A casual acquaintance with “Dr. Paul Matthews IPA” led writer Russell Shorto to the doctor himself. The man whose brewery made that ale called Matthews “Lord of the Hops”. However, Matthew describes himself more modestly: “I’m a plant engineer and evolutionary biologist.”
Matthews is the senior research scientist at Hopsteiner, a major hops trader and processor in Washington State’s Yakima Valley. Hopsteiner is a beneficiary of America’s IPA boom. It has ratcheted up demand for hops but, on the other hand, has kept hops suppliers scrambling to meet changing tastes. And that has kept Matthews—pun intended—hopping around the world in search of new varieties.
Matthews has gone to out-of-the-way places such as Arizona’s Sky Islands, surrounded by miles of desert; and the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where for years people have used wild hops to cure their breads and as a folk medicine.
Even though the hop plant is closely related to the cannabis plant, Matthews isn’t interested in psychoactive beer. But, he says, others are looking into it.
On this day in 1889, the first edition of the Wall Street Journal was published. With a total of 2.4 million print and digital subscribers, the Journal is the largest newspaper in the United States by circulation.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in the Bay Area, where David Kravets of Ars Technica magazine reviews Heineken’s new “Brewlock” technology. Brewlock consists of a rubbery bladder that holds the beer inside a plastic centrifuge. Compressed air pumped into the centrifuge forces out the beer before air can mix with it.
In Ephraim, Wisconsin, beer is legal for the first time since 1853, when it was founded by Norwegian Moravians. Efforts to overturn the beer ban failed in 1934 and 1992.
The mayor of Zaragoza, Mexico, says there’s no water for consumption by its residents. He blames Constellation Brands’ brewery, which uses the water to brew Corona and brands of beer.
A Microsoft recruiter messaged a “bae intern”, inviting him or her to an Internapalooza after-party with “noms”, “dranks”, and “Yammer beer pong tables”. A company spokesperson called the message “poorly worded”.
The “world’s oldest payslip,” which dates back 5,000 years, reveals that some laborers in ancient Mesopotamia opted to be paid in beer for their work.
After Wales made it to the semifinals of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, Budweiser celebrated the team’s success by treating every Welsh adult to a beer.
Finally, Matt Cunningham is growing hops and barley on his farm, a big step toward a beer brewed with all Ohio ingredients. Sounds perfect for Ohio State football games, where beer will be sold stadium-wide this fall.
If you’re a fan of India pale ale, you can thank your medieval ancestors for introducing hops to brewing. The Greeks dismissed hops as a wild plant, and the Romans used them as an herb and a form of natural medicine. Both ancient cultures also regarded beer as the beverage of choice of barbarians.
It wasn’t until the eighth century that hops were used in brewing. During the reign of Pepin the Short, Charlemagne’s father, the king gave humlonariae—hop gardens, probably—to the abbey of St. Denis. The monks likely used the hops to flavor their beer, and in the process discovered that they were a preservative as well.
Still, it took centuries more for hops to become a standard ingredient in beer. The abbess Saint Hildegard of Bingen mentioned their use in beer and for medicinal purposes in the 12th century, indicating that their benefits were quite known by the High Middle Ages. In 1380, the archbishop of Cologne outlawed hopped beers from Westphalia in an effort to promote the use of his own gruit in brews. A century and a half later, King Henry VIII also tried to ban hops in order to maintain the standard of “Good old English ale.”
Today, almost all beer is hopped, but the debate is hardly over. Some members of the craft beer community have begun to rebel against highly-hopped ales.
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.
One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, at high noon, thousands of people took part in the Oklahoma Land Rush. Within hours, Oklahoma City and Guthrie had instant populations of 10,000.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Tumwater, Washington, once the home of Olympia Brewing Company. Today, it’s the home of a cluster of legal marijuana growers and processors—including one of the state’s largest.
Peru’s Cerveza San Juan beer brand has replaced the roaring jaguar with barnyard animals on its cans. The reason? The brewery is calling attention to the big cat’s endangered status.
Officials have reinstated beer at the University of Missouri’s “Tiger Prowl”, where graduating seniors eat barbecue, get free merchandise, and get ready to say goodbye to their classmates.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired its eighth craft brewery, Devil’s Backbone of Roseland, Virginia. Established in 2008, Devil’s Backbone has won multiple Great American Beer Festival medals.
The Vietnamese love beer, and craft brewers have begun to enter the market. One new craft is the Pasteur Street Brewing Company, whose founders include Vick’s Florida native John Reid.
Forbes magazine’s Tara Nurin explores “pay-to-play” in beer distribution. Even after a high-profile crackdown in Massachusetts, she says it’s “a common yet whispered business practice”.
Finally, Don Russell aka Joe Sixpack takes us back to the bad old days of Prohibition’s “needle beer”: speakeasy owners injected alcohol into near beer—which was still legal in the 1920s. One customer, who sampled the stuff, compared it to 44-D cough syrup.
