On Saturday, the fifth annual Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival will take place at Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company amid controversy.
Devil’s Backbone is being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev. This means it will no longer qualify as a “craft brewery” making it ineligible to compete in the Virginia Craft Beer Cup, even though its Schwarzbier is a three-time Best of Show winner. In fact, this year’s awards ceremony was pulled from the festival, and will take place at a different venue.
The A-B deal also means that Devil’s Backbone will no longer host the Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival. The state’s Craft Brewers Guild has decided to stage the 2017 event at a location to be determined. Meanwhile, Devil’s Backbone will host a new event as part of next year’s calendar of festivals and parties. The brewery says that it won’t conflict with the Craft Brewer’s Festival.
On this day in 1834, the Spanish parliament formally disbanded the Inquisition, which was created in 1480 by monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It was revived in 1970 by the Monty Python troupe—when no one was expecting it.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Amsterdam, which is having a rainy summer. That’s good new for a group of entrepreneurs who are gathering rainwater and using to brew a pale ale called “Hemelswater: code blond”.
The newly-opened Tilted Mash Brewing got a big boost from judges at this year’s California State Fair. A third-place showing in the competitive Pale Ale category gave the brewery instant credibility.
Beer, then whiskey. Chicago’s Wander North Distillery is distilling beer mash from its next-door neighbor, Northgate Brewing. The first whiskey in the series is called Uncharted 1.
William Turton and Bryan Mengus of Gizmodo.com tried three popular brands of non-alcoholic beer. The best of the three “tasted like carbonated water with some beer flavoring thrown in”, the worst was “disgusting”.
Engineers at Heineken have discovered a way to dispense beer at high altitudes. Once the airline gets the necessary safety certificates, it will start serving in-flight draft beer.
How intense has beer trademark litigation gotten? Twelve lawyers filed challenges to Candace Moon’s application to trademark the phrase “Craft Beer Attorney”.
Finally, two IT consultants from Michigan have developed an app for beer festivals. It allows festival-goers to see what beers are available, develop a customized list, and rate the beers after tasting them.
On this day in 1977, the Apple II, one of the first personal computers, went on sale. This PC, whose original list price was more than $5,000 in 2016 dollars, remained in production until 1981.
And now…The Mash!
Serious Eats magazine is hosting the Great American Beer Brawl. Visitors to the website are invited to vote for one of seven cites—or cast a write-in vote for a city not nominated by the magazine staff.
If you’re looking for a new summer beer, or an alternative to ubiquitous hoppy IPAs, give saison a try. The style pairs well with food; and it’s complimented by summer flavors like citrus, arugula, and fresh herbs.
Global Beverage has released three high-gravity beers in honor of the video game Mortal Kombat X: Sub-Zero Imperial IPA, Raiden Imperial Saison, and Scorpion Imperial Stout.
Wal-Mart has joined the craft beer party. A brewery in New York State is contract-brewing four private-label beers for the giant retailer. They’re available in nearly half of Wal-Mart’s stores.
Grow Pittsburgh is planting hop rhizomes in the city’s vacant lots. The hops will be harvested in the fall and used to make a local beer. Part of the proceeds from the beer will be donated to the community.
The Belgian Brewers’ Association has released a set of 60 beer emojis in order to “move the classic beer mug aside” for iOS and Android users. They’re downloadable on iTunes and Google Play.
Finally, Jack Horner, the paleontologist who inspired the Jurassic Park film series, credits the Rainier Brewing Company for advancing his work with dinosaurs. In 1979, the brewery donated 100 cases of Rainier beer to Horner and his research team.
It’s March, which means it’s time for Madness. CNBC’s “Beer Label Madness”, of course. Last year’s competition was won by Newburgh Brewing Company of New York State, whose labels feature a purple cow.
Newburgh’s president, Paul Halayko, recently sat down with CNBC and offered some tips for small breweries hoping to break into beer’s big leagues:
- If you’re small, you have time to concentrate on marketing.
