Beer at the Andechs Monastery

Nowadays, few visitors to Andechs Monastery in Bavaria are pilgrims. Most are there to tour the medieval building and, more importantly, to enjoy the beer brewed there by the monks. On any given day, visitors consume thousands of liters of beer, not to mention large quantities of pork knuckles and sausage.

Between the Catholic feasts of St. Martin (November 11) and St. Joseph (March 19), the monks release a special winter beer. The only place where one can buy it is at the monastery. Unlike the winter warmers served in American establishments, Andechs’ winter beer is mild in both flavor and alcoholic content (about 4 percent ABV).

The monks brew around 85,000 barrels per year; and despite modern technology, they adhere to Bavaria’s Beer Purity Law. The beer is distributed throughout Germany and abroad, and is the monastery’s number-one source of revenue.

Best Cities for Beer Drinkers

What is America’s best beer city? SmartAsset.com compiled a list based on five criteria: total number of microbreweries and brewpubs; number of micros and brewpubs per capita; the breweries’ average Yelp score; number of bars per capita; and the average price of a pint of draft beer.

The number-one city—Portland—is somewhat surprising because it’s the one in Maine. What tipped the scales in favor of the “other Portland” was its brewery density: one for every 3,882 residents. Rounding out the top ten: Asheville; Portland, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Denver; Seattle; Wilmington, North Carolina; Missoula, Montana; Pittsburgh; and Cincinnati.

Blair Schiff of KUSA-TV in Denver suggested the the most beer-friendly cities have gloomy weather. However, that doesn’t explain why the Mile High City ranks fifth despite having 300 sunny days per year.

The Wednesday Mash (Countdown to Christmas Edition)

Ludwig is on Christmas break, and won’t be back until January 4. Maryanne and Paul will be filling in for him. In the meantime, Ludwig left a plate of cookies, his heartiest Season’s Greetings, and an early version of…

The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Patti Wetli of DNAInfo.com takes us back to the Great Chicago Beer Riot of 1855. Hundreds of armed Germans stormed the city’s courthouse to protest the enforcement of liquor laws they considered anti-immigrant.

Queen City Q, a Charlotte-based chain of barbecue restaurants, has taken Anheuser-Busch products off the menu in protest of A-B’s allegedly pressuring distributors to stop handling craft beer.

Long Island’s Barrage Brewing Company has released two beers for Seinfield fans. They’re infused with Snickers and chocolate babka, foods that starred in the sitcom.

In Montreal, some cab drivers are competing with Uber by selling beer and cigarettes to passengers. Those sales are illegal, but the cabbies argue that Uber’s business model is illegal, too.

TravelPulse.com has compiled a scorecard of major U.S. airlines’ craft beer selections. Alaska and Delta Airlines lead the pack, Spirit Airlines ranked last, and Southwest Airlines showed the biggest improvement.

A federal appeals court has upheld an Indiana law that requires convenience stores to sell beer at room temperature. Liquor stores, which bar under-21s from entering, are allowed to sell cold beer.

Finally, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Beer Camp will return next year. The first stop on this six-city national tour will be Tampa on June 4. Sierra Nevada and 30 regional breweries will also brew a series of collaborative 12-packs.

The Friday Mash (Jam Session Edition)

On this day in 1956, The Million Dollar Quartet—Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash—got together at Sun Studio in Memphis. Years later, tracks from of this impromptu jam session were released as albums in the UK and, later, in the U.S.

And now…The Mash! 

We begin in London, Ontario, where Lewis Kent has become the first Beer Miler competitor to turn pro. The 22-year-old University of Western Ontario student signed a deal with Brooks, a shoe company.

Good news for Star Trek fans. Shmaltz Brewery is releasing the latest beer in the officially-licensed Vulcan Ale series. It’s a red session IPA called The Genesis Effect, and unlike Romulan Ale, it’s legal.

Stung by feminists’ reaction to Bud Light’s #UpForWhatever ad campaign, Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to air woman-friendly spots for its beer during next year’s Super Bowl.

George Washington loved his beer—porter, in particular, and occasionally brewed his own. A notebook Washington kept while he was a 25-year-old officer in the Virginia militia contains a recipe for “small beer”.

