On this day in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated. Can you name the other railroads on the Monopoly board? Time’s up. They’re the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading Railroad, and the Short Line.
We begin in Brazil, where the Polar brewery has an invention that will make it easier to converse in bars. It’s a beer cooler that cuts out GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, and 4G signals.
California’s drought could make your Lagunitas IPA will taste different. The Russian River, which provides Lagunitas with its water, is drying up, and brewery might have to find another source.
Beer was the headline ingredient in last Sunday’s “Chopped” competition on the Food Network. The show, with Stone Brewing Company’s Greg Koch as a judge, airs again on Sunday evening.
Higher zymurgical education awaits in the form of Joshua Bernstein’s new book, The Complete Beer Course. It contains a series of “classes” devoted to families of beers.
On Tuesday, when he was in Chicago to announce the award of a federal manufacturing grant, President Obama put in a plug for Goose Island Brewing Company’s “superior beer.”
A Korean romantic comedy in which the female lead makes chimek to celebrate winter’s first snow has Chinese viewers clamoring for the dish, which is Korean for “fried chicken” and “beer.”
Finally, a gathering of 490 Yelp members at Santa Anita Race Track might set a new Guinness record for beer tasters. We hope they bet on Ambitious Brew, who won the $100,000 Sensational Star stakes race.
On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.
Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.
In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.
In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.
Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.
Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.
Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.
On this day in 1830, the Kingdom of Belgium declared its independence from The Netherlands. Since then, Belgium has acquired quite a reputation for its beer.
And now…the Mash!
Raise the price of beer and people drink less of it, right? Not at Oktoberfest, where per capita consumption went up even though the price of beer rose much faster than the rate of inflation.
According to Zoosk.com, people who drink microbrews are more likely to have one-night stands. They’re also more likely to prefer outdoor adventures on a first date.
Beer and books? Yes, please. Atomic Books and Red Emma’s, two independent bookstores in Baltimore, plan to serve beer along with their hardcovers, paperbacks, and comic books.
The Esquire Network’s lineup of shows includes Brew Dogs, which stars James Watt and Martin Dickie of Scotland’s BrewDog brewery. Their first episode was filmed in San Diego.
Fast Company magazine has prepared an infographic contrasting the effects of beer and coffee on the human brain. Did you know that beer (in moderation) makes you more creative?
Finally, if you’re going to the Great American Beer Festival, take note: the Ritz-Carlton in Denver is offering 75-minute “ex-beer-iences”, either a massage or a pedicure with Great Divide beer.
On this day in 1810, promoter P.T. Barnum was born. He’s best known for founding Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but his colorful life story also includes stints as a politician, businessman, reformer, and perpetrator of hoaxes.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Tennessee, where new legislation lessens the tax bite on beer. The old law, which based tax on the price of beer, saddled the Volunteer State with the nation’s steepest tax.
The staff of FirstWeFeast.com has scoured the country to find unsung cheap beers. The list is dominated by regional beers like Point Special, Iron City, and Genessee Cream Ale.
The Festival in Portland, Maine, opened late on account of archaic regulations that bar breweries from pouring their own beer. Organizers scrambled to find volunteers for beer-dispensing duty.
What is it like to ride on the beer train? Scott Rappold of the Colorado Springs Gazette describes his trip on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad’s annual “Rails to Ales” outing.
Another television series will have its own beer. Albuquerque’s Marble Brewery will brew Heisenberg’s Dark, an India black ale named for Walter White’s drug-dealing alias in Breaking Bad.
Hawaii is surrounded by ocean water, and Aloha Brewing Company is using it to brew Gose beer, a style that originated in Goslar, Germany, whose water is naturally salty.
Finally, a Czech hockey team was forced to leave town because of a dispute over beer. The club played in Budvar Arena, but their league was contractually obligated to serve a competing brand.
On this day in 1790, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, an American clergyman named Elijah Craig produced the first batch of whiskey distilled from corn. What better excuse to have a beer aged in a bourbon barrel?
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Cambridge, England, where the city’s first Bitcoin transaction recently took place. Andrew Bower bought a pint of beer at The Haymakers for just over 0.02 Bitcoins, or £1.55.
Can’t find a bottle opener? S.E. Smith of Networx.com to the rescue. He has 16 ways to open a beer bottle without one–and without damaging your teeth.
Japanese craft brewers might get a boost from their government’s decision to weaken the yen in an effort to stimulate the economy. A weak yen means higher prices for imported brands.
Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of the nation’s top beer destinations. For your enjoyment, the staff at FermentedlyChallenged.com has compiled a three-day guide to the city’s breweries and bars.
If you’re in the lower deck at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, listen for Mark Reiner, the singing beer vendor. He sings his personalized spiels to the tune of pop songs any fan would recognize.
Crikey! Residents of a Melbourne, Australia, suburb discovered their cellphones weren’t working. The problem? Radio waves emitted by a neighbor’s beer fridge.
Finally, craft beer returns to television this fall. The new Esquire Network will air a show titled “BrewDogs” starring James Watt and Martin Dickie, the founders of–you guessed it–BrewDog.
