America’s Top Beer Cities

This “Top” list is a cut above the ubiquitous Internet slideshow article. Thrillist’s Andy Kryza has drawn up a list of America’s top 16 beer cities. For each city, Kryza gives a short description, along with its major breweries, beer bars, and “tradition.”

For the record, the top five are Portland (Oregon, that is; its Maine namesake ranks 14th); San Diego; Denver; Seattle; and Chicago.

Paul’s favorite line: “Like a breakdown of Jimmer Fredette’s college stats, it’s impossible to NOT talk about Asheville’s size in a conversation about its beer scene.” He loves obscure sports analogies.

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The Friday Mash (Pac-Man Edition)

Thirty-five years ago today, Namco released the classic arcade game Pac-Man, which became a staple of 1980s popular culture. Over the years, Pac-Man machines have gobbled up some 10 billion quarters, making it one of the highest-grossing video games of all time.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in the Atacama Desert in Chile, where the Atrapaneblina brewery relies on water collected from fog nets to make its Scottish ale. The brewery’s name is Spanish for “fog-catcher.”

Better late than never for this article. John Hendrickson of Esquire magazine had an interesting interview with Blue Moon brewmaster John Legnard at this years South by Southwest.

With summer just around the corner, Meghan Storey of CraftBeer.com has assembled a slideshow of the best seasonal beers in your part of the country.

Yet another reason to consider San Diego for a beer vacation: craft breweries are opening south of the border in Tijuana.

Kalamazoo has so many breweries that the city and a tour company have teamed up to offer downtown craft beer walking tours.

Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com says that beer ads are becoming less sexist. SABMiller and Heineken want to broaden their appeal beyond young men getting sloshed on Saturday night.

Finally, the shape of your glass can influence whether you wind up having too many. Straight glasses and those with the amounts marked are less conducive to over-indulging than curved and unmarked glasses.

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The Friday Mash (Coke No Pepsi Edition)

On this day in 1886, pharmacist John Pemberton first sold a carbonated beverage named “Coca-Cola” as a patent medicine. Pemberton, a wounded Confederate veteran who became addicted to morphine, developed the beverage as a non-opium alternative.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Rochester, New York, where North American Breweries is putting Genesee beer, Genesee Cream Ale, and Genesee Ice in retro bottles. The packaging hearkens back to the 1960s, the heyday of the “Genny” brand.

Sad news from North Carolina. Dustin Canestorp, a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps, has closed his Beer Army Combat Brewery. He blames state franchise laws that effectively tie a brewery to a distributor for life.

Executives of the nation’s big breweries are getting worried about the amount of discounting going on. The beers you’re most likely to find on sale include Bud Light, Budweiser, and Shock Top.

Craft beer has been susceptible to “the next big thing” mentality. According to Allen Park of Paste magazine, trends that “have more than overstayed their welcome” include waxing bottles, session IPAs, and adjuncts.

Craft brewers are scrambling to comply with a little-known provision of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” which requires breweries and restaurants to disclose nutritional information, including the caloric content of their beers.

City officials aim to make Toronto the world’s craft beer capital. Measures include creating a craft brewery culinary trail and lowering regulatory barriers to brewery start-ups.

Finally, a growing number of craft breweries are making their recipes available to the public. Some, such as Russian River Brewing Company and Rogue Ales, are working with supply shops to develop kits for homebrewed versions of their beers.

The Friday Mash (Diet of Worms Edition)

No, this isn’t an episode of Bizarre Foods. The Diet of Worms was an assembly that, on this day in 1521, put Martin Luther on trial for heresy. After the trial, a supporter offered Luther a silver tankard of Eimbeck beer, which he gratefully drank.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Durham, North Carolina, whose minor-league stadium, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, will soon have a brewery. Fans will be able to buy beer and watch the brewing process.

Delaware’s liquor store owners are worried about losing business if Pennsylvania loosens its restrictions on beer sales. As it is, the Keystone State offers a wider selection of beer.

Carlsberg Breweries, which is known for offbeat advertising campaigns, put up a giant beer-dispensing billboard in London’s Brick Lane. Stay tuned: the brewery is planning more promotions.

Despite heavy taxation and domination of the market by the Singha-Chang duopoly, craft beer is making inroads in Thailand. However, home brewing is still against the law.

Sexist marketing isn’t just an American phenomenon. A Japanese brewery has it marketing a beer called Precious to women. It contains two grams of collagen, a protein that makes skin look younger.

If your beer is boring, a company called Hop Theory is here to help with flavor-enhancing teabags. Their first product, Relativity, contains orange peel, coriander, and Cascade hops.

Finally, Tricia Gilbride of Mashable.com picks the best beers to drink in the shower. She prefers IPAs because “it makes sense to select a hoppy beer when you hop in the shower.”

Time Out for Trivia

The staff of Mental Floss magazine have sifted through the Brewers Association’s sales figures for craft breweries, and identified the largest craft brewery in each state. Some of them are obvious—Boulevard is Missouri’s largest, for example—but others provide good material for bar trivia. Can you guess the largest brewery in these five states?
(a) Arkansas.
(b) Connecticut.
(c) Iowa.
(d) Nevada.
(e) Rhode Island.