Journalist Dina Mishev got over her aversion to beer, at least for the time being, after hitting the Bend Ale Trail. The Trail has 16 breweries, all within walking or biking distance from one another.

In Milwaukee, Pabst Brewing Company’s 126-year-old bottling plant is being converted into apartments for college students. Unfortunately, the amenities won’t include free Blue Ribbon.

Finally, Dogfish Head Brewery claims the distinction of having brewed the hoppiest beer on record. Hoo Lawd, an India pale ale, checks in at 658 International Bittering Units. Most IPAs fall in the 40-60 IBU range.

The Friday Mash (One Whale Of An Edition)

On this day in 1820, in the South Pacific, an 80-ton whale attacked the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick–admit it, you read the Cliff’s Notes for that title-is in part inspired by this story.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Leeds, where two men refused to let a rainstorm, or the flooding from that storm, stop them from enjoying a pint in a pub’s beer garden. Their Sunday roast, however, was rained out.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione has been named executive editor of Pallet, a quarterly magazine aimed at people who “like to think and drink.” Pallet’s subtitle is “Only interested in everything.”

Historians have concluded that the Pilgrims didn’t have beer at the original Thanksgiving feast. That, however, shouldn’t stop you from serving beer with your Turkey Day dinner.

Louisville plans to revive a tradition from more than a century ago: a party to celebrate the release of bock beer. The NuLu Bock Beer Festival will take place next spring.

A beer garden made from shipping containers? It’s coming to the port city of Long Beach, California. Called SteelCraft, it will feature beer from Smog City and other local micros, along with gourmet food.

Samuel Adams Utopias, an ultra-high-gravity (28 percent ABV), and ultra-expensive (suggested retail price: $199) beer is back. The current batch, the ninth brewed since 2002, contains previous vintages going back to 1992.

Finally, Sadie Snyder, a Massachusetts woman who celebrated her 106th birthday, credits beer for her longevity. She had her first beer at age six thanks to her father, who worked in the beer industry.

The Friday Mash (College Football Edition)

On this day in 1869, host Rutgers College defeated the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University), 6-4, in the first-ever intercollegiate football game. How much beer was consumed before and after the game is lost to history.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Richmond, Virginia, which is floating $23 million in bonds to finance the construction of a second plant for Stone Brewing Company.

Pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who chugs cans of beer in the ring, has teamed up with El Segundo Brewing Company. The new beer is called Broken Skull IPA.

A start-up company in Belfast has invented a a beer-making machine called the BrewBot, which takes care of temperature and liquid pumping on its own.

Statistician Dr. Nathan Yau, using the website Flowing Data, figured out the most efficient route for taking a beer-tasting road trip around the continental U.S. The itinerary is 12,299 miles long.

Cara, a Canadian beer bar chain, has rescinded a dress code that forced Bier Markt’s female servers to wear revealing dresses. Some believe Cara was violating Ontario’s civil-rights laws.

South Korea’s exports in general have fallen but its beer exports are strong, partly because Iraqi Kurds and young Chinese drinkers prefer a beverage with a lower alcoholic content.

Finally, struggling presidential candidate Lindsey Graham flubbed his stint tending bar before taking part in a debate in Colorado. Graham, whose father tended bar, served up a pint with 15 ounces of foam.

The Friday Mash (Gangland Edition)

Eighty years ago today, organized crime kingpin Dutch Schultz and three other men were fatally shot at a saloon in Newark, New Jersey, in what became known as “The Chophouse Massacre.”

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in England, where Cheltenham Racecourse has teamed up with Arkell’s Brewery to brew a beer honoring a famous racehorse named Arkle, whose daily diet included two bottles of Guinness.

This fall, Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Foolproof Brewing Company is bucking the trend by adding peanut butter to its Raincloud Robust Porter. It’s “as far as you can get” from pumpkin ale.

Niraj Dawar and Charan K. Bagga have put together a graph that illustrates the branding power of the combined Anheuser-Busch-InBev SAB Miller mega-brewing company.

