John Barleycorn Must Die

Jay Brooks recently wrote a column in the San Jose Mercury News about the season we refer to as “fall.” That word is a short form of the 17th-century English phrase, “fall of the leaf.” Fall is also the harvest season—Germans call it Herbst, a derivative of the Old Norse word for “harvest”—and it’s the time of the year to bring in the hops and barley crops.

This is where where John Barleycorn takes the stage. During the 16th century, a folk tale about him made its way around England. Brooks describes it as “an allegorical story of death, resurrection and drinking. The main character, the eponymous John Barleycorn, is the personification of barley, which is attacked, beaten and eventually dies–or as we prefer to think of it, grown, reaped and then malted.”

The most famous modern version of this song was recorded by Traffic, co-founded by Steve Winwood and Dave Mason and featured on their 1970 album, John Barleycorn Must Die.

The Friday Mash (King Ludwig Edition)

On this day in 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria passed away. Please join our beer-drinking lion in a moment of silence for the “Mad King” who, among other things, commissioned the fantastic Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the area’s leading tourist attractions.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Petaluma, California, where Lagunitas Brewing Company held its annual Beer Circus. Some guests wore top hats and “ironic facial hair,” while others dressed as figures from popular culture.

Just in time for Father’s Day: Criquet, a clothing company, has designed a shirt with a reinforced lining that prevents you from destroying it while using the shirttail to twist a beer bottle open.

Twenty years ago, Lauren Clark quit her desk job to work for a brewery. She then gravitated to writing, and recently published Crafty Bastards, a history of beer in New England.

Gustav Holst’s The Planets inspired Bell’s Brewing to create a seven-ale series, each of which named for one of the planets in Holst’s suite. The first Planet beer will be released in August.

St. Louis, which is celebrating its 250th birthday, has 30 craft breweries–and yes, the Budweiser brewery, too. USA Today’s Wendy Pramick has a beer lover’s guide to the city.

Brock Bristow, a South Carolina attorney, might wind up in the Lobbyists’ Hall of Fame. He persuaded lawmakers to pass the brewery-friendly “Stone Bill”.

Finally, Jeopardy! for beer geeks. Three female beer bloggers host a monthly trivia night at a bar in Brooklyn. Games consist of four rounds: brewing, history, popular culture, and the “hipster trifecta.”

The Friday Mash (NBA Edition)

On this day in 1946, the Basketball Association of America, the ancestor of today’s National Basketball Association, was organized in New York City. Fun fact: the first basket in league history was made by Ossie Schectman of the New York Knickerbockers in a game against the Toronto Huskies at Maple Leaf Gardens.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Asheville, North Carolina. The big craft brewers building plants there are trying to be good neighbors to the home-grown breweries, who have welcomed the newcomers.

Beer will be brewed in the Bronx—New York City’s only mainland borough—after a nearly 50-year absence. The Bronx Brewery, which currently contracts out its production, will bring its operations home sometime next year.

The “Bottle Boys,” who play cover songs on beer bottles, are out with their latest: the 1982 Michael Jackson song, “Billie Jean”. Previous covers include Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

Jacksonville, Florida, is the latest American city to create an Ale Trail for tourists. The trail includes a number of area micros, along with the Anheuser-Busch plant, which offers tours and a beer school.

The Boston Herald profiled Todd and Jason Alstrom, two guys from western Massachusetts who founded BeerAdvocate.com and organized the American Craft Beer Fest. Their motto is “Respect Beer.”

Dr. Paul Roof, a professor at Charleston Southern University, was fired by the school after his hirsute face appeared on cans of Holy City beer for a fund-raiser. CSU found that inconsistent with a Christian university.

Finally, a New Year’s resolution paid off for Justin “Bugsy” Sailor. Four years ago, Sailor resolved to have a beer with Sir Richard Branson. The two entrepreneurs finally clinked glasses last month.

The Friday Mash (Palmetto State Edition)

On this day in 1788, South Carolina ratified the Constitution, becoming the eighth state to join the Union. The Palmetto State is home to first-rate barbecue and has miles of beautiful beaches, both of which will be fine accompaniments to a beer this holiday weekend.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Tulsa, where the pop group Hanson staged a free concert at the Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival. The beer list included Hanson’s own Mmmhops pale ale.

