October 2012

99 Facts About Beer (On the Wall)

BloombergBusinessWeek took a break from digesting corporate earnings reports and turned its attention to the brewing industry. Correspondent Jennifer Daniels put together an infographic titled “99 Facts About Beer”. It’s heavy on information about InBevAnheuser-Busch and leans heavily toward big breweries, but might contain a nugget or two of trivia to help you the next time you play bar trivia.

World Series Beer

The Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants not only represent different leagues in the World Series, but their fans come from very different cultures as well. One part of that difference involves food and drink at the ballpark. At AT&T Park, Giant fans munch on Cha-Cha Bowls and Gordon Biersch’s famous garlic fries. They have a choice of more than 50 beers, including Anchor Brewing’s offerings. Comerica Park, the home of theTigers, specializes in Michigan-made food, such as Winter’s sausages and Hudsonville ice cream. Although Tiger fans prefer domestic beer, craft beer from Detroit’s Atwater Block Brewery is available as well.

The Friday Mash (O.K. Corral Edition)

On this day in 1881, the most famous gunfight in Old West history took place at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. It was fought between outlaws Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and his brother Frank; and lawmen Virgil Earp, his brothers Morgan and Wyatt, and temporary deputy Doc Holliday.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Detroit, which hosts the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Fall Beer Festival this weekend. It’s a perfect time to read Bill Loomis’s story about the city’s hard-drinking past.

Not everyone associates “green beer” with St. Patrick’s Day. Roxanne Palmer of the International Business Times updates us about America’s most environmentally-friendly breweries.

This week’s fun fact: the barley genome is almost twice the size of that of human beings. But a new, high-resolution draft of the genome could someday pay off in the form of higher-quality beer.

Does that beer you’re drinking taste nasty? Jay Brooks, who judges beer when he’s not writing about it, explains what causes the ten most common off-tastes in beer.

Actor Will Ferrell, the star of Old Milwaukee beer commercials that ran in cities like Davenport, Iowa, has shot four new–and silly–Old Milwaukee ads that will run in Sweden.

Ohio’s Winking Lizard beer bars will stop serving Bud Light and Miller Light because it has grown tired of the big breweries’ price hikes. Yuengling Light will replace those brands.

Finally, Andy Crouch, who has attended the past 16 Great American Beer Festivals, is concerned that the festival is getting too big. He offers a ten-point plan to improve future events.

A Book and a Brew

For Paul, heaven is a good book and a good beer, together. For that reason, he was fascinated by a recent article in the New York Daily News about book-friendly establishments in New York City. The Daily News writers, Alexander Nazaryan, Karen Zraick, and Frank Santo, recommend more then ten such places. One of them, the Bridge Cafe in lower Manhattan, claims to be the oldest bar in the city. It opened as a grocery store in 1794 and later became a house of prostitution. Today, it remains a wood-frame house at the end of a street that ends at the Brooklyn Bridge on-ramp.

The South Bay’s Beer King

Meet Mike Zislis. He’s built a beer empire in the southern California’s South Bay region near Los Angeles International Airport.

In 1989, Zislis opened the Manhattan Beach Brew Company; and together with his brother Dave, have largely remade downtown Manhattan Beach. In 1992, years later, opened a second brewpub in nearby Redondo Beach. Both establishments survived the brewpub shakeout of the 1990s. More recently, Zislis opened Rock & Brew, a restaurant and brewpub in El Segundo. His partners are Gene Simmons, the lead singer of KISS, and rock promoter Dave Furnano.

Zislis is one of the few people to admit to having brewed beer before coming of age. In fact, he got started at age 13, appropriating empty five-gallon Pepsi kegs in order to make his beer. How did he pull that off?

“I was at the orthodontist’s office and saw in Popular Science a beer kit for $15. I went to the post office and mail-ordered it and started making beer. I kind of had to convince my parents it was an algae experiment, but it was strictly for drinking reasons. By the time I was in college, I was a good brewer.”

And a highly successful brewer.

The Friday Mash (Pop Art Edition)

Today is the 75th birthday of Peter Max, the pop artist who’s famous for his use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes. Max has been the official artist for the World Cup, the Grammy Awards, and the Super Bowl…but, so far as we know, no beer festivals.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Frederick, Maryland, where the Monocacy Brewing Company has released its first Civil War commemorative beer, an English session bitter called Antietam Ale.