Time’s up. The answers are (a) Core Brewing Company, (b) Two Roads, (c) Backpocket Brewing, (d) Ellis Island Casino & Brewery, and (e) Trinity Brewhouse.

The Friday Mash (Typhoid Mary Edition)

A century ago today, a cook named Mary Mallon, better known as “Typhoid Mary,” was put in quarantine after infecting more than 50 people with the disease. She would remain in quarantine until her death in 1938.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in space—well, sort of. Ninkasi Brewing Company has released Ground Control Imperial Stout, brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise, cocoa nibs, and yeast that was launched by a rocket to an altitude of more than 77 miles.

Beer and driving usually don’t mix, but here’s an exception: The Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham, England, has fashioned “The Beer Engine,” a motorcycle whose sidecar is a beer keg, complete with spigot.

Madison, Wisconsin, entrepreneur Kimberly Clark Anderson has found success making beer jelly. She recommends it as a topping for a variety of foods, from pork chops to pound cake to toast.

Nostalgic “retro” beers aren’t just an American phenomenon. On May 1, United Dutch Brewers will re-introduce Oranjeboom beer, a brand that was taken off the market a decade ago.

In South Carolina, beer tourism is becoming big business. Proximity to brewery-rich Asheville, and brewery-friendly state laws are the main reasons why.

Consumer prices are actually falling in Europe, including including the price of local beer. That’s especially good news for American tourists, as the U.S. dollar is at a 12-year high against the euro.

Finally, “Florida Man,” a less-than-complimentary description of Sunshine State males who behave bizarrely in public, is the name of a new double IPA from Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Company. The beer might have a built-in market: over 250,000 people follow #Floridaman’s Twitter feed.

Pennsylvania Eases the Dreaded “Case Rule”

Beer lovers who live in Pennsylvania, or who pass through it, are aware of the dreaded “Case Rule.” Most of the beer sold in the Keystone State is sold by “distributors” who, by law, can’t sell you less than 24 bottles or cans–a big problem if you want to sample the local micro products. Six- and 12-packs are available at bars and delis, but some establishments have been known to charge sky-high prices.

That’s about to change, at least a little. The Liquor Control Board has issued an advisory opinion that allows distributors to sell “original containers” with 128 or more ounces of beer. In plain English, that means 12-packs. It’s a step in the right direction.

The Friday Mash (Aspirin Edition)

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.

The Friday Mash (Dating Game Edition)

Seventy-five years ago today, Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14, a radioactive isotope. It’s the basis of the radio-carbon dating method that determines an object’s age. However, bartenders still have to use ID cards to determine the age of their customers.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Barlioche, a Patagonian resort town that has become the craft beer capital of the Andes. It’s home to 15 breweries, which join forces for a beer festival in December.

Last weekend, more than 100 people played whiffle ball in the snow in a Milwaukee-area park. Leinenkugel Brewing Company hosted the tournament to promote its Summer Shandy.

Experts aren’t sure why this happens, but recipients spend more on beer when food stamps are distributed on the weekend—even though the stamps can’t be used to buy beer.

The Brew Kettle, a Cleveland-area brewery, is rolling out an ale for Cavaliers basketball fans. “All For One” session IPA will be available at the brewery and at Cavs’ home games.

Hellboy, the character created by comic-book artist Mike Mignola, turned 21, and Rogue Ales celebrated his big birthday by releasing Hand of Doom Red Ale. It sold out in a hurry.

This month’s “Session” asked beer bloggers the question “Festivals: Geek Gathering or Beer Dissemination?” Joan Villar-i-Martí, who blogs from Barcelona, has rounded up the best responses.

Finally, thousands of whiskey barrels have found their way to craft breweries. Now, Heavy Seas Brewing Company has returned the favor, sending its brewhouse tanks to a distillery.

The Friday Mash (Boys Town Edition)

On this day in 1917, Father Edward Flanagan, a Catholic priest in Omaha, opened a home for wayward boys. That home is now a National Historic Landmark; and Boys Town’s slogan, “He ain’t heavy, mister–he’s my brother,” has become part of our popular culture.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Austin, Texas, where Lance Armstrong quit after one lap during qualifying for the inaugural Beer Mile Championship. Armstrong said he’ll never again run a Beer Mile.

Dave Lieberman of OCWeekly.com got a sales pitch for the “Sonic Foamer,” which creates a 5-millimeter head on your pint of beer. He doesn’t seem the least bit impressed with the product.

Oktoberfest tops the list of Germany’s beer festivals, but it’s not the only one. EscapeHere.com runs down the country’s top ten, some of which are hundreds of years old.

A sealed bottle of Samuel Alsopp’s Arctic Ale sold for $503,300 on eBay. It’s considered the world’s rarest bottle of beer because the the original seller misspelled the name “Allsop’s”.

The Sriracha craze has spread to beer. This month, Rogue Ales will release a limited-edition Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout Beer. Suggested pairings include soup, pasta, pizza, and chow mein.

Last weekend, MillerCoors LLC teamed up with a start-up called Drizly, and offered free home delivery of Miller Lite to customers in four cities.

Finally, David Kluft of JDSupra Business Advisor reviews this year’s beer trademark disputes. Maybe these cases will inspire someone to host a Disputed Beer Festival next year.

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