Diversions

The Friday Mash (No-Smoking Edition)

Forty-seven years ago today, President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Smoking Act. It required the placement of Surgeon General’s warnings on tobacco products, and banned cigarette advertising on television and radio. Those of a certain age still remember the jingles, however.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where the newly-opened Moby Dick Brewing Company pays homage to the city’s whaling industry and especially, the Herman Melville classic.

In Indianapolis, a beer bar called Kingmakers offers a selection of 500 board games to play with friends. Kingmakers’ “board game sommeliers” double as servers and game instructors.

Michigan’s brewery count is approaching 300–which is a lot of competition for shelf space. Representatives of two of the state’s grocery chains explain how they decide what to carry.

Your next layover could be an opportunity to introduce yourself to some new beer. CraftBeer.com has compiled a list of nine American airports that pour beer from local craft breweries.

Growler USA is coming to your home state. The Denver-based beer bar chain has 40 franchised locations under development, and expects to sell another 200 franchises nationwide in 2018.

Can you name the ten oldest beers in America? All ten date back to the 19th century—1829 in the case of Yuengling Lager, the country’s oldest—and managed to survive Prohibition.

Finally, Stone Brewing Company earned rave reviews for its Full Circle Pale Ale. What makes this beer unusual is that it was made with recycled and purified wastewater that had previously been used in taps, toilets and showers.

Don’t Try This in Your Home State

Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb’s adventures in stunt drinking include bar crawling an airline terminal and downing the contents of a hotel mini-bar. His latest adventure was drinking at every brewery in the state—in one day. The only state where that’s possible is Rhode Island—it’s the smallest in area and has 16 breweries—so Goldfarb hopped a train to Providence, where his designated driver was waiting.

Here are the stats for Goldfarb’s day:

  • Beers sampled: 97.
  • BONUS! Whiskies sampled: 7.
  • BONUS! Rums sampled: 3.
  • Miles driven: 93.1.
  • Steps walked: 3,617.
  • Hours spent drinking: 14.
  • How did Goldfarb feel after finishing his odyssey? “I’m surprisingly not too drunk, not even too tired. I’m just really [expletive deleted] sick of beer. It feels like I will never get the taste of beer out of my mouth.”

    The Friday Mash (Viking Cruises Edition)

    On this day in 888 A.D., the Vikings began a siege of Paris after the city’s ruler, Count Odo, refused the invaders’ demand for tribute. The siege was the most important event in the reign of the then-French king who has an appropriate name for this day after Thanksgiving: Charles the Fat.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin on YouTube, where a sunbathing woman texted a neighbor, asking him to send over a beverage. The neighbor obliged, delivering a can of beer to her by mini-drone.

    Now that Oklahoma voted to allow full-strength beer sales in stores, a Tulsa newspaper called on state lawmakers to scrap other “puritanical anachronisms” that are still on the books.

    Chicago welcomed its first contract brewery, Great Central Brewing Company. Next year, it will open a taproom offering a variety of Chicago-brewed beers.

    An alliance called No Patents on Seeds has called on Carlsberg to give up its three patents on mutant strains of barley. The strains provide new enzymes to develop “more distinctive”, flavor-stable beers.

    Lifelong friends Collin Poseley and Eggie Foust have created Craft Beer: The Board Game. It takes five minutes to learn, and it can be played while inebriated.

    The rapper Ludacris, an Atlanta native, has opened his long-awaited Chicken & Beer restaurant at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Its menu is “Southern to the core”.

    Finally, Ayla Bystrom-Williams, the owner of Honeymoon Brewery, beat out 13,000 competitors and won a $200,000 Miller Lite “Tap the Future” award. She’s one of the country’s few black female brewery owners.

    The Friday Mash (Strait and Narrow Edition)

    On this day in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan discovered a navigable sea route separating South America and Tierra del Fuego. The treacherous body of water is now known as the Strait of Magellan.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Columbus, Ohio, where Scotland-based BrewDog will have a brewery up and running late this winter. BrewDog is also raising capital by crowdfunding: you can buy shares for $47.50 each.

    It took him 16 tries, but reddit user “boomboomsaloon” finally succeeded in buying beer using a Blockbuster Video membership card as proof of age.

    “It’s like a death in the family”, said Revolution Brewing Founder Josh Deth after he recalled more than 10,000 barrels of beer that didn’t meet his brewery’s quality standards.

    Kirin Brewing Company, Japan’s second-largest brewery, will buy a 25-percent stake in Brooklyn Brewing Company. Kirin will introduce Brooklyn’s beers in Japan and distribute them in Brazil.

    Food blogger Kyle Marcoux aka The Vulgar Chef found a new way to pair beer and pizza. He made a koozie by rolling a square pizza base with pepperoni and mozzarella around a beer can.