It started with a friendly bartender who, by trial and error, helped Kevin Jamieson identify which of his establishment’s 40 beers he’d fallen in love with the night before. That exchange led him to develop an app that maps a beer using six “dimensions.”
Mark Wilson of Fast Company magazine explain Jamieson’s map:
Just like you might place a point on a 2-D or 3-D grid, Jamieson actually arranges traits of a beer–from very specific text descriptions he’s scraped from reviews, like “grapefruity” or “piney,” to very hard, scientific measurements of maltiness and bitterness–into six simultaneous dimensions. From the proximity of all these diverse data points, Jamieson can reason complex relationships of the beers based upon a multitude of interrelated criteria at once.
The good news: the map covers a universe of 200,000 beers. The bad news: human minds aren’t very good as visualizing six dimensions. So Jamieson simplified his map by limiting the user to two traits at a time to compare.
On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that led to passage of the Consumer Bill of Rights. The president declared that consumers were entitled to a choice of safe products, information about what they buy, and the right to be heard. So if someone serves you a pint of ailing ale today, don’t be afraid to send it back.
And now…The Mash!
Meet Arnie, the smart beer vending machine. He lives at Arnold Worldwide’s offices in Austin, Texas, and dispenses beer that was home-brewed by company employees.
In London, the brewers of Sol beer offer a new form of recycling. Feed the machine one of your unwanted ties, and it will issue you a coupon good for a free bottle of beer.
A new season of Game of Thrones debuts on HBO on March 31, and Brewery Ommegang has brewed a special ale in collaboration with the cable network. Paul Schrodt of Esquire reviews the beer.
It’s only eight years old, but Milwaukee’s Old German Beer Hall has gained national attention for its genuine Bavarian atmosphere. The beer, and the flour used to make pretzels, are imported from Munich.
Does your company’s perks include a free beer on company time? Advanced Medical in Port Orange, Florida, rolls out the beer cart on Friday afternoons.
Finally, Dr. Amanda Ellison of Durham University (UK) debunks “beer goggles”: People don’t look more attractive to you after a few too many; you’ve simply lowered your standards. Caveat emptor.
By now, you’ve likely seen Budweiser Black Crown on the shelves at your local supermarket. You probably know the Black Crown story as well: it was the taste-test winner of the beers created for Budweiser Project 12. And you’re no doubt aware that Anheuser-Busch, Inc., has forked out millions for air time during the Super Bowl to promote this new brand.
Donald Russell, who blogs as Joe Sixpack, has an interesting explanation for A-B’s decision to promote the new brand during tomorrow’s big game. He quotes from an email he received from Grant Pace, the ad man who created the famous Bud Bowl series of Super Bowl commercials. Pace explains that the ads are intended to “drive conversation”:
Sarah Palin drove conversation, love her or hate her. When she stopped being interesting to both sides, she faded. Same with beer. They’re fine if you love the new products or hate them, but don’t be quiet about them. Don’t say that Budweiser isn’t doing stuff, isn’t innovating, isn’t sitting still.
Perhaps, But it remains to be seen whether craft beer drinkers actually like Black Crown, and like it enough to switch brands.
On this day in 1152, King Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of medieval Europe’s most powerful women. Their turbulent marriage was the subject of James Goldman’s play The Lion in Winter, which was made into a film starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn in 1968.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Finland, where scientists are trying to re-create a beer brewed in the 1840s. Bacteria from the golden-colored beer were found in a ship that went to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
New Zealander Katrina Hayman won’t apologize for drinking beer backstage at a Bride of the Year competition. She says the controversy never would have happened had she sipped wine instead.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a group of homebrewers in the area have formed The High Five Co-op Brewery. Now comes the hard part: navigating the legal and administrative hurdles.
Author Rob Kasper takes us back half a century and explains how brought major league baseball to Baltimore. The Lone Ranger’s silver bullet plays a role in this fascinating story.
In 1963, brewer Alfred Heineken and architect John Habraken designed a house made of Heineken bottles. They used “World of Beer” bottles, which lent themselves to construction.
On his Pencil and Spoon blog, Matt Dredge wonders whether it is possible to pair hoppy beers and hot and spicy foods.
Finally, Burnside Brewing Company apologized for giving the name “Kali-ma” to an ale flavored with Indian spices and hot peppers. Kali, a four-armed goddess, is revered by Hindus.
Two years ago, The Discovery Channel aired a show called “Brew Masters,” which starred Dogfish Head Craft Ales’ Sam Calagione. Unfortunately, the network pulled the plug after six episodes. Since then, beer fans have waited for a similar show to arrive.
If Harvey Gold has his way, “Wash it Down” will someday hit the airwaves. In addition to focusing on beer and food, the show will explore the history and stories behind breweries. The star of the show will be Scott Martin Brooks, who’s best known for Budweiser’s “Whassup?” commercials.
It remains to be seen whether Gold finds a taker for his show. Aside from the early demise of “Brew Masters”, networks have other reasons to shy away: craft beer still commands a small fraction of America’s beer market, and network executives might be reluctant to air a show that critics will accuse of promoting irresponsible drinking.
On the other hand, if “Wash it Down” proves a hit, history suggests that other beer-themed shows will follow. We’ve seen it with pastry, tattoo parlors, and storage lockers.