April 2010

The Friday Mash (Walpurgisnacht Edition)

In parts of northern and central Europe, the night of April 30 is called Walpurgisnacht, a holiday marking the ceremonial end of winter. It’s celebrated with a bonfire–Ludwig hopes it’s a roaring one–and plenty of beverages.

So what are you waiting for? It’s Friday, and The Mash is up!

Denver’s Wynkoop Brewery revived a tradition from Colorado’ early days: horse-powered beer deliveries. Two Fridays a month, the brewpub’s Clydesdales will deliver beer to several local establishments.

Watch out, Minnesotans. Woody is on the loose. It–not he–is a 5,000-pound oaken beer barrel on wheels that also serves as a traveling bar. Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery is using Woody to promote its beers in, among other places, the Upper Midwest.

Here’s a consolation prize for those who missed Dark Lord Day. Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin toured the Three Floyds Brewery, and has both a slide show and video to share with you.

Last Friday, the Reinheitsgebot celebrated its 494th anniversary. Betsy Matson’s article in Wired magazine offers some interesting trivia about the famous beer purity law. Did you know that the word Reinheitsgebot didn’t appear in print until 1918? Or that Bavaria insisted on giving the law nation-wide effect as a condition of its joining the Weimar Republic?

And while we’re on the subject of Bavaria, Lufthansa announced that its refurbished Business Lounge at Munich’s airport will have a beer garden with draft beer from the barrel and Bavarian pretzels.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in West Des Moines will host the inaugural Farmhouse Ale Fest. The lineup includes Iowa-brewed saisons, farmhouse ales, and Bieres Blanches.

Finally, is money burning a hole in your pocket? Then order the most expensive beer in the world: a bottle of Deus at the Belgian Cafe Bar in Abu Dhabi’s Inter-Continental Hotel.It’ll set you back 190 bucks. Plus tip, of course.

House Resolution Honors Craft Brewers

American Craft Beer Week is coming soon, and to mark the occasion, U.S. Representative Betsy Markey (D-CO) has introduced House Resolution 1297, which honors the nation’s craft brewers and their contributions to the economy–not to mention the palates of millions of beer lovers. Co-sponsors of the resolution are Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Jared Polis (D-CO), Denny Rehberg (R-MT), and David Wu (D-OR).

Brews for Breakfast, Anyone?

Last Saturday, Ludwig slept through the Today show on NBC. What did he miss? Phil Lempert, who treated his TV hosts, Lester Holt and Jillian Michaels, to a tasting of Great American Beer Festival medal winners. Click here to watch the video.

The beers featured on the show were Firestone Union Jack IPA, Arcadia Ales Cereal Killer, Hub Ace of Spades and Hopworks IPA, New Glarus Totally Naked, Lost Abbey Carnivale Ale, and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. Real eye-openers, even at 8:30 in the morning.

(Hat tip: Charlie Papazian, who hardly needs an introduction on this blog.)

Beer in Bon Appetit Magazine

Here’s more proof that the culinary world is taking beer more seriously these days. The May issue of Bon Appetit magazine has two beer-related articles. The first is an introduction to New York City’s beer scene. The nine selections run the gamut from a beer-cuisine restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef to an Asian-style beer garden.

The second article, “The Quest for the Holy Ale,” recounts food blogger Heather John’s quest for a few bottles of the legendary Westvleteren 12. (Plot spoiler: she comes up empty, but finds plenty of other unusual Belgian beers–and establishments to drink them in–to write about.) The article isn’t yet available on the magazine’s website, but chances are it eventually will.

Anchor Brewing Acquired by California Investment Firm

After 45 years at the helm at Anchor Brewing Company, Fritz Maytag announced today that he has sold the company. The buyer is The Griffin Group, an investment company based in the Bay Area. It is led by beverage-industry veterans Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, who built the Skyy Vodka brand.

Here is a link to Anchor’s press release announcing the sale to Griffin (hat tip: Todd Alstrom at BeerAdvocate.com.)

Maryanne and Paul discovered this news upon returning home from a local grocery store where, ironically, they bought several bottles of Sierra Nevada’s Fritz & Ken’s Ale. This weekend, they plan to open one and toast Fritz Maytag and his remarkable career. By the way, he’ll stay on at the brewery in the capacity of chairman emeritus.

Beer Week Roundup

It’s Craft Beer Week in St. Louis, which features unusual events like a Beer Prom, beer bingo, and a Tweetup. The week-long celebration overlaps the St. Louis Microfest in Forest Park this weekend.

Atlanta joins the growing list of North American cities celebrating Beer Week. The dates are May 16-22.

And the state of Alabama has “hopped” on the bandwagon as well: the inaugural Alabama Beer Week is scheduled for June 4-13. It will kick off with the fourth Annual Magic City Brewfest in Birmingham.

And north of the border, Vancouver Beer Week is May 10-16, and Ontario holds its province-wide celebration June 20-26. Here’s some video to get you in the mood for these two celebrations:

GQ’s “50 Beers to Try Right Now”

William Bostwick, Scott Riley and Kevin Sintumuang of GQ magazine have compiled a slide show of the 50 beers they think you should try right now. “Drink your way through this list,” they promise, and “you’ll instantly raise your beer IQ.”

The 2010 Tour de Fat

Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing Company’s flagship beer, continues to widen its distribution. And fittingly, the brewery’s signature event, the Tour de Fat, is expanding as well. This year’s tour will kick off in Chicago on June 26 and go on from there to 12 other cities: Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Seattle; Portland; Boise; Fort Collins, CO (New Belgium’s hometown); Denver; San Francisco; San Diego; Tempe, AZ; Los Angeles; and Austin.

“Game Day” Beer

Football junkies are getting a fix this week. On Thursday, the National Football League held its draft and released its 2010 schedule; and tomorrow afternoon, a number of colleges are holding their spring game.

There’s more good news. We learned that when the 2010 football season begins in earnest, there will be a new product in the beer section of your local 7-Eleven: Game Day private label beer. It will be brewed for 7-Eleven by City Brewing of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Ludwig likes the idea of Game Day beer, but he has a suggestion: 7-Eleven should carry a high-gravity version for followers of very bad football teams–like the Detroit Lions.

The Friday Mash (Frosty Cold One Edition)

Here in Michigan, we’ve had a series of cold nights, some of them punctuated by frost and freeze warnings. But it won’t be long before May brings us sunshine, flowers, and best of all, the first Maibocks of the year. We can hardly wait.

And now…The Mash!

Athens, Georgia, is famous for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, the B-52s, and now, the Terrapin Beer Company. John Cochran, co-founder of Terrapin, tells his story on CraftBeer.com.

Beer for dinner? According to Clay Risen of The Atlantic, the idea is catching on. Risen singles out Goose Island Beer Company for the attractive labels it puts on its high-end brews.

Jay, at Hedonist Beer Jive, donned his flame-proof jacket and named the five most boring topics in beer journalism. As you might have guessed, his column inspired some caustic commentary.

The folks at the Beer School blog think it’s time to give India pale ale a new name.

Yesterday, Paste magazine’s “List of the Day” focused on the best beer bars in America. Thirty establishments made the list, which is arranged by state. Writer Josh Jackson offered one criterion for a high-quality beer bar: “The bartender and waitstaff should be like record store clerks without the accompanying snobbery.”

Finally, in case you missed it, yesterday was Earth Day. Noah Davis of DraftMag.com spotlighted three of the many breweries that are doing their part to help the planet.

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