Literature

Pride, Prejudice, and…Beer?

Makes sense when you think about it: when Jane Austen wasn’t writing novels that generations of raiders would cherish, she brewed beer. According to BBC magazine (hat tip: Jay Brooks), Austen learned the art of brewing as a young woman, helping her mother in the Hampshire vicarage where she grew up.

Brewing was high on the list of domestic chores in 18th-century England, and even the women of genteel families like the Austens would know how to make beer. She most likely drank it, too. Small beer was served at the Austen dining table as a safe source of drinking water for all members of the family, even the kids.

Twenty Deserving Beer Quotes

You might have noticed the “Worts of Wisdom” on the front page of our calendar. Ludwig tries hard to avoid commonplace beer quotes, like the famous quote by Ben Franklin who, by the way, probably never uttered it.

Ludwig has found a kindred soul in Martyn Cornell, who blogs at The Zythophile. Cornell recently compiled a collection of 20 beer quotes that even Ludwig hasn’t run across.

For example, there’s a good chance that you’ve read 1984, but do you remember the scene in which a now-brainwashed Winston Smith goes to the pub?

“You must have seen great changes since you were a young man,” said Winston tentatively. The old man’s pale blue eyes moved from the darts board to the bar, and from the bar to the door of the Gents….“The beer was better,” he said finally. “And cheaper! When I was a young man, mild beer–wallop we used to call it–was fourpence a pint. That was before the war, of course.”

Cornell explains that “wallop” was a 1930s slang term for mild ale, a style that Orwell was fond of. There’s plenty more in his article–enough, in fact, to get you through a pint, even if it’s stronger than the mild that Winston Smith alluded to.

The Friday Mash (No Smoking Edition)

On this day in 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released the landmark report Smoking and Health, which linked tobacco use to lung cancer and other health problems. The report led to anti-smoking efforts around the world, which probably include a ban on lighting up at your friendly local.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Bend, Oregon, where Daniel Keeton loves his dog Lola Jane so much that he brewed a beer for her. Dawg Grog is a nonalcoholic brew made with spent grains and vegetable broth.

If you haven’t disposed of your Christmas tree yet, you might want to use it to brew spruce beer. The beverage was enjoyed by the Vikings, and used by the Royal Navy to treat scurvy.

Remember that bottle of White House Honey Porter President Obama gave a coffee shop patron last fall? It fetched $1,200 at a charity auction. The winning bidders shared the brew on stage while the University of Minnesota band played “Hail to the Chief.”

It takes balls–literally–to make this beer. Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing Company has released Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which is brewed with bull testicles. Fittingly, it’s available in two-packs.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of 11,000-year-old beer brewing troughs at a cultic feasting site in Turkey. Some believe that prehistoric beer busts brought groups of people together and fueled the rise of civilization.

In 1880, Mark Twain visited the University of Heidelberg. Twain witnessed no duels, but did observe the student princes’ competition for the title of Beer King. (Hat tip: bloggers Boak and Bailey).

Finally, Boston Beer Company has resurrected New Albion Ale. The beer, which was made by craft-brewing pioneer Jack McAuliffe from 1976 to 1983, will be distributed nationwide. Proceeds will go to the now-retired McAuliffe.

The Friday Mash (Thriller Edition)

Thirty years ago today, Epic Records released Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the biggest-selling album in history. It was a pioneer in using music videos as a promotional tool, and seven singles from the album reached Billboard’s top ten. If you’re thinking, “hey, wrong Michael Jackson!”, you’re our kind of blog reader.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district, where Christian Moerlein beer will be brewed in a 19th-century brewery building. Before Prohibition, Christian Moerlein was Ohio’s largest-selling brand.

Ry Beville’s love of craft beer has developed into an occupation. Beville, a native of Virginia, publishes Japan’s only bilingual craft beer magazine, the Japan Beer Times.

John Hall is stepping down as CEO of Goose Island Beer Company, along with COO and founding member Tony Bowker. The Chicago-based brewery will continue to brew Goose Island’s “Vintage Series.”

Deb Carey, the president of New Glarus Brewing Company, was invited to the White House to discuss small business-related issues. She traded beer with the president: two bottles of her Serendipity ale for three bottles of White House Honey Ale.

Can you get a couple of sixers in Iraq? Yes, provided you find a shopkeeper who sells it “under the counter”…and leave the store before attracting attention.

Rogue Ales is rolling out a “novel” beer: White Whale Ale, made with a few pages from a copy of Moby Dick. The beer, an IPA, honors Portland, Oregon, bookseller Michael Powell.