Dartmouth University inspired Animal House and claims to be the birthplace of beer pong. But school president Phil Hanlon thinks the partying has gotten out of hand, and vows to curb dangerous drinking on campus.

The folks at Kona Brewing Company thinks mainlanders work too hard. The brewery’s “Dear Mainlander” ads propose a new schedule: one “sad hour,” and 23 happy hours.

Jeff Baker argues that Vermont has its own distinctive style of IPA. It’s bright golden and hazy in appearance, soft in mouthfeel, dense with hop flavor and aroma, but only moderately bitter.

In Olympia, Washington, a new partnership wants to bring back brewing at the historic Tumwater complex. The complex was part of the Olympia brewery, which closed in 2003 after nearly a century of making beer.

Two entrepreneurs have opened a “brewnuts” shop in downtown Tremont, Ohio. For the uninitiated, brewnuts are “craft beer inspired donuts” that are popular with the late-night crowd.

Finally, New York City’s Irish pubs are becoming an endangered species. Bar owners can’t afford skyrocketing rent, and younger drinkers are looking for something more adventurous than Guinness, Jameson, and pub grub.

The Friday Mash (Oregon Edition)

One hundred and fifty-five years ago today, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state. An impressive 47 percent of the beer poured in the Beaver State is craft beer, most of it locally brewed; and Portland, the state’s largest city, has become a top destination for beer travelers.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Pennsylvania where, after a 29-year hiatus, D. Yuengling & Son is again making ice cream. It’s so popular that the first 100,000-quart run rolled off the line ahead of schedule.

The Stochasticity Project has released its first beer, Grapefruit Slam IPA. The beer, which checks in at 8.2% ABV and 95 IBUs, will be available nationwide.

Bear Republic is the first brewery to buy the Eco-Volt system, which uses microbes to convert dissolved carbon in wastewater into biogas, which can be burned to make electricity or heat.

The Beer Store, Ontario’s provincial retail monopoly, warns that if grocery and convenience stores are allowed to sell beer, consumers will have to pay an extra C$10 (U.S. $9) a case.

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, who performed as Status Quo, are the latest celebrity beer makers. Piledriver ale, named for their 1972 album, is brewed by Wychwood Brewery of Oxfordshire.

Fans at the Winter Olympics can escape bland food by journeying to the nearby town of Adler, where “Draft Beer & Fish” has 16 beers on tap, most of them locally brewed.

Finally, clear your desk and take out a number-two pencil. John Metcalf of The Atlantic has a ten-point craft beer quiz that emphasizes the strange ingredients brewers are using.

The Friday Mash (Gold Rush Edition)

On this day in 1848, James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento. That discovery attracted hundreds of thousands of “Forty-Niners.” By necessity, these early settlers developed a style of beer known as “California Common,” better known as steam beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Boulder, Colorado, where a brewery got called for illegal procedure after the NFL learned that it had released a “Brett on the Broncos” ale honoring the AFC champions.

The Washington Post has put together a chart that links beverage choice and political views. The most Democratic beer is Milwaukee’s Best, the most Republican beer is Coors Original.

The maker of Jelly Bellys has added a new Draft Beer flavor to its lineup. Inspired by a Hefeweizen ale, it has a wheaty taste. And no, it doesn’t contain any alcohol.

Ohio lawmakers are considering whether to raise the maximum allowable ABV in beer from 12 percent to 21 percent, which is the state’s maximum ABV for wine.

From Paste magazine comes the Cheap American Beers Bracket. The magazine’s staff picked Miller High Life number one, but readers made Pabst Blue Ribbon their champion.

“Beer,” by Luke Bryan, currently tops the country music chart. The last number-one country song with “beer” in its title Billy Currington’s “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer,” in 2010.

Finally, organizers of tomorrow’s Beer Dabbler Carnival in St. Paul, Minnesota, are attempting to set a new world record for world’s largest snowball fight. Over 7,000 are expected to take part.

The Friday Mash (Student Prince Edition)

On this day in 1386, the University of Heidelberg opened in Germany. The school is best known as the setting of The Student Prince, but it has a centuries-long tradition of independent thinking, and today is one of the world’s leading research universities.

And now…the Mash!

We begin in Dallas, where Southern Methodist University is considering selling beer at sporting events. Ironically, the Methodist Church has been front and center in America’s temperance movement.