Congressman Peter DeFazio offers yet another reason to drink American craft beer. The Oregon Democrat contends that buying local craft products helps reduce the nation’s balance-of-trade deficit.

“No forests, no beer”, says Matt Miller of the Nature Conservancy. Forests are the home of headwaters streams, where most of the nation’s water supply originates.

Beer, always been a part of Cincinnati’s culture, has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. Garin Pirnia of Paste magazine offers a comprehensive beer traveler’s guide to the Queen City.

Finally, the Kansas City Chiefs will reward 800 season-ticket holders who are flying to London to see their team play Detroit on November 1. The Chiefs have rented a pub, and will serve free beer Friday afternoon.

The Friday Mash (1,500th Blog Post Edition)

We aren’t beginning the Mash with a historical reference because we’re too busy celebrating a milestone. Today’s Mash is the 1,500th post on “Ludwig Roars.” Now excuse us while we refill our pint glasses.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in the West Bank, where the Taybeh Brewery hosted its 11th annual Oktoberfest. The brewery poured a non-alcoholic beer for festival-goers from neighboring Muslim towns.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s planned takeover of SAB Miller has advertising agencies worried. Less competition could mean less advertising. That, in turn, could affect the sports industry’s bottom lilne.

A 3,800-year-old poem honoring Ninkasi is also a recipe for Sumerian beer. Brewers have replicated the beer, which tastes like dry apple cider and has a modest 3.5 percent ABV.

Organizers of the Skanderborg Music Festival in Denmark have found an alternative to sleeping in hot tents: giant beer cans that offer a bed with pillows, shelving, a fan, and other amenities.

Jake Anderson, a goalie for the University of Virginia hockey team, was given five-minute major penalty and ejected from the game after chugging a can of Keystone Lite during the second intermission.

Québécois travel writer Caitlin Stall-Paquet takes us a beer-focused road trip through Gaspésie and the Bas-Saint-Laurent. The attractions also include museums, cathedrals, and rock formations.

Finally, Portland beer writer Jeff Alworth, who spent two years traveling and tasting beers, has written The Beer Bible. The 656-page book is accessible, but at the same time, an in-depth exploration of the heritage behind the beers we drink today.

Good Beer Comes to The Big Easy

The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has inspired a spate of stories about New Orleans’ revival. One story, by Nora McGunnigle, describes how her hometown has finally developed a taste for craft beer.

There are multiple theories as to why craft beer got off to such a slow start, including stringent zoning restrictions, inconsistent state regulations, and, especially, the perception that beer was just a thirst-quencher. What reversed that trend was food, which Louisiana is famous for. People have discovered that good beer not only has flavor, but also pairs well with the local cuisine.

In the ten years since the storm, breweries have opened across southern Louisiana. NOLA Brewing was the first production brewery to open in New Orleans proper after the storm. The second, Courtyard Brewing, opened last year. Meanwhile, the city’s beer bars have discovered that there’s a demand for good beer, and its restaurants have started to offer beer-friendly menus.

The Secret of Westvleteren’s Success

It was something that the monks at The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren, Belgium, had never expected. About ten years ago, RateBeer.com named their dark, quadrupel-style ale, “12”, the best beer in the world. Demand for the beer skyrocketed, and that created a problem for the monks. They brewed beer, but strictly to cover the expenses of running the abbey. They weren’t in the brewing business, and had no intention of doing so.

Westvleteren 12 is still highly regarded—it currently ranks second on RateBeer.com—and it remains hard to find. Annual production is just under 4,000 barrels. The beer’s scarcity is a major factor in its appeal. Not only is it rare, but there are only two places to get it legally: at the abbey’s cafe, or at the abbey’s drive-through pick-up gate, provided you’ve made a reservation at least 60 days in advance—and good luck getting through. The only practical way to get to the abbey is to rent a car; it’s a 90-minute drive, provided you don’t get lost on the country roads leading to it.

A case of Westvleteren 12 sells for 40 euros (about $45), or less than $2 a bottle. Some customers resell it on the black market, and get $50 or more per bottle. The monks discourage this practice, and RateBeer.com polices its user forums and shuts down illicit sales.

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