December 2011

The Year in Beer

Ludwig is still on vacation, but Maryanne and Paul spotted this article by on, whose Adam Nason runs down the year’s top 30 beer stories. Because so much happened in the world of beer in 2011, Adam presents his top 30 in a six-part series: numbers 26 through 30; numbers 21 through 25; numbers 16 through 20; numbers 11 through 15; numbers six through ten; and finally, the top five stories.

A Very Ludwig Christmas

Dear readers, it’s time for Ludwig to take his annual Christmas vacation, where he’ll get to spend some quality time with his pride.

Before stepping into the lion limo, Ludwig left us a present: a video of the construction of a Christmas tree made with more than 1,000 beer bottles. Enjoy!

Bon voyage, Ludwig; we’ll see you after the holidays!

The Beer Before Christmas

Jay Brooks, who blogs at the Brookston Beer Bulletin, took a great amount of poetic license with “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” He offers a beer-flavored version of the 1823 classic. Enjoy!

The Friday Mash (Festivus Edition)

It’s time for Festivus, a holiday celebrated with an aluminum “Festivus pole”, rituals like the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”, and calling easily explainable events “Festivus miracles.” While beverages aren’t obligatory, they come highly recommended.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Muskegon, Michigan, the self-proclaimed “beer tent capital of the world,” where 13 residents stripped to their swimsuits and waded into Lake Michigan to attract a brewery to their city.

Australian researchers have found that a one-degree (Celsius) increase in average monthly temperature translates into a 2.1 percent increase in beer consumption. That’s 10,000 extra cases.

Dogfish Head Artisan Ales is planning a $50 million expansion of its brewery in Milton, Delaware. Unfortunately, some locals voiced their objections to the traffic the brewery will create.

Last week, the Globe and Mail’s website ran a slideshow which features 12 Canadian craft brewers that are shaking up the country’s brewing industry.

Ashley Rouston, The Beer Wench, lists the craft beer community’s 20 most compelling personalities on Twitter. Drat! Ludwig isn’t one of them.

Injuries forced Yao Ming to end his pro basketball career, but the NBA continues its efforts to win fans in China with a partnership between the Miami Heat and Chinese beer company Tsingtao.

Finally, now that it’s Hanukkah, brewers are bringing out holiday beers for Jewish beer drinkers. Why not? Jews have brewed beer for thousands of years in Asia, Europe, and America.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Days until Christmas: 4.
  • Craft seasonal beer sales: $70.8 million.
  • Christmas/New Year’s rank for amount of beer sold: 5th.
  • Biggest day of the year for beer sales: July 4.
  • Cases of beer sold on July 4: 68.3 million.
  • Average price of beer in China: 33 cents (U.S.) per liter.
  • Average price of beer in Australia: $2.40 per liter.
  • Price of a beer from Lost Abbey’s upcoming “Box Set”: $40 per liter ($15 for a 375ml bottle).
  • U.S. breweries opening in October and November 2011: 58.
  • Breweries in planning as of November 30: 855.
  • Draft beer’s share of craft brewery sales: 30 percent.
  • Draft beer’s share of macrobrewery sales: 10 percent.
  • Craft beer brands sold in the United States: 13,000.
  • Craft beer brands sold in cans: About 400.
  • Craft breweries that can their beer: 144.
  • Hey, Is This You?

    James Norton of has assembled a five-step Beer Drinker’s Continuum, which consists of five levels: (1) The Angry Populist (”Coors Light, please”), (2) The Gateway Drinker (”Hey, this stuff might have taste”), (3) The Brewfan (”I’ve already circled Dark Lord Day on my calendar”), (4) The Dabbler Critic (”In my 5,000th post on, I called the guy a “dumbass” for still liking Westy 12″), and (5) The Mad Homebrewer (”Yeah, I drink beer…but it’s to make future beers taste even better”).

    If you’re a regular reader of this blog, expect to find yourself somewhere on the continuum.

    A Virtual Tasting on Twitter

    Whole Foods Market has teamed up with Ashley Rouston, The Beer Wench, to present a series of virtual beer tastings that will be broadcast live on Twitter. The first in the series will take place tomorrow, December 20, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. The focus will be, naturally enough, on holiday beers. The lineup consists of New Belgium Snow Day, Deschutes Jubelale, Bison Brewing Gingerbread Ale, and Dogfish Head Chicory Stout.

    Vaclav Havel (1936-2011)

    Vaclav Havel, a Czech playwright who led his country’s dissident movement and later became its president, passed away today. Havel is best known for his opposition to Communism and his love of rock music, but he deserves mention here for his love of beer.

    In 1995, Havel said, “I suppose that drinking beer in pubs has got a good influence on the behaviour of Czech society, because beer contains less alcohol than for example wine, vodka or whisky and therefore people’s political chat in pubs is less crazy.”

    According to the Czech Radio website, Havel might have been the country’s best-ever spokesman for beer, at least while he was in office. He loved to take visiting politicians to pubs. He even skipped a function in the United States so he could drink beer and watch John Cale. His first play, Audience (1975), was a semi-autobiographical play about an intellectual who, like Havel himself, had been reduced to working in a brewery.

    Forecast: Beer, Followed by Cheese Steak

    Seth Wright and Mike Winn of Beer Nation go beer trekking in Philadelphia with food writer, and South Philly native, Felicia D’Ambrosio. They visit Monk’s Cafe, Nodding Head, the Pub on Passayunk Street, Kraftwork, and Johnny Brendas, before closing out the evening with a cheese steak:

    The Friday Mash (Boston Tea Party Edition)

    On this day in 1773, a group of colonists called the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships and threw their cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. The Sons of Liberty were led by none other than Samuel Adams, whose smiling face nowadays adorns millions of bottles of ale and lager.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Quebec, where a number of breweries have gotten into barrel-aged beer. Some of their best, and strongest, offerings are now available for Christmas celebrations and gift-giving.

    Need something to do on Sunday? Deborah Braconnier of Yahoo! Sports, who calls herself a life-long Denver Broncos fan, proposes a Tim Tebow drinking game.

    The Pacific Northwest supplies most American-grown hops, but entrepreneurs elsewhere in the country, like Jeff and Bonnie Steinman of Plainwell, Michigan, are growing their own.

    Cigar City Brewing decided not to use Winston Churchill on the label of its barleywine, even though it could legally do so in Florida, because the British statesman’s descendants objected.

    Which craft brewery had the most creative packaging this year? Brian Stechschulte of All Over Beer, says it’s the 21st Amendment Brewery, whose four-packs for Allies Win the War look like a newspaper from 1945.

    Will the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company open a second brewery in North Carolina? The brewery isn’t saying, but local media report that it’s meeting with local officials.

    Finally, if you need an excuse to bring home some beer, the Beer Mapping Project has declared tomorrow National Growler Day.

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