September 2012

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2012

The Friday Mash (Teddy Ballgame Edition)

On this day in 1960, Hall of Famer Ted Williams hit a home run in his final at-bat at Fenway Park. His performance was chronicled in John Updike’s essay, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”, one of the best-ever pieces of American sportswriting.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Ted Williams’s hometown of San Diego, where the first Craft Beer Debate recently took place. At issue: whether the city should build a publicly-financed stadium.

As Maine goes, so goes the nation? The state’s beer production has jumped by 50 percent since 2009. By the way, Maine’s largest brewery is Allagash Brewing Company.

Our Drink Locally award goes to beer blogger Pierre Lachine, who has pledged to drink only Ontario beer for the next year.

An e-petition calling for a review of Britain’s beer tax has gotten more than 100,000 signatures, enough to trigger a possible House of Commons debate on how the tax is calculated.

Denver mayor Michael Hancock got a crash course in brewing at the Denver Beer Company. The beer he helped make, a pumpkin ale, will debut at next month’s Denver Beer Fest.

The topic for The Session #68 has been announced: it’s Novelty Beers. Tiffany, who blogs at 99 Pours, will host the discussion; and, as always, you’re welcome to join.

Finally, Ken and Steph Newbury of St. Peters, Missouri, turned their wedding reception into a beer festival. They stocked the bar with many of Ken’s favorite micros, many of which were brewed in-state.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Average cost of a small beer at National Football League stadiums: $7.28.
  • Increase over last year’s average cost: 2.1 percent.
  • Cheapest beer in the NFL: $5 (Cincinnati and Cleveland).
  • Cost of a beer at TCF Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota Gophers: $7.25.
  • Fans ejected from Minnesota’s home opener: 2.
  • Production of the nation’s largest brewery in 1879: 180,152 barrels (George Ehret’s Hell Gate Brewery in New York City).
  • That brewery’s market share: 1.5 percent.
  • Breweries that produced more than 100,000 barrels in 1879: 7 (compared to more than 30 in 2011).
  • Hard cider sales this past year: $71.5 million.
  • Increase over the year before: 50 percent.
  • Carlsberg’s share of the Russian beer market: 37.8 percent.
  • Carlsberg-owned breweries in Russia: 10.
  • Projected alcoholic content of 2012 Samuel Adams Utopias: 28-29 percent.
  • Suggested retail price of a bottle of 2012 Utopias: $160.
  • Suggested retail price in 2007: $120.
  • The Winners: America’s Top Beer Bars

    The results are in. Nearly 30,000 people voted for America’s top beer bar, a competition sponsored by the Brewers Association’s CraftBeer.com. The overall winner was Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. HopCat in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the runner-up, and The Thirsty Monk in Asheville, North Carolina, finished third.

    N.J. Governor Signs Brewpub Legislation

    Last Friday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie governor signed legislation that makes it easier for brewpubs to operate. The new law allows brewpubs to produce as much as 10,000 barrels per year, distribute their beer to liquor stores and licensed establishments through wholesalers, and offer samples on-premise and at special events. In addition, a company may open as many as ten brewpubs in the state; the current limit is two.

    Maryanne and Paul, who are from New Jersey and often come back to see family and friends, hope to bring you a progress report on the Garden State’s beer.

    Images from Oktoberfest

    Oktoberfest, the world’s largest and most famous beer festival, kicked off yesterday with the traditional pageantry. Here’s a slideshow from Munich, courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

    The Friday Mash (Hobbit Edition)

    Seventy-five years ago today, The Hobbit was published. Author J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration for his classic fantasy from the pints of ale he drank in the Rabbit Room at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Founders’ “Stout Season” is underway. The brewery has three million bottles of Breakfast Stout ready for distribution.

    Remember Asahi Super Dry beer? Hirotaro Higuchi, the brewery’s president who launched the beer in 1987, has passed away. Super Dry made Asahi Japan’s top-selling brewery.

    Chris Hansen, who wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle, bought beers for everybody at F.X. McRory’s to celebrate a favorable vote for a new arena in the Emerald City.

    People in Madison, Wisconsin, love their beer, but some residents are up in arms over beer ads on city buses.

    How do you celebrate becoming the first person to run the length of Australia’s 5,330-kilometer (3,312-mile) Bicentennial Trail? If you’re Richard Bowles, who accomplished that feat, you order a beer.

    Since 1885, steam-powered “Skunk” trains have chugged through California’s Mendocino County. Once a year, Lagunitas Brewery takes over the train for a friends-and-family outing through redwood country.

    Finally, Nicholas Kuznetz set out to answer a burning question: How cold does a can of Coors Light have to get before the mountains turn blue?

    Corner Brewery Goes Green

    The establishment where Maryanne and Paul most often have a beer is the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It’s close enough for an after-work pint or a growler fill on the way home from Saturday shopping. The couple who own the brewery, Matt and Rene Greff, are good folks, outstanding members of the community, and turn out consistently good beer.

    We’d like to raise a glass to the Greffs, who recently completed a $250,000 Green Brewery Project. It included solar-thermal, photovoltaic, and geo-thermal technologies along with other improvements such as new windows, awnings, and energy-efficient chiller equipment. The new equipment will cut the brewery’s energy bills in half, and allow it to step up its production to satisfy demand–including ours.

    Red States, Brew States

    The one and only Joe Sixpack (real name: Don Russell) has come up with an interesting analysis of the upcoming presidential election. For each of the states he computed the number of breweries per square mile. In 2008, Obama carried 24 of the 25 states with the highest brewery density. His opponent, John McCain, carried 21 of the 25 states with the lowest brewery density.

    This year, most of “battleground states” are in the top 25, which bodes well for the president’s re-election chances. It also explains why he has focused so much on beer drinkers on the campaign trail.

    Pro Tip: Keg Tapping Edition

    Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, explains what not to do during the ceremonial keg-tapping at Oktoberfest:

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