Kendall Jones of the Washington Beer Blog describes a weekend beer getaway in Victoria, British Columbia. Final stop on the tour: Garrick’s Head Pub, which has been serving beer since 1867.

Congratulations to Brown Distributing Company, of West Palm Beach, Florida, which was honored as the Craft Beer Distributor of the Year by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

According to the Beer Institute, New Hampshire ranks first in per-capita beer consumption. Rounding out the top five: North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, and Nevada.

From the Department of Higher Zymurgical Education: Arizona State University offers a course called The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer. The course has been rated “challenging.”

A British microbrewery has developed a freeze-resistant beer for researchers working in in Antarctic cold. The beer, an India pale ale, is packaged in plastic, vacuum-sealed bottles for the journey to the Pole.

Finally, Scott, who blogs at The Brew Club, serves up 12 Things You Don’t Know About Your Beer. For instance, there are more calories in a pint of Budweiser than in a pint of Guinness.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Breweries represented at this year’s Great American Beer Festival: 578.
  • Increase over 2011: 110 (23 percent).
  • China’s Snow Beer production in 2011: 50.8 million barrels (number one in the world).
  • Budweiser production in 2011: 38.7 million barrels (number three in the world, behind Snow and Bud Light).
  • Taxes’ share of the cost of an American beer: 45 percent.
  • Annual U.S. tax revenue generated by beer consumption: $10.8 billion.
  • Economic output of the U.S. brewing industry: $223.8 billion.
  • Brewing industry’s share of U.S. gross domestic product: 1.5 percent.
  • People employed by the U.S. brewing industry: 1.8 million.
  • Economic impact of California’s craft brewing industry: $3 billion.
  • People employed by California craft breweries: 22,000.
  • Minutes an average American must work for a beer: 5 (cost of a beer: $1.80).
  • Minutes an average Canadian must work for a beer: 11 (cost of a beer: $3.20).
  • Breweries in the U.K.: more than 1,000.
  • U.K. breweries opening in the past year: 153.
  • Craft Beer Power Ratings

    You’ve seen them in the sports section, but power ratings for breweries? FoodRepublic.com has ranked the ten most influential craft breweries based on new product releases, critical reviews, and “general buzz within the industry.”

    The top spot belongs to California’s Firestone Walker Brewing Company. This Anglophile brewery, which features a Burton Union oak-barrel fermenting system, is about to open a facility specializing in sour beers. Also coming soon: its highly-anticipated XVI Anniversary Ale.

    The Winners’ Circle

    Here are the winners of this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition. Ludwig congratulates all of them!

    The Friday Mash (Alcatraz Edition)

    On this day in 1933, the U.S. Justice Department took control of Alcatraz Island, and turned it into a federal prison. Alcatraz held “the worst of the worst,” including Al Capone; Robert Franklin Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz”; and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, who holds the record for time served. And no, Jail Ale wasn’t served there.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Detroit, where the MGM Grand Casino has run afoul of the Liquor Control Commission for offering a “virtual pitcher” that pours a pre-determined amount of beer from a metered beer tap.

    Munich wasn’t the only city to celebrate Oktoberfest. Last weekend, the West Bank town of Taybeh had its celebration, which drew Palestinians of all factions along with curious Israelis.

    OpposingViews.com website has a round-up stories about changing alcohol regulations. Did you know that homebrewing is still illegal in Alabama and Mississippi?

    Florida entrepreneur David Brunson is turning old refrigerators into “Pub Hubs” holding two to four kegs of beer. A Pub Hub will cost you between $790 and $1,100.

    An Irish journalist offers a beer travel suggestion: head for southern Bohemia. That region of the Czech Republic has fresh beer, inexpensive and reliable transportation, and no drunken stag partiers.

    It’s hop harvest season, and Jason Notte of TheStreet.com has compiled his list of the ten best fresh-hop ales. As you might expect, most of these are brewed in the Pacific Northwest.

    Finally, the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide reached a milestone: its 40th edition. To celebrate, Chiltern Brewery made a Ruby Anniversary Ale, a one-off beer that blends ancient and modern ingredients.

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