    Engineers at University of Colorado have developed a process to make lithium-ion battery electrodes from the sugar-rich wastewater created in the beer-making process.

    Finally, beer writer Josh Bernstein says these six trends will be the talk of 2017: Marzen beers in the fall, the revival of Kolsch beers, juice-like IPAs, milk stouts, coffee beers, and fruited sour beers.

    Drinking Game for Tonight’s Debate

    Tonight’s presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is expected to draw the biggest audience in American debate history. That means an awful lot of drinking games will take place, even though it’s only Monday. And, because both candidates enter the debate with historically high negatives, there’s all the more incentive to drink.

    Beer writer Jeff Alworth, who blogs at Beervana, has suggested a drinking game that is out of the ordinary. Starting with the choice of beverage:

    This is, however, no time to fool around with dainty potables that have only been lightly fermented. An event like this requires distilled beverages, strong and brutal.

    Alworth also suggests not drinking until ten minutes into the debate, to make sure you take in what is actually happen, and then start drinking heavily. He also departs from the usual formula–take a drink if a certain word or phrase is spoken–and instead drink to the awfulness of the moderator’s questions, the candidates, and our two major parties.

    Now on a roll, Alworth concludes with this boozy peroration:

    Drink when you notice the anxiety that this election seems to be a metaphor for … something. Drink when your mind lapses back to earlier elections (2008 for Dems, 1980 for Republicans) and you remember thinking, “Is America the best damn country in the world, or what?” Drink when you grow irritated they’re not talking about the issues you care about. Drink when you realize they’re not talking about those issues because Americans don’t care about them. Drink to douse your gnawing apprehension, drink to encourage your hope. Drink for liquid courage. Drink for comfort. Drink for good old Teddy Roosevelt–man, we could really use the old Rough Rider right now. Drink to drink.

    If you manage to survive tonight’s debate, the second in the series take place Sunday night, October 9. Cheers, everyone!

    The Friday Mash (Great Fire of London Edition)

    Three hundred and fifty years ago today, the Great Fire of London broke out. The blaze, famously described in the diaries of Samuel Pepys destroyed most of the city’s buildings, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and countless pubs.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Winnipeg, where a man dressed as a hockey goalie broke into a store and made off with some beer. It wasn’t even Canadian-brewed beer; he stole Budweiser. Speaking of the King of Beer, a man wearing a Batman costume swiped two 18-packs of Bud from an Upstate New York store.

    Alan McLeod, the keeper of A Good Beer Blog, found a 200-year-old classified ad for a homebrewing machine that made beer without mashing. That sounds too good to be true, and probably is.

    According to a poll of more than 100 college basketball coaches, Bob Huggins of West Virginia is the coach they’d most like to have a beer with. University of Kansas coach Bill Self finished second.

    Miller Genuine Draft is a dying brand. A Milwaukee Record journalist visited a dozen bars in the city. Nine didn’t carry MGD; one bartender laughed at him, and another was offended that he even asked for it.

    Breweries in Portland, Maine, are asking customers to rank the beers they’ve been served. It’s their effort to promote ranked-choice voting, aka instant-runoff, which will be on the November ballot.

    Stephen Wilmot of the Wall Street Journal warns that the recent slowdown in craft beer’s growth won’t help the big breweries. One major reason is that wine and spirits—bourbon in particular—are growing even faster than craft.

    Finally, a British brewery is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth with a beer brewed using yeasts scraped off of Dahl’s armchair. The beer will be served at the premiere of a stage adaptation of Dahl’s The Twits.

    The Friday Mash (Votes for Women Edition)

    On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect. It was ratified 42 years after Aaron Sargent, a Republican from California, first introduced a women’s suffrage resolution in the Senate.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Rio de Janiero, where souvenir cups of Ambev’s beer Skol were wildly popular at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Some fans spent hundreds of dollars to get Skol’s complete 42-cup collection.

    With The Beer Tie, you can make a fashion statement and enjoy your beer at the same time. The tie is made of the same insulating, waterproof neoprene material as a standard drink koozie.

    How much beer must “Bender”, the robot from Futurama, drink in order to keep his battery powered? According to Megan Logan of Inverse magazine, it’s 2.7 million liters. Per day.

    The museum store at the Arizona Capitol could start selling local beer this fall. Alcohol isn’t exactly banned at the Capitol. Lawmakers are known to cary red Solo cups during late-night sessions.

    The Innis & Gunn brewery offers a virtual-reality trip to Scotland to be enjoyed with a pint. The scientist who helped create the VR says that it connects the brain with the beer’s oak-aged tones.

    Twenty-one years ago, Norwegian police ended an airplane hijacking by persuading the hijacker—who had been drinking heavily—to swap his loaded gun for a fresh supply of beer.