On this day in 1655, scientist Christiaan Huygens discovered Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Huygens didn’t stop with astronomy, either. He also invented the pendulum clock, and published a pioneering work on games of chance.
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We begin in Bavaria, where the Röhrl brewery has come under fire for allegedly placing pro-Nazi labels on one of its beers. The beer’s name in English is “Border Fence Half”, a reference to Europe’s refugee crisis.
Caught on video: A woman sitting behind the Chicago Bulls’ bench tried to find her seat. She took a tumble and hit the floor, but managed to save her beer.
The Scottish brewery BrewDog has released a beer called Clean Water Lager. All profits from that beer will go toward bring clean water to the 650 million people who currently have none.
Jay Brooks of the San Jose Mercury News has an update on Hawaii’s craft brewing industry. The Aloha State now has 15 breweries, with another eight expected to open their doors.
Indonesian entrepreneurs are capitalizing on a recent ban on convenience store beer sales by purchasing beer from distributors and delivering it to customers by motorcycle.
Global warming is affecting the brewing industry: last year’s drought took its toll on Northwest hops production. Drought also forces farmers to use groundwater, which affects the taste of beer.
Finally, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex, Samuel Adams has the highest “buzz score”. That’s not a measure of the beer’s potency; it’s the percentage of adults who’ve heard something about the brand
On this day in 1791, Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th U.S. state. It is only one of three states that had previously been an independent republic; the others are California (very briefly, and unrecognized) and Texas (1836-45).
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Chicago, where the Field Museum has teamed up with Off-Color Brewing to re-create a purple-corn beer brewed by Peruvian women a thousand years ago during the Wari Empire.
In Europe, drought conditions resulted in last year’s hop harvest being one of the worst in decades. The resulting scarcity drove up prices, which hit small breweries especially hard.
Franchised beer bars may be coming to your town. Growler USA has two locations in Oregon and North Carolina each with more than 80 taps, and plans to open ten more this year.
“Endless Slogans”, an ad for Toronto-brewed Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA, pokes fun at beer ads by mocking every ad cliche from sexual innuendos to bad puns.
A German environmental group has alleged that the country’s most popular beers violate the Reinheitsgebot because they contain trace amounts of glyphosate, an ingredient used in herbicides.
Celeste Beatty is one of the few African-American women to own a brewery. Her Harlem Brewing Company’s beers will soon go on sale at 39 Wal-Mart stores in New York State.
Finally, Anheuser-Busch InBev finds itself in “investor purgatory” after reporting disappointing earnings last week. A-B InBev’s sales are–pardon the pun–flat, and currency volatility has upped the cost of sales.
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-two years ago today, Apple Corporation introduced the Macintosh, which popularized the mouse and the graphical user interface. The introduction came in the form of the famous “1984” television commercial during Super Bowl XVIII.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Michigan, where Founders Brewing Company, having filed the necessary paperwork, can once again sell Breakfast Stout with a baby on the label.
In the UK, health officials now recommend that men drink no more than six pints of beer per week. They also warn that drinking any amount of alcohol can cause health problems.
Paste magazine introduces you to seven “ridiculous, but kind of awesome” beer gadgets. They include a CO-2 injection system for growlers and a bottle that imparts an oak taste.
New laws in a number of states have encouraged “farm-to-keg” breweries, which make and serve beer using ingredients grown on site. These breweries operate much like wineries.
Did you get a drone for Christmas? AC Shilton of Outside magazine explains how can you train your new toy to fetch and deliver your beer.
In Australia, Quentin Tarantino was presented with a six-pack of Victoria Bitter in cans specially designed to honor him. He was joined onstage by actors Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson.
Finally, the Craft Brewers Alliance plans to distribute Kona beer in Brazil. It cited “the great synergies between Hawaiian and Brazilian culture, with their amazing beaches and strong water lifestyles.”
Sixty-five years ago today, the Peanuts comic strip, written and illustrated by Charles Schulz, was first published. Peanuts became one of the most popular and influential comic strips in history.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Philadelphia, the final stop of Pope Francis’s American visit. Local writer Don Russell, aka “Joe Sixpack,” takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the history of papal influence on brewing.
Israel now has 32 craft breweries. One of them, located in the hills of Galilee, uses chickpeas and dates in its recipe for a gluten-free beer.
Eastern Michigan University can’t win for losing. It latest effort to draw fans for its struggling football team—beer sales—resulted in a $3,000 loss. And yes, EMU lost the game.
After “some extensive field research,” Brent Nunn of the Dallas Observer has compiled a list of ten dumb things light beer drinkers say about craft beer.
Samuel Adams announced that it will introduce a series of nitro-conditioned beers early next year. The first three nitro offerings will be a white ale, an IPA, and a coffee stout.
Two Belgian scientists are making lager beers more diverse by cross-breeding yeasts. The new strains not only ferment more quickly than commercial strains, but are delicious as well.
Finally, blame global warming for pumpkin beers showing up on shelves before Labor Day. For example, persistently hot weather forced Rogue Ales to harvest its pumpkins weeks earlier than last year.