Diversions

The Friday Mash (Broadway Edition)

On this day in 1888, Antoinette Perry was born in Denver. She was a co-founder and head of the American Theatre Wing, which operated the Stage Door Canteens during World War II. The Tony Awards, which honor outstanding achievement in theater, are named for her.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Bavaria, where several villages brew beer communally. The unfiltered lager, Zoigl, is served on a rotating schedule at local pubs; and it is also enjoyed communally.

Good news and bad news for British Columbia beer drinkers. Bars can now offer happy specials, but the province’s new minimum pricing requirement might make happy hour beer more expensive.

After golfer Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open, she celebrated in style, treating herself and her friends to beer out of the championship trophy—which, by the way, holds 21-1/2 brews.

Yuengling, August Schell, and Narragansett are “craft beers” thanks to the Brewers Association’s decision to allow adjuncts and to raise the production ceiling to 6 million barrels per year.

Indiana’s law barring the sale of cold beer at convenience stores was held constitutional by a federal judge, who concluded that the it was rationally related to the state’s liquor-control policy.

Molson’s Canadian Beer Fridge is back. This time, Canadians will have to demonstrate the ability to sing their country’s national anthem, “O Canada,” in order to get a free cold one.

Finally, beer blogger Danny Spears chugged a 25-year-old beer brewed to honor the Cincinnati Bengals’ appearance in Super Bowl XXIII. Spears’s verdict: “The beer was much worse than expected. Actually, it was terrible.”

The Friday Mash (NBA Edition)

On this day in 1946, the Basketball Association of America, the ancestor of today’s National Basketball Association, was organized in New York City. Fun fact: the first basket in league history was made by Ossie Schectman of the New York Knickerbockers in a game against the Toronto Huskies at Maple Leaf Gardens.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Asheville, North Carolina. The big craft brewers building plants there are trying to be good neighbors to the home-grown breweries, who have welcomed the newcomers.

Beer will be brewed in the Bronx—New York City’s only mainland borough—after a nearly 50-year absence. The Bronx Brewery, which currently contracts out its production, will bring its operations home sometime next year.

The “Bottle Boys,” who play cover songs on beer bottles, are out with their latest: the 1982 Michael Jackson song, “Billie Jean”. Previous covers include Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

Jacksonville, Florida, is the latest American city to create an Ale Trail for tourists. The trail includes a number of area micros, along with the Anheuser-Busch plant, which offers tours and a beer school.

The Boston Herald profiled Todd and Jason Alstrom, two guys from western Massachusetts who founded BeerAdvocate.com and organized the American Craft Beer Fest. Their motto is “Respect Beer.”

Dr. Paul Roof, a professor at Charleston Southern University, was fired by the school after his hirsute face appeared on cans of Holy City beer for a fund-raiser. CSU found that inconsistent with a Christian university.

Finally, a New Year’s resolution paid off for Justin “Bugsy” Sailor. Four years ago, Sailor resolved to have a beer with Sir Richard Branson. The two entrepreneurs finally clinked glasses last month.

In NYC, Last Call for Railroad Bar Cars

The bar car, once an institution on commuter rail lines, has reached the end of the line. The last such car on the Metro-North Line, which runs between New York City and New Haven, Connecticut, has aged out of the fleet.

Bar cars were not just a place for commuters to ease job stress but also a place for what we now call social networking—and, according to rumor, the occasional affair. Changing roles of men and women and tough drunk driving laws have made the Mad Men culture of the 1960s socially unacceptable.

Denizens of bar cars put up a good fight. They used social media to make sure they were filled, and even created a website celebrating them. Now that the cars are gone, they plan to designate one car per train as “unquiet,” “with promises of shared six-packs and undiminished cheer.”

The Friday Mash (Good Housekeeping Edition)

On this day in 1885, Clark W. Bryan founded Good Housekeeping magazine. Famous writers who have contributed to it include Somerset Maugham, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Frances Parkinson Keyes, A.J. Cronin, Virginia Woolf, and Evelyn Waugh.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in New Brunswick, Canada, where a Budweiser blimp went rogue. The blimp, which broke loose at a hockey promotion in St. John, wound up in a wooded area northeast of the city.

Authorities in Siberia are investigating a brewery that put images of Soviet World War II heroes on beer cans. Some veterans think the brewery is exploiting the heroes for profit.

Illegal 20 years ago, microbreweries are flourishing in Japan. Ingrid Williams of the New York Times visits several in Osaka, the nation’s unofficial culinary capital.

Meet the Roger Bannister of beer running. James Neilsen ran the Beer Mile in 4:57. A Beer mile contestant must consume a 12-ounce portion of beer every 400-meter lap.

Ty Burrell, who plays the bumbling dad on the TV sitcom “Modern Family,” has opened The Beer Bar, a restaurant and beer garden in Salt Lake City. Its signature dish will be the Reuben brat.

Forget about using Bitcoins to buy beer in Ohio. The Department of Public Safety has concluded they’re too volatile. That, and they aren’t recognized as legal currency.

Boston Beer Company CEO Jim Koch reveals his secret for not getting drunk. Before drinking, he downs one teaspoonful of Fleischmann’s yeast for every beer he intends to consume.

The Friday Mash (Oregon Edition)

One hundred and fifty-five years ago today, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state. An impressive 47 percent of the beer poured in the Beaver State is craft beer, most of it locally brewed; and Portland, the state’s largest city, has become a top destination for beer travelers.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Pennsylvania where, after a 29-year hiatus, D. Yuengling & Son is again making ice cream. It’s so popular that the first 100,000-quart run rolled off the line ahead of schedule.

The Stochasticity Project has released its first beer, Grapefruit Slam IPA. The beer, which checks in at 8.2% ABV and 95 IBUs, will be available nationwide.

