MGM Enters the Festival Business

Here’s another sign of the growing popularity of beer festivals. In Las Vegas, MGM has teamed up with the organizers of the Oregon Brewers Festival to put on a festival to be held on the Strip a week from Saturday. The festival, called Blvd Beer Fest, will feature a selection of Oregon-brewed beers not normally available in southern Nevada, along with an entertainment lineup headed by The Kings of Leon. MGM hopes that the event will drive traffic to its 11 hotels on the Strip and give its guests a wider choice of things to do outdoors.

Blvd Beer Fest will take place a week after the annual Downtown Brew Festival, organized by Motley Brews. Brian Chapin, Motley Brews’ founder, isn’t fazed by MGM’s entering the festival business. In fact, he thinks it validates the notion that craft beer has become popular in Las Vegas.

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The Friday Mash (America’s Cup Edition)

On this day in 1851, the first America’s Cup was won by—you guessed it—the yacht America. The “Auld Mug” is currently in the possession of Larry Ellison’s Team Oracle, which will defend it in 2017. That’s quite a ways off, so Ludwig suggests that you pass the time by filling your mug.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Oslo where, according according to GoEuro’s researchers, a 12-ounce bottle of beer costs $4.50–more than four times what you’d pay in Dublin or Warsaw.

Craft beer is so popular in Michigan that the State Police created a fake brewery, with “microbrews” like “Responsible Red” and “Designated Driver Dark,” as part of their latest anti-drunk driving campaign.

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is 26 years old and one of the NBA’s top players, but he still got carded at the local California Pizza Kitchen. Many of us share your pain, Steph.

You might prefer a beer brand because of marketing, not because it tastes better. Participants in a recent blind taste test were only slightly better than random at distinguishing among popular lagers.

Men’s Journal magazine has compiled the ten best beer commercials, starring, among others, The Most Interesting Man in the World, the Budweiser Clydsedales, and the Red Stripe Ambassador of Wisdom.

The polls are open at CraftBeer.com’s annual Great American Beer Bars competition. Voters are asked to choose one establishment from ten nominees in five regions of the country.

Finally, it’s a Great British Beer Festival tradition to show up in costume, like the gent with a Viking hat, those guys dressed up as priests, and a man who came as Prince Harry…Wait a minute, that was Prince Harry!

Want to Win GABF Tickets?

As you probably know, tickets to this year’s Great American Beer Festival sold out in minutes. However, the American Homebrewers Association is offering some lucky winner a trip for two to the festival. The prize includes tickets to all sessions, plus airfare and three nights’ hotel stay.

To enter the drawing, join the AHA or renew your membership this month and use coupon code “GABF14″ when checking out.

The Friday Mash (Abbey Road Edition)

Forty-five years ago today, at a zebra crossing in London, photographer Iain Macmillan took the photo that became the cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road. It became one of the most famous album covers in recording history.

And now…The Mash!

We begin, appropriately, in London, where local officials might stop evening beer festivals at the zoo after festival-goers threw beer at the tigers and a drunken woman tried to enter the lion enclosure*.

Jim Koch, the CEO of Boston Beer Company, planned to open a brewery in Seattle, where he went to college. But after watching it rain for 45 straight days, Koch and his wife moved back to Boston.

Germany’s years-long slump in beer consumption was halted by its winning the World Cup. Between January and June, sales rose by 4.4 percent over a year ago.

Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing Company issued a recall for its popular Swill beer after it learned some bottles were undergoing secondary fermentation, which could cause them to explode.

California’s continuing drought has craft brewers worried. If the rains don’t come this winter, they might be forced to curtail production, raise prices, or even move brewing operations out of state.

Elizabeth Daly, who sued the Virginia ABC after over-zealous plainclothes officers wrongly suspected she was a minor in possession, will get a $212,500 settlement check from the state.

Finally, New Zealand health regulators warned a hotel that its sign, “Pero Says: ‘Free Beer Tomorrow’”, may violate the law by promoting excessive drinking. Haven’t they read about “Jam Tomorrow” in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking-Glass?

* Ludwig is not pleased with her.

The Friday Mash (MTV Edition)

On this day in 1981, MTV began broadcasting in America. Pay attention to this factoid, because it comes up often in pub trivia: MTV’s first video was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Ian Hughes, a brewmaster at Goose Island Brewing Company, is trying to educate people about the importance of clean water, the main ingredient in Goose Island beers.

Canadian actor Seth Rogan got to fulfill his dream of drinking beer from the Stanley Cup. P.K. Subban, who plays for the Montreal Canadiens, earned an assist for pouring beer into the trophy.

The list of exotic ingredients in beer now includes seaweed. Marshall Wharf Brewing Company adds 66 pounds of Maine sugar kelp to 200 gallons of its Scotch ale to brew a batch of Sea Belt Ale.

In Indiana, a newly-passed law lifts the 67-year-old ban on beer at the State Fair, which opens today. Last call is at 8 pm, and fair-goers will be limited to three 12-ounce beers.

Tech companies in Boston are using craft beer to attract and retain talented employees. Journalist Dennis Keohane decided to investigate the tap selection at some of the area’s leading companies.

In San Francisco, a woman in the outfield seats got a rude surprise: a home run ball landed in her beer. Not only was she soaked with beer and out $8, but someone else wound up with the baseball.

Finally, the Michigan Brewers Guild has responded to heavy demand for tickets to the annual Winter Beer Festival by adding an evening session to next year’s event in Grand Rapids.

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

If you’re one of the lucky folks who managed to get tickets for this year’s Great American Beer Festival, congratulations on beating the odds! This year’s allotment of public-sale tickets sold out in just 32 minutes.

If you weren’t so lucky, console yourself with a beer (Ludwig suggests something with “Imperial” in its name) and set your sights on next year’s festival. Speaking of which, 30 percent more exhibit space will be available for the 2015 festival. And that could mean a bigger allotment of tickets.

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!

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.”

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