The first-ever craft beer logo appeared on a car in a NASCAR race. Dale’s Pale Ale was one of the sponsors of Landon Cassill’s car at last weekend’s Dollar General 300 in Charlotte.

After a 20-plus-year absence, Yuengling beer will return to Massachusetts next spring. The brewery pulled out of the Bay State in 1993 because production couldn’t meet demand.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has collaborated with the Grateful Dead to brew “American Beauty.” It’s a pale ale made with purely American ingredients, including a secret one….No, guess again. It’s granola.

Sixty percent of the beer poured in Portland, Oregon, is brewed in-state. Craft brews have become so popular in that city that even many “dive” bars boast a wide selection of local products.

Boak and Bailey take us to a French city that’s steeped in beer culture. Strasbourg, which is the home of the European Parliament, was part of Germany until 1918.

Finally, that beer you’re drinking might be brewed someplace else than where you think. For example, Red Stripe is brewed in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the former home of Rolling Rock, which is now brewed in New Jersey.

The GABF Rap

Last year, at the Great American Beer Festival, “JDirty,” who’s really beer writer Jay Brooks, and BIG Trox recorded a rap video on the festival floor. Even if rap isn’t your cup of tea pint of ale, Ludwig guarantees you’ll like it.

Speaking of Jay, congratulations are in order for the publication of his book, California Breweries North.

And now…the Great American Beer Festival Rap!

The Friday Mash (Montreal Edition)

On this day in 1642, the French established a colony at Ville-Marie. It became modern-day Montreal, Canada’s second-largest city. Montreal has become the home of a thriving craft beer culture, and is the site of the 20th Mondial de la Biere, which gets underway May 29.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Krakow, which has long been famous for its history and culture. It has recently become Poland’s craft beer capital with more than 50 bars specializing in regional microbrews and beers from foreign independents.

There’s at least one thing congressional Democrats and and Republicans can agree on–namely, the BEER Act, a bill that would cut the federal tax for small breweries.

The Odell Brewing Company has brewed a special beer for a butterfly that lives on Colorado’s Front Range and loves hops. Proceeds from the beer will go to scientists studying the rare creature.

Now that Western countries have lifted economic sanctions on Myanmar (a/k/a Burma), brewing giants are planning to enter the country, which has 60 million people and a per capita consumption less than one-tenth of China’s.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has yet another way to expose beer drinkers to the arts. It’s teamed up with a San Francisco a cappella group for an evening of classic drinking songs and Dogfish Head beers.

In Michigan, which dominated this year’s Beer City USA voting, the Economic Development Corporation is touting the state’s microbreweries in its “Pure Michigan” tourism commercials.

Finally, a Labrador retriever named Frank lives up to his breed’s reputation by fetching beer for his owner. Man’s best friend indeed.

The Friday Mash (Wicked Wind Edition)

We’ve had nasty weather this week, but it pales in comparison to conditions atop Mount Washington, New Hampshire, on this day in 1934. The world’s strongest-ever wind gust, 231 miles per hour, was recorded there.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Oregon, where lawmakers may designate Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the official state microbe. It’s also used to make bread, cheese, and craft distilled spirits, all popular Oregon products.

Mystic Brewery in Chelsea, Massachusetts, is honoring Red Auerbach, the legendary Boston Celtics basketball coach, with–what else?–a Rauchbier. Back in the day, Auerbach lit up a cigar to celebrate a Boston victory.

The Sly Fox Brewing Company is the first American brewery to use topless cans. Just pull the tab up, then then peel the lid away, to expose a 1.75-inch-wide opening that allows you to enjoy the beer’s aroma.

Many craft brewers have branched out into spirits, and some familiar names–including Ballast Point, Rogue, and Dogfish Head–have been awarded medals by the American Distilling Institute.

English transplant Adrian Dingle got himself banned from BeerAdvocate.comfor his outspoken opinions. Dingle’s rants about beer and culture now appear on his DingsBeerBlog.com.

The Four Seasons Resort in Vail, Colorado, has joined forces with Crazy Mountain Brewing, a local micro, to offer “Brew and Renew” treatments. They include foot soaks, body wraps, scalp treatments, and full body scrubs.

Finally, Paste magazine has compiled a list of ten music-inspired beers. It includes “Brother Theloneous” Belgian-Style Abbey Ale; “Smoke on the Water” Porter; and–wait for it–”Dark Side of the Moose,” a dark ale brewed in Wales.

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