- Stay fresh on social media.
- Use your “network’s network”; in other words, persuade people in your social network to spread the word to their social networks.
- Cultivate your in-person following. Newburgh turned its taproom into a campaign headquarters for its label.
- Build on your relationships with local media.
- Rally your community behind your campaign.
One hundred and fifty-five years ago, Tsar Alexander II issued a proclamation that freed 23 million Russians from serfdom. The emancipated serfs gained the rights to marry without their owner’s consent, to own property, and to operate a business.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Maple Grove, Minnesota, where the owner and manager of a tavern were charged with transporting alcohol into the state for resale. That’s a felony in Minnesota.
Here are the a new video game called “Drink Beer, Neglect Family.” Players assume control of a depressed father who performs various feats of drunkenness while trying to dodge pop-up photos of his relatives.
Adam Teeter of Vinepair.com lists the nine biggest mistakes people make when buying craft beer. They include drinking nothing but IPA, and thinking that only high-gravity beers are legitimate crafts.
CNBC is once again sponsoring a Battle of the Beer Labels. The network will select 64 labels those submitted by breweries, and invite viewers to vote in a “March Madness”-style tournament.
In Montana, tavern owners and craft breweries put aside their disagreements over alcohol regulation—at least for the time being—to push a state-wide “Buy Local Beer Here” campaign.
A Wisconsin jury didn’t buy the defense offered by John Przybyla in a DUI trial: the alcohol in his system came from the beer-battered fish he’d eaten for dinner. The DUI conviction was Przybyla’s tenth.
Finally, a British marketing company mined thousands of Twitter tweets and Facebook posts for “emotional keywords”, then fed those keywords into a supercomputer that created a beer recipe which best expressed the emotions. It’s a cream ale.
On this day in 1924, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” premiered in New York at a concert titled “An Experiment in Modern Music.” Paul Whiteman and his band performed the work, with Gershwin playing the piano.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Zalec, a town in Slovenia’s hop-growing region. The city plans to spend €170,000 ($190,000) to build Europe’s first-ever “beer fountain”. For €6, visitors will be able to buy samples in a commemorative mug for three 10.5-ounce samples.
Craft beer is hard to find in Las Vegas. The reason? State laws which, until recently, allowed brewpubs only to sell directly to customers and imposed hefty license fees on brewpubs.
David Forde, a UK-based executive of the Heineken Company, thinks we should be drinking less because excessive drinking will create a backlash. Heineken’s latest ad campaign is “Moderate Drinkers Wanted”.
Some scientists believe that beer was the reason why our ancestors switched from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural existence. Beer was more nutritious than beer and, unlike water, was free of pathogens.
New Belgium Brewing Company has narrowed its list of sites for a second brewery to two: Asheville, North Carolina; and the Philadelphia area. The final decision should be made by June.
USA Today’s panel of beer experts have chosen 20 cities for its America’s “best beer scene” competition. Until February 29, you can vote for your favorite—but only once per day.
Finally, Forbes magazine’s Breanna Wilson went to the 16-room Dogfish Inn in Lewes, Delaware. The inn doesn’t sell Dogfish Head beer onsite because it wants guests to wander the town’s restaurants—one of which is Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats.
Thirty years ago today, Pete Rose, the Cincinnati Reds’ player-manager, broke Ty Cobb’s record for most career hits with his 4,192nd hit. Rose would play one more season, his 24th in Major League Baseball, before retiring.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Reno, Nevada, where restaurant owner Bill Wall won this year’s Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off. Wall says his secret to success is “just a lot of cold beers and a little bourbon.”
Texas’ alcohol regulators have ruled that bars and grocery stores can’t sell “crowlers” of beer to go. The 32-ounce containers are cans, and state law provides that only brewers can sell canned beer.
NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has built an empire selling everything from steaks to children’s clothes. Now he’s teaming up with South Loop Brewing Company to produce Witka beer, a witbier to be served in his restaurant chain.
Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, is one of Africa’s leading beer destinations. The country’s first European settlers were Germans, and the Reinheitsgebot is still honored there.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have pinpointed the origin of Saccharomyces eubayanus, aka lager yeast. In 15th century Bavaria, ale yeasts used by the monks “intermarried” with other strains and eventually created a stabilized hybrid.
Wild hops grow in Park City, Utah. The hop plants, descendants of those brought to the town by immigrants, will be used by Wasatch Brewery in a special-release beer.
Finally, why did the Kroger Company pay $26 million for 19 cases of Miller Lite beer? The answer is Ohio’s liquor code, which requires retailers to have an “agency contract” with the state. Kroger and other chains are paying top dollar to acquire those contracts from smaller stores.
Q. Who invented the term “craft beer”?
A. According to beer writer Stan Hieronymus, Vince Cottone, a beer columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, first used the phrases “craft-brewing scene,” “craft brewery,” and “craft brewing” in the manner they’re thought of today. Cottone’s readers knew what he was talking about, but it took a while for the phrase “craft beer” to establish itself.
Charlie Papazian, the founder of the Association of Brewers, first defined “craft brewery” in New Brewer magazine in 1987. Since then, the craft-brewing industry has established three criteria: small (annual production of 6 million barrels or less; independent (less than 25 percent owned by a non-craft brewer; and traditional (flavored malt beverages aren’t “beers”).
That definition didn’t exactly settle the matter. Some in the industry point out that large companies employ craftspeople to brew their beer, and that well-known craft brands are becoming increasingly industrialized. Others find the term “craft beer” rather meaningless.
There’s the even bigger debate over what “craft beer” is. The industry doesn’t define it, but recently pointed the accusing finger at several beers—Blue Moon and Shock Top in particular—as craft beer impostors.
Some enthusiasts have even higher standards. Jace Marti, the brewmaster at August Schell Brewing Company, told Hieronymus that an attendee at last year’s World Beer Cup refused to taste his beers, which had won two medals. The attendee told him, “You shouldn’t be here. It’s adjunct beer”.
On this day in 1899, Bayer AG trademarked the name “Aspirin” for its synthetic version of salicylic acid. Aspirin, an anti-inflammatory drug, is one of the world’s most widely-used medications: 40,000 metric tons are used each year.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Kentucky, which is best known for
snow bourbon. However, a lively craft beer scene has emerged. Fourteen breweries have opened in the Bluegrass State since 2011.
CNBC is bringing back its Most Loved Beer Label contest. For the next week, citizens can nominate labels. The network will reveal the finalists on March 23, and voting will wind up two weeks later.
In Malaysia, non-alcoholic beer for Muslims is unacceptable to the chief halal certifier because he objects to the word “beer” to describe the drink.
Jay Brooks has published an ale-themed parody of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. The closing lines are, “I do so love craft beer at home! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-Cala-Gione!”
CoolMaterial.com created a flowchart to guide people who can’t decide what their next beer should be. The first question is, “Are you looking to get drunk and don’t care about taste?”
Beer festivals attract people dressed as court jesters, ballerinas, superheroes, and even giant chickens. MLive.com’s John Serba offers five ridiculous, but practical costume suggestions.
Finally, Eleanor Robertson stirred up a hornets’ nest with an op-ed condemning craft beer. Robertson hates its taste, can’t stand beer snobs, and would rather talk to her friends than her beer.
RateBeer.com has ranked the world’s top 100 beers, based on users’ reviews and weighted by performance within and outside of style. Because the list is alphabetical, we don’t know which beer was number-one overall.
American beers dominated the Top 100. California put more beers on the list—22—than any other state. It was followed by Vermont, with 11, and Michigan, with eight. Five there states—Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New York, and Wisconsin—placed four or more beers on the Top 100, which is further evidence that craft beer has become a nationwide phenomenon.