On this day in 1938, the hallucinogenic drug LSD was first synthesized in Europe. It entered popular culture in the 1960s when Timothy Leary promoted its use, and author Tom Wolfe documented the adventures of Ken Kesey and his acid-dropping band of Merry Pranksters.
Ludwig recommends avoiding this drug and sticking to beer.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Fredericksburg, Texas, where Lee Hereford raised $2 million for his Pedernales Brewing Company by visiting would-be investors’ homes armed with a prospectus and samples of his beer.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. If you haven’t decided how to cook your turkey, homebrew chef Sean Z. Paxton has a recipe for “Tipsy Turkey”. You’ll need a good holiday ale for the beer brine.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, the beer brewed by Plymouth Colony Pilgrims might have offended craft beer purists because the grain bill included corn. With good reason: local barley crop often failed.
Canadian beer writer Jordan St. John toured Boston Beer Company’s Jamaica Plain facility, with none other than company founder Jim Koch leading the tour. St. John learned why sour beer and balsamic vinegar are similar.
About ten years ago, someone decided to dress up the gardens of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium by planting hop bines. Now, dry hops from those bines will be used by Revolution Brewing, a local micro.
Next year, Anheuser-Busch InBev will roll out Budweiser Black Crown, which it describes as a “golden amber lager.” It will carry a 6% ABV alcoholic punch.
Finally, Ludwig would like to introduce Wojtek, a brown bear that fought alongside Polish soldiers during World War II. Adopted as a cub by artillerymen serving in Iran, the bear drank two bottles of beer a day.
On this day in 1940, The Wild Hare, a Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies production, was released. The eight-minute cartoon, which was nominated for an Academy Award, depicted Elmer Fudd pursuing the much smarter Bugs Bunny.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in London, Ontario, whose minor-league baseball team, the Rippers, folded after being refused permission to sell beer. Ironically, the Rippers played their home games at Labatt Park.
While much of America is suffering from drought, torrential rains in northern Europe have slowed the maturation of grain crops. The forecast is for higher grain prices and, ultimately, more expensive beer.
The iconic “R” sign, placed atop Rainier Brewing’s Seattle brewery in 1953, will be re-lit at the Museum of History and Industry. The brand’s owners are also bringing back the Grazing Rainiers, those mythical beer bottles with legs.
Jim Galligan, drinks correspondent for MSNBC.com, offers five reasons why you should brew your own beer.
The brewery staff at Budweiser has been experimenting with small-batch beers. Once they dedide on which three of the original 12 beers are the best, they’ll package them in special six-packs to be sold at retail this fall.
The Travel Channel serves up its list of top seven beer destinations. Instead of the usual suspects, their picks are up-and-coming places you might not have thought about.
Finally, the Bad Training Regimen Award goes to Tyler Bray, a quarterback at the University of Tennessee. Bray decided to limber up his throwing arm by lobbing beer bottles at parked cars.
On this day in 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, commonly known as the G.I. Bill. Some 2.2 million veterans took advantage of the law’s best-known benefit: financial aid for those who wanted to go to college. It covered tuition and living expenses…but alas, not beer.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers are debating an overhaul of its quirky liquor laws. The proposed changes include scrapping the infamous “case law”, which requires customers to buy at least 24 beers per transaction.
Last year, Anheuser-Busch InBev trademarked a number of area codes, presumably for regional versions of 312 Urban Wheat Ale. Now it has applied for marks for more than 40 three-letter symbols for American airports. Critics ask: are ZIP codes next?
In Quingdao, China, drinking and driving definitely don’t mix. IndyCar officials have canceled a race to be held there in August because it would conflict with the International Beer Festival.
Roy Desrochers holds down an enviable job: he’s worked as a professional beer taster for more than 30 years. Desrochers says it takes more time to gain beer-tasting certification than it does to earn a doctorate.
Tyler Hansbrough of the Indiana Pacers is known around the NBA as a “character.” He added to that reputation by chugging a 40-ouncer at a bar. The 40 was inside a brown paper bag.
A consumer research firm in Washington State ran the numbers and figured out who drinks microbrews. Males, those with college diplomas, sports fans, and Westerners are most likely.
Finally, a tree grows in Brooklyn, but hops are growing in the Bronx. The Bronx Brewery has teamed up with the New York Botanical Garden and community gardens to grow them in the borough.
Like the brewing industry a generation ago, the malting industry is dominated by a few large companies. But that is beginning to change. A number of small maltsters, including Massachuetts-based Valley Malt, have opened in recent years.
Getting started has not been easy. The big breweries have been highly protective of their malting process, forcing malt entrepreneurs to track down former brewery employees, plow through obscure instructional materials, or learn the process by trial and error. Slowly but surely, however, the micro-maltsters are reviving an industry that all but disappeared during Prohibition.