Finally, tomorrow is Zwanze Day. Thirty-six select locations around the world–16 in the U.S.–will be pouring Cantillon Zwanze, a rhubarb lambic.

A Book and a Brew

For Paul, heaven is a good book and a good beer, together. For that reason, he was fascinated by a recent article in the New York Daily News about book-friendly establishments in New York City. The Daily News writers, Alexander Nazaryan, Karen Zraick, and Frank Santo, recommend more then ten such places. One of them, the Bridge Cafe in lower Manhattan, claims to be the oldest bar in the city. It opened as a grocery store in 1794 and later became a house of prostitution. Today, it remains a wood-frame house at the end of a street that ends at the Brooklyn Bridge on-ramp.

The Friday Mash (007 Edition)

Fifty years ago today, Dr. No debuted. The first-ever James Bond film starred Sean Connery in the role of Agent 007, and Ursula Andress as the Bond Girl. The current James Bond is British actor Daniel Craig, who played him in Skyfall, as well as in this Heineken commercial.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which has become a destination for beer travelers. It’s the home of many microbreweries, brewpubs, and bars that specialize in Michigan-brewed beer.

Does your choice of beer reveal your political leanings? A recent study suggests that it does. For instance, Heineken drinkers are Democrats, Samuel Adams drinkers Republicans.

All in a day’s work. Jadrian Klinger of Harrisburg magazine accompanied beer blogger Jeff Kupko on a day of beer tasting. Kupko, who has reviewed some 1,800 beers, explained the finer points of beer appreciation.

In Minneapolis, the Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub used a novel strategy to raise capital: free beer for life for those who invested $1,000. Most of the “members,” as they’re called, live within walking distance.

A new book by Jim Merkel got our attention. Titled “Beer, Brats and Baseball, it tells the story of how Germans shaped St. Louis.

John Steinbeck never ate at a Red Robin restaurant, but he wrote about beer milkshakes, which are now on Red Robin’s menu. They’re mentioned in Chapter 17 of his 1945 novel, Cannery Row.

Finally, “The Most Expensive Beer I Ever Had” award goes to Domagoj Vida, a Croatian soccer player. Vida was fined 100,000 euros ($130,000) after he was caught drinking a beer on the team bus en route to a match.

Gods and Monsters

American craft brewers love to rummage through mythology for names for their beer. There are brews named for Ninkasi and Osiris, Dionysius and Odin. The list of legendary creatures includes centaurs, griffins, unicorns, krakens, sirens, and the three-headed dog Cerberus, not to mention Bigfoot and Yeti.

Why do so many beers have such names? Philadelphia Weekly’s Eric San Juan offers a partial explanation: “From Egyptian gods to hidden beasts seen only in fleeting glimpses, we attach a level of EPIC to our brews that no other beverage can match. The idea of Odin’s Beard coffee or Serpent’s Tail orange juice would strike us as silly, but when it comes to beer, it just seems natural.” San Juan adds: “beerlike beverages go back at least 9,000 years, predating recorded human history. In a sense, they have been with us for as long as there has been an ‘us’.”

The Beer Before Christmas

Jay Brooks, who blogs at the Brookston Beer Bulletin, took a great amount of poetic license with “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” He offers a beer-flavored version of the 1823 classic. Enjoy!

Drinking With Literary Lions

Maybe you can’t write like J.R.R. Tolkien, but you can quaff a pint in the establishment where he drew his inspiration. The haunts of Tolkien and many other literary lions (Ludwig insisted on that figure of speech) are collected in a slide show compiled by Megan Cytron of Salon.com. In all, there are 13 literary watering holes from nine countries, and they’ve attracted a long and distinguished list of literary characters.

Rheingold Beer…in Egypt?

Once upon a time, Rheingold was one of New York City’s mainstay beers, along with Ballantine and Schaefer. An entire generation of Mets fans can recite, from the deep recesses of their memory, the jingle that begins “My beer is Rheingold, the dry beer…”

Which brings up this question: what on Earth was Rheingold beer doing in North Africa during Rommel’s sweep through the desert during World War II? Pete Brown explains: it was the tipple of moderation for Captain George Anson, the alcoholic hero of Christopher Landon’s novel Ice Cold in Alex.

“Alex” stands for Alexandria, Egypt, where for some reason, one of the local bars served Rheingold. But first, Anson had to get himself and three other people into town before the Germans caught them. They made it to Alex and earned their beery reward–sorry to spoil the ending–but Landon’s description of the bar scene was later adapted into what Brown calls “possibly the most iconic beer drinking shot in the whole history of cinema.” Which you can see for yourself on Pete’s blog entry.

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