On this day in 1876, Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for an invention he called the telephone. Ironically, Bell considered the phone a distraction from his real work as a scientist and refused to have one in his study.
And now…a busy signal!
Almost 600 types of barley seeds have been added to the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway. This ups the chances that survivors will be able to enjoy a post-apocalyptic beer.
In India, architecture students from Bangalore and Spain used thousands of beer bottles to construct a classroom. The bottles eliminate the need for artificial light inside.
Stone Brewing Company plans to open a second brewery in the eastern U.S., and it appears that Greensboro has been found worthy as a site to brew Arrogant Bastard and other ales.
A London-based start-up company has a remedy for job stress. Desk Beer offers Friday deliveries of local craft beer–provided, of course, the boss approves.
If you plan on some beer hunting, Lindsey Grossman of Paste magazine suggests eight beer-related apps for your phone. They include a “fairly addictive” game called Micro Caps.
Finally, after being served three ales he couldn’t stand, Johnny Sharp unleashed a rant titled “Am I The Only Man in Britain Who Hates Craft Beer? You may find his writing an “acquired taste.”
Wine lovers are familiar with the word terroir, which roughly translates into “expression of a sense of place.” The main ingredient in wine is, of course, grapes, and most good wines are made with grapes from a particular region. But is that possible with beer? There are breweries in all 50 states, but most hops are grown in the Northwest and most barley is grown on the Great Plains.
Erika Szymanski, a science writer at Palate Press, contends that terroir is possible in beer. For example, she found that a Guinness served in a bar in Rochester, New York, tasted different from one served in County Clare in Ireland. Same recipe, slightly different ingredients. Szymanski says that a brewery doesn’t have to stick to ingredients grown in its backyard–though Rogue Ales does a marvelous job in that department–so long as the ingredients give its beer what she calls “sensory characteristics that uniquely identify a beverage’s origins.”
Szymanski goes on to say that beer today is like wine was in the 17th century. In time, she believes, breweries and beer drinkers will draw greater distinctions among grains, just as today’s wine community distinguishes among grapes. It’s even possible that 200 years from now, beer drinkers “will be comparing exquisite estate-bottled Hefeweizen from neighboring wheat fields.”
Joe Morette, a farmer from New Hampshire, discovered by accident that feeding his turkeys beer instead of water resulted in better-tasting bird. Just in time for Thanksgiving, which is less than three weeks away.
On this day in 1889, Montana was admitted to the Union as the 41st state. Montana, with 36 craft breweries and a population of just over one million, ranks third in number of breweries per capita, behind only Vermont and Oregon. No wonder its nickname is the “Treasure State.”
And now….The Mash!
We begin in San Francisco, where a company called ReGrained is using spent grain from beer brewing to make granola bars. The bars also contain Ghirardelli chocolate and other local ingredients.
Bottle-share parties have gotten much more sophisticated over the years. Portland, Oregon, writer Lucy Burningham sampled rare beer and gourmet food at a high-end gathering in her hometown.
Why are holiday beers already on the shelves? Because early rollouts work. Sales of seasonal beers have risen by 15 percent or more in the past few years.
Cassava is the second most-consumed source of carbohydrates in sub-Saharan Africa. Multi-national breweries are buying the crop from farmers and using it to brew beer.
Japanese baseball players have their version of America’s post-game Champagne celebration: a victory beer fight in which players spray one another. The tradition dates back to 1959.
Craft beer might be the next big tourist attraction in the Tampa Bay area. Four micros have recently opened in St. Petersburg alone, and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Company has a nation-wide following.
Finally, it has been a year since Hurricane Sandy heavily damaged the Jersey Shore. Flying Fish Brewing Company’s “F.U. Sandy” beer has generated $75,000 in donations to a number of New Jersey charities.
New York State ranks seventh nationally in the number of craft breweries. The growth of that industry, along with the farm-to-table movement, has prompted some local farmers to start growing hops.
During the late 19th century, New York was one of the world’s leading hop-growing regions. There were about 40,000 acres under cultivation, mostly in the area between Syracuse and Cooperstown. However, a mold epidemic, followed by Prohibition, all but killed commercial hop-growing in the region until a few years ago.
Hop-growing won’t return to its heyday in New York. It’s an expensive and time-consuming proposition. Hops costs $12,000 to $16,000 per acre to get started, and it generally takes at least three years before a robust crop comes in. In addition, the land where hops are planted must have good sunlight, soil that isn’t too acidic, and good drainage.
This video from Oregon State University is about the Cascade hop which, according to BridgePort Brewery’s brewer Jeff Edgerton, was a “hybrid hop that was left on the shelf.”
Suggested beverage pairing: India pale ale.
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.