Bear Republic is the first brewery to buy the Eco-Volt system, which uses microbes to convert dissolved carbon in wastewater into biogas, which can be burned to make electricity or heat.

The Beer Store, Ontario’s provincial retail monopoly, warns that if grocery and convenience stores are allowed to sell beer, consumers will have to pay an extra C$10 (U.S. $9) a case.

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, who performed as Status Quo, are the latest celebrity beer makers. Piledriver ale, named for their 1972 album, is brewed by Wychwood Brewery of Oxfordshire.

Fans at the Winter Olympics can escape bland food by journeying to the nearby town of Adler, where “Draft Beer & Fish” has 16 beers on tap, most of them locally brewed.

Finally, clear your desk and take out a number-two pencil. John Metcalf of The Atlantic has a ten-point craft beer quiz that emphasizes the strange ingredients brewers are using.

The Friday Mash (Cream City Edition)

On this day in 1846, Juneautown and Kilbourntown, Wisconsin, combined to form the city of Milwaukee. One of Milwaukee’s nicknames is “Cream City,” given in the late 19th century when millions of cream-colored bricks were made there.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Northlake, Illinois, where Bill Diamond, a train conductor at a distribution plant, is protecting beer from the polar vortex, which has driven temperatures well below beer’s freezing point.

Ever heard of the Andy-Oza Line? Created by Andy Sparhawk of CraftBeer.com, it’s the average ABV of the beer on tap at your local beer bar, divided by 5.9%, the average ABV of American craft beer.

These cases are getting more common. Illinois’ Rockford Brewing Company filed a trademark suit against Michigan’s Rockford Brewing Company. Both claim to they were the first to use the name.

Beer, then whiskey. MillerCoors is rolling out Miller Fortune, a golden lager that gives off a taste of bourbon. It’s aimed at 21- to 27-year-old men, who have gravitated to spirits in recent years.

Heretic Brewing Company responded to California’s new growler law by providing customers with the most detailed instructions we’ve ever seen for keeping growlers clean.

What did James Grant, a New Zealand doctor, do when a shark attacked him? He drove off the shark with a knife, stitched up his wounds, and went to the pub for a beer with his friends.

Finally, umami is a savory flavor at the heart of Japanese food. Now there’s a beer to pair with it. It’s called Wazen, which will be released this spring by Suntory, the Japanese beverage company.

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.

The Friday Mash (Chili and Frosty Edition)

No, “chili and frosty” isn’t today’s weather report. Those were once the signature items of Wendy’s restaurants, the first of which opened on this day in 1969. Founder Dave Thomas named after it after his daughter Melinda Lou Thomas, known to her family as Wendy.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Germany, where an official of the national health system infuriated psychotherapists by suggesting that a bottle of beer might be more effective than a trip to the couch.

A store in Louisville sells hand-rolled cigars seasoned with Samuel Adams beer. They combine the beer’s sweetness and maple and vanilla flavors with a spicy flavor from the tobacco blend.

In many U.S. states, anti-drunk driving groups have put an end to drive-through beer stores, but they’re still common in Mexico. Some are operated by the Modelo brewery’s parent company.

Last week, the carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford was launched. Founders Brewing Company, located in Ford’s hometown of Grand Rapids, released a special ale to celebrate.

Next February, the University of Kentucky will host a one-day seminar on the importance of beer writing to the craft beer industry. Garrett Oliver is the headline speaker.

Alan Newman, the founder of the Magic Hat Brewing Company, has gone back to basics. His Just Beer Project is a brewery that focuses on traditional beers. His first offering is a session-strength IPA.

Finally, some gift ideas for the beer lover who has everything. Paste Magazine’s ten best items made out of beer cans include a Christmas tree, a corset, and a World War I biplane.

Wild Turkeys

Joe Morette, a farmer from New Hampshire, discovered by accident that feeding his turkeys beer instead of water resulted in better-tasting bird. Just in time for Thanksgiving, which is less than three weeks away.

The Friday Mash (World Tourism Day Edition)

Today is World Tourism Day, which was created by the United Nations in 1970. This year’s theme is “Tourism and Water.” If you can’t make it to Munich, where some kind of a beer festival is going on, Ludwig recommends that you take a trip to your local brewery and order a beer–which, of course, is more than 90 percent water.

And now…the Mash!

We begin in Bloomington, Illinois, the home of Beer Nuts. The first batch of the snacks–made with just four ingredients–was created 60 years ago by Jim Shirk, whose family still owns the company.

In Texas, a homebrewer recently got a nasty surprise: brewer’s yeast in his intestines caused him to spontaneously brew beer and get him drunk without warning.

A Reddit user who goes by “psychguy” explained why experienced drinkers prefer strong beer: it’s a combination of “taste fatigue” and peer pressure.

Was Jesus a beer drinker? Did He really turn water into beer at Cana? Stasia Bliss of the Las Vegas Guardian-Review cites historical and biblical evidence which points in that direction.

Savvy beer shoppers are finding bargains at their local Wal-Mart. Bloomberg.com found a Los Angeles-area store that sold Coors and Tecate at just pennies over cost.

If M.C. Escher were a glassblower, he might have come up with this: a glass designed to hold two different beers at the same time. The Dual Beer Glass holds two 1/3-pint portions of beer.

Professor Hong Luo at the Unviersity of Buffalo says the key to a good pour is avoiding that “glugging” sound produced by a low-pressure area formed when beer is poured too fast.

Finally, Scientific American magazine has awarded the IgNobel Prize in Psychology to the scientists who studied “self-beer goggles”: people who’ve had a few are more likely to consider themselves attractive.

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