    Finally, Suicide Squad actress Margot Robbie is a big fan of shower beers. She said that after a tough day of shooting, an ice-cold beer in a boiling-hot shower helps her fall asleep.

    The Friday Mash (American Bandstand Edition)

    On this day in 1957, the pop music show American Bandstand made its national debut. The show was hosted by Dick Clark throughout its run, which ended in 1989. Clark was also the show’s producer, and eventually became its owner.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Florida, where businessman Sammy Ramos has launched the first craft beer to be marketed to Hispanics. Its brand name is “Boriuca”, which means a person of Puerto Rican heritage—of which there are more than 250,000 in Greater Orlando.

    In Kent, England, a Shetland pony named Mocha walked into his owner’s pub and started drinking beer out of stray pint glasses. Feel free to make bad puns on “pony” or “horse”.

    This fall, Oregon State University will open a beer garden at its football stadium. Last year the Beavers went 2-10 (0-9 in the PAC-12), so fans might need a few beers before watching them play.

    Rupert Stadler, the head of Volkswagen’s Audi division, was forced to repay the company €12,000 ($13,950) for a beer-drinking contest for company managers that he put on his expense account.

    The metal band Megadeth has tapped Quebec brewery Unibroue to make a beer called “A Tout le Monde”, named for a song from the group’s 1994 album Youthanasia. It’s a Belgian-style saison ale.

    Greene King is brewing “Bobby” beer to honor Bobby Moore, the captain of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team. Its alcohol content—4.2% ABV—was inspired by the score of the Cup final.

    Finally, a group of Chicago businesses, including two well-known beer bars, are encouraging the public to patronize establishments on the #11 bus route, which they hope will earn back a permanent spot on the Chicago Transit Authority map.

    The Friday Mash (Cleveland Rocks Edition)

    Two hundred and twenty years ago today, surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company named an area in Ohio “Cleveland” after General Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party. The city’s first “a” later vanished when a newspaper publisher couldn’t fit it on the masthead.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in space, the final frontier. Shmaltz Brewing is celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary with two “collector’s edition” Golden Anniversary beers:”The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Voyage to the Northeast Quadrant”.

    “Foraging”—combing local fields and forests for ingredients—is a foodie trend that breweries are just starting to join. VinePair’s Kathleen Wilcox profiles two of them and the people who own them.

    Here’s one SEC title the Alabama Crimson Tide won’t be winning: best craft beer city in the conference. The honor belongs to Athens, Georgia, the home of the Bulldogs.

    The Beer Institute, whose member companies control 80 percent of the American market, has agreed to put nutritional information—including calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat—on beer labels.

    It wasn’t exactly Smokey and the Bandit, but a beer distributor picked up his first allotment of Deschutes beer in Bend, Oregon, and drove it cross-country to Salem, Virginia.

    Africa is a challenging market for breweries. They’ve responded by stepping up production of beer using local ingredients and rolling out low-cost alternatives to their flagship brands.

    Finally, a London-based company is the first to brew beer using artificial intelligence. It uses an algorithm called Automated Brewing Intelligence to collect customer feedback via a Facebook Messenger bot, then uses the feedback to improve the recipes of its beer.

    The Friday Mash (Casey at the Bat Edition)

    On this day in 1888, the poem “Casey at the Bat” was first published in the San Francisco Examiner. You probaby remember that the mighty but overconfident Casey let two pitches go by for strikes before swinging at—and missing—the third strike, which led to “no joy in Mudville”.

    And now…Play Ball!

    We begin in Cleveland, where the Indians recently staged a “$2 Beer Night”. One creative group of fans built a 112-can, 11-level-high “beer-a-mid”. Major League Baseball offered a one-word comment: “Wow”.

    In Madison, Wisconsin, the Black Marigold wind ensemble commissioned composer Brian DuFord to write a suite of movements inspired by the area’s craft beers. One local craft will brew a special beer for Black Marigold.

    SodaStream, which sells machines that carbonate water, now offers an instant-homebrew device called the Beer Bar. Adding a package of “Blondie” concentrate to sparkling water produces a three-liter batch of 4.5-percent ABV.

    Talk about a hasty departure. A driver in China’s Henan Province was caught on video chugging a beer at the wheel—this, while dragging his IV drip outside the car with him.

    Here’s a new way to evade open container laws. A new invention called the Lolo Lid snaps onto the top of your can of beer, which you can then insert into a medium or large-sized paper coffee cup.

    A Boston Globe editorial called on state lawmakers to make it easier for small breweries to terminate their agreements with distributors. North Carolina passed similar legislation in 2012.

    Finally, the High Heel Brewing Company has come under fire for naming one of its beers after a shoe style and using pink and purple in its packaging. CEO Kristi McGuire said in her brewery’s defense, “We didn’t want to make a gimmick…We didn’t make the beer pink.”

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