

    On this day in 1892, Lord Stanley, Canada’s former Governor-General, pledged to donate a silver challenge cup to the best hockey team in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups, nine more than the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Silver Bay, Minnesota, where the city council banned a local microbrewery’s products from the municipal liquor store after the brewery opposed against taconite mining in the area.

    Hops have been used in folk medicine for centuries. Today’s scientists have been working on harnessing hops’ anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

    Releases draw big crowds of beer geeks. Unfortunately, some of them behave badly, pushing and shoving, cutting in line, and abusing breweries on social media when the beer runs out.

    The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the brewing industry is picking up, and now craft breweries are taking one another over. Recently, Oskar Blues Brewery has bought Cigar City Brewing.

    Tom Osborne and Mike Robb appeared on the television show Shark Tank to pitch The Beer Blizzard, a freezable product that fits on the bottom of a beer can, keeping it colder longer.

    A craft brewery in London is attacking the problem of food waste by salvaging heels from bread loaves. The heels—which normally go to waste—are made into a beer called Toast Ale.

    Finally, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione says he got his first taste of the beer business waiting tables at a Manhattan bar. That inspired Calagione to buy a homebrewing kit. On a whim, he added overly ripe cherries…and the rest is history.

    Craft Beer at the Ballpark 2016

    BallparkDigest.com keeps track of promotions scheduled at minor league ballparks, and many of this season’s promotions involve beer.

    A growing number of teams are offering their own beers in conjunction with local breweries. The Durham Bulls went one step further, opening the Bull Durham Beer Company in their ballpark.

    Teams are adding craft beer nights to their promotions calendar. For example, the Wilmington Blue Rocks, in Delaware, will host Beer:30 Thursdays in conjunction with Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will sell beers and bratwurst for $2 apiece on Thursdays.

    Other teams, including the Fort Myers Miracle and the Reno Aces, are hosting beer festivals. Many take place during the off-season, but the Toledo Mud Hens’ fest is part of the team’s Opening Day celebration. The price of admission includes tickets to both the festival and ballgame, as well the post-game block party in the stadium’s entertainment district.

    The Friday Mash (Stormy Weather Edition)

    On this day in 1888, one of the worst blizzards on record struck the northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada. The storm crippled railroads and downed telegraph lines, leading citis and utilities to move their infrastructure below ground.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Cleveland, where delegates to this year’s Republican National Convention will be able to enjoy UnconventionAle, an American pale ale from the aptly named Platform Brewing Company.

    And, by virtue of Ludwig’s Equal Time Rule, here’s a Democratic story. Last week, Zero Gravity Brewing Company released Bernie Weisse to celebrate Bernie Sanders’s presidential run.

    Austin Beerworks has created a series of beers for Richard Linklater’s upcoming film, Everybody Wants Some. It’s the “spiritual sequel” to his 1993 coming-of-age classic, Dazed and Confused.

    MuscleFood.com, U.K.-based online supplement shop, has created “Barbell Brew”. It contains as much protein as a cut of steak, and has 40 percent fewer calories than a regular beer.

    In Singapore, craft breweries are opening in spite of high rents and stiff excise taxes. The city-state has about a dozen micros, four of which opened last year.

    When astronaut Scott Kelly arrived in the U.S. after a year in space, Second Lady Jill Biden was there to welcome him. She presented Kelly with apple pie—and beer from the White House.

    Finally, documents in Union Beer Distributors’ lawsuit against a competitor shed light on “pay-to-play” tactics in the New York area. Union, which admitted to paying bars to handle its brands, is owned by the same family that owns the distributor which was fined $2.6 million by Massachusetts liquor regulators.

    Ale…You’re History!

    Colonial Williamsburg will host a program, “Ales Through the Ages”, during the weekend of March 18-20:

    Ales through the Ages offers a journey through the history of beer with some of the world’s top beer scholars. We will explore ancient ales and indigenous beers of the past, examine the origins and consequences of industrial brewing, discover the ingredients brewers have used through time, and share a toast to brewers past!

    You can find the full program here.

    New Pricing Structure for Dark Lord Day 2016

    Tickets for this year’s Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds Brewing Compay, will set you back $200. The reason? Three Floyds has switched to all-inclusive pricing. It’s a concept inspired by Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing, which had been plagued by large crowds and disappointed attendees at recent release parties for its Hunaphu’s Imperial Stout.

    Those who buy a ticket for Dark Lord Day will be given a four-pack of Dark Lord Imperial Stout, plus a bottle of a Dark Lord variant; admission to the afternoon festival, which features beer from dozens of breweries; a tote bag; and $40 worth of food and drink vouchers. Three Floyds hopes that the new system will shorten lines and make life easier for festival staff.

    Tickets go on sale this Saturday.

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