September 2011

The Friday Mash (Friendly Confines Edition)

One hundred and fifty years ago today, William Wrigley, Jr., was born. Wrigley owned Catalina Island; the Wm Wrigley Jr. Company, the maker of chewing gum; and the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs still play–unfortunately, quite badly–in the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Cincinnati, where Opening Day is next April 6. However, the Moerlein Lager House, which is near the ballpark, will get a two-month head start on the Reds. It will serve eight mainstay beers, plus a rotating monthly special.

Just in time for the Great American Beer Festival, Laura Bly of USA Today takes us along the Colorado Beer Trail. Her article has bonus video of the Boulder Beer Bus.

When Pope Benedict XVI visited Germany, a brewery in Berlin made a “Papst Bier” in his honor. Before serving the beer, brewery staff “ensouled” it with Gregorian chants played on a ghetto blaster.

British bloggers Boak and Bailey report that their country’s breweries have gone through the archives to find pre-1970s beer recipes to re-introduce to a new generation of drinkers.

What do Denver’s food trucks and breweries have in common with the oxpecker birds and zebras? As Billy Broas of explains, each gains an advantage from cooperating with the other.

From the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Department, a Washington, D.C. resident had to apologize for bringing a case of beer to the firefighters who put out a blaze in his house. The firefighters didn’t drink the beer while on duty, but still face disciplinary action.

Finally, Detroit fans toasting the playoff-bound Tigers have a new place to raise a glass: Tashmoo, a pop-up beer garden that features a rotating lineup of Michigan-brewed micros.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Liters of beer poured at last year’s Oktoberfest: about 6,000,000.
  • Liters of beer poured at the first Oktoberfest: 0.
  • Barrels of Bud Light sold last year: 40,000,000.
  • Number of Olympic-size swimming pools required to hold all that beer: 1,900.
  • Pub sales’ share of British beer in 2010: 51 percent.
  • Its share during the 1970s: about 90 percent.
  • Cask ale’s share of the British pub market: 15 percent.
  • Annual per capita beer consumption in Bolivia: 35 liters.
  • Bolivia’s annual per capita milk consumption: 30 liters.
  • Beer’s share of Canada’s alcoholic beverage market in 2000: 52 percent.
  • Its share of Canada’s market in 2010: 46 percent.
  • Decline in Canadian beer production between 2008 and 2010: 10 percent.
  • Breweries represented at the first Great American Beer Festival: 24.
  • Breweries represented at this year’s GABF: 466.
  • Tickets sold to this year’s GABF: 49,000.
  • Eins, Zwei, Drei, G’Suffa

    Oktoberfest is going on in Munich, and Ludwig would like to share three Oktoberfest-related articles that crossed his desk this week:

    Tim Worstall of Forbes magazine explains why there would be an Oktoberfest even if Prince Ludwig never hit it off with Princess Therese. He also explains why we party hearty at the end of the year and have lamb for Easter after abstaining from meat for Lent:

    Working as an Oktoberfest waiter is no easy job. One anonymous server told Budget Travel magazine that he has to contend with brawling drunks, lousy tippers, and puke. And that being a bouncer is an even worse job.

    Finally, what is Oktoberfest beer? The German Beer Institute explains its origins, and how it has changed over the years. It concludes that “the style definition of the Märzen-Oktoberfest-Vienna is somewhat fuzzy and perhaps controversial.”

    A Beer Blogger on “Enemy Turf”

    Jordan St. John, a Canadian blogger with strong opinions about the brewing industry, got an invite from MolsonCoors to to tour its giant plant outside Toronto. He was surprised to discover that he’d been booked on a “grand tour,” led by the brewmaster, brewery manager, and director of packaging development. He soon discovered that the brewery wasn’t the Death Star incarnate.

    Naturally, St. John’s favorite employees were the brewing staff. He said: “I can’t hate these guys. I respect them too much. They do what I’m learning to do, and they do it well….I can’t praise the beers, but I can praise the brewers.”

    St. John offers a helpful hint. If you’re on a macrobrewery tour and get asked “what do you expect to get out of this tour?”, tell your hosts: “Brewing is basically brewing on any scale and that most of the guys who do it are probably pretty much the same guys, doing it for the same reasons.” It worked for him.

    Beer on CBS’s “Early Show”

    Beer grabbed the attention of CBS’s “Early Show,” which featured White House Honey Ale, the first beer brewed by an American president, along with a sampling of German beers just in time for Oktoberfest:

    The Friday Mash (Autumnal Equinox Edition)

    Just after 5:00 this morning, Eastern time, the autumnal equinox took place; and you probably missed it. Ludwig is willing to forgive you for being such a sleepyhead, but on one condition: that you have a seasonal beer this evening. Being German American, he recommends an Oktoberfest.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Chicago, where Melanie Gravdal gave her townhouse extra curb appeal by offering $1,000 in beer at the bar across the street to the person who buys it.

    In the Pittsburgh area, two breweries are trying to revive Fort Pitt Beer. Problem is, there’s only one trademark and both breweries claim it.

    Did you miss Zwanze Day? If so, add it to your 2012 calendar. That’s the day a special lambic from Cantillon gets released at 21 sites world-wide, ten of them in the U.S.

    Some experts think declining beer consumption is aggravating Europe’s economic woes. When people drink less, bars and restaurants let workers go.

    Goodbye to all that. Britain’s Good Food Guide has banned the word “gastropub”, which it finds unpalatable in these tough economic times.

    In Seattle, the Redhook Ale Brewery celebrated its 30th birthday in style with an 80s concert starring Tom-Tom Club, The Psychedelic Furs, and Devo.

    Finally, “Joe Sixpack,” who calls Philadelphia America’s best beer-drinking city, also thinks his hometown’s bratwurst can’t be beat. Especially, Ludwig adds, during football season.

    NYC Trippin’ and Name Droppin’

    It’s Craft Beer Week in New York City, and Bryan Kolesar, who blogs at The Brew Lounge, got a head start on the festivities. In two blog posts (here and here), he recounts a couple of weekends he spent wandering around Manhattan. Kolesar visited the obligatory hop spots, of course, but also took in many of the city’s other attractions. And he brought back photos to share with the rest of us.

    What’s Brewing in Alaska?

    There’s more to Alaska than Mount Denali, the Iditarod, and The Most Dangerous Catch. The 49th State is also the home of a vibrant brewing culture. In his article about local beer in the Anchorage Press, James “Dr. Fermento” Roberts writes that he “watched with great admiration as the corridor between Anchorage and Fairbanks has become increasingly robust with local Alaska breweries.”

    Speaking of Fairbanks, that city is about to have its first brewery in 70 years when the HooDoo Brewing Company opens its doors next year. HooDoo, which is named after a mountain range, is owned by Bobby Wilken, who used to brew at the Alaskan Brewing Company–which you’ve surely heard of.

    Oktoberfest Slideshow

    Couldn’t make it to Munich this year? Pay a virtual visit to the festivities by clicking on the link to MSNBC’s slideshow.

    An Evening With Kid Rock

    Detroit’s Kid Rock wears–pardon the pun–a number of hats. One of them is owner of the Badass Brewing Company. The beer is brewed at the Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville. MBC’s owner, Bobby Mason, who brought Celis beer to Michigan, also stars in this video.

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