Something to think about as the 2012 election season heats up. A team of archaeologists at Simon Fraser University in Canada argue that 15,000 years ago, the Natufians, a people who lived in the eastern Mediterranean, gave up their hunter-gatherer ways for farming because of beer. According to team leader Brian Hayden, the Natufians went to great lengths to stockpile excess grains; and they left behind grinding equipment, boiling stones, and other items needed for brewing.
Hayden also contends that if the Natufians brewed beer, they also took part in some of the earliest feasts in human history. He goes on to say that feasts were political occasions:
By throwing a good party, ambitious individuals could cultivate alliances with potential defense partners, seal beneficial marriage deals and rise to prominence within burgeoning communities. Their guests’ newfound sense of group togetherness fostered competition and created systems for making loans, paying debts and adhering to rules.
Scholars have yet to discover when the first beer-soaked Election Night party took place. Give them time.
Two hundred years ago this month, King Maximillian I of Bavaria decreed that farmers could legally sell beer from June until September. That ruling settled a long-simmering dispute between farmers and innkeepers but, more importantly, it made possible the beloved Bavarian institution of the beer garden.
The king also permitted farmers to serve bread as well as beer, but barred them from serving any other food. That part of the decree led to the custom–which survives to this day–of people bringing their own food into beer gardens. It’s not unusual to see people bringing picnic baskets filled with food (complete with Bavarian blue and white tablecloths) and make a day of it. Bavarians believe that the beer garden serves an important social function. They’re right; today, as in the past, it is a place where families from all walks of life can spend the day together.
On this day in 1773, a group of colonists called the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships and threw their cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. The Sons of Liberty were led by none other than Samuel Adams, whose smiling face nowadays adorns millions of bottles of ale and lager.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Quebec, where a number of breweries have gotten into barrel-aged beer. Some of their best, and strongest, offerings are now available for Christmas celebrations and gift-giving.
Need something to do on Sunday? Deborah Braconnier of Yahoo! Sports, who calls herself a life-long Denver Broncos fan, proposes a Tim Tebow drinking game.
The Pacific Northwest supplies most American-grown hops, but entrepreneurs elsewhere in the country, like Jeff and Bonnie Steinman of Plainwell, Michigan, are growing their own.
Cigar City Brewing decided not to use Winston Churchill on the label of its barleywine, even though it could legally do so in Florida, because the British statesman’s descendants objected.
Which craft brewery had the most creative packaging this year? Brian Stechschulte of All Over Beer, says it’s the 21st Amendment Brewery, whose four-packs for Allies Win the War look like a newspaper from 1945.
Will the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company open a second brewery in North Carolina? The brewery isn’t saying, but local media report that it’s meeting with local officials.
Finally, if you need an excuse to bring home some beer, the Beer Mapping Project has declared tomorrow National Growler Day.
Most of the hops found in the beer you drink are grown in the Northwest. In fact, a number of festivals in that region are dedicated to fresh-hop beer. Portland-based Jeff Alworth, who blogs at Beervana, has put together a hops cheat sheet covering more than 20 varieties. For each variety, you’ll find both its history and its flavor and aroma profile. Ludwig recommends that you bookmark this post, even if you don’t brew your own beer.
A recent Jay Brooks column in the San Jose Mercury News explored how the culture of hoppy beer evolved. He offers some fun facts about hops that you might not have known. For instance, the first hops in the New World were planted in Massachusetts and harvested in 1791. New York State’s one-flourishing hops industry was devastated by an attack of aphids. California was next to fall victim, thanks to Prohibition. And by the 1970s, only five common varieties were grown in the U.S. Today, that number is around 50–and that’s just the popular varieties.
On this day in 1861, the U.S. government levied the first-ever income tax to fund the Union effort in the Civil War. A year later, the government imposed another war tax: a “temporary” tax on beer. Temporary? Almost a century and a half later, the federal beer tax is still with us.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Toronto, where beer is taxed even more heavily than in the States. It’s also the home of Bellwoods Brewery, whose owners talked their neighbors into growing hops in exchange for free beer.
Did Ben Franklin really say that “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”? No, says Charlie Papazian, who tells us what Franklin really said.
Earlier this year, TheStreet.Com featured ten of America’s best craft beer vacations. After getting an earful from the places left out, TheStreet has added five more destinations, all of them states.
White Sox slugger Frank Thomas was called “The Big Hurt” for good reason: he hit 521 home runs. Now retired, he’s lending his name to Big Hurt Beer, a lager with 7 percent ABV clout.
Budweiser is losing market share among humans, but Kathryn Olmstead, a writer in Maine, discovered that garden slugs prefer it by a 2-to-1 margin over Corona and Molson.
To get you through one of the hottest summers ever, Heineken has a double-walled beer mug that can cool your beer in five minutes.
Finally, an item that got Ludwig excited. He found a a taxonomic classification of over 600 beers with mammals on their labels. It’s organized by animal, just like in biology class.