North Korea is known primarily for saber-rattling, concentration camps, and a line of dictators named Kim. But the country has a surprisingly large range of beers and a thriving microbrewery culture.
It was beer that lured Josh Thomas, an American who lives in Hong Kong and works in the advertising industry, to North Korea. He found that North Korea’s citizens love beer as much as we do, and that they’ve been able to brew a quality product in spite of embargoes and supply shortages. Ales and steam beers are common because electricity is in short supply, making it impossible to provide the refrigeration that lager beers need. Much of North Korea’s beer is microbrewed because fuel scarcity and the lack of paved roads make it difficult to ship beer. The best beer Thomas had during his stay was a wheat beer at the Paradise Microbrewery, whose equipment “would rival any US microbrewery.”
Thomas has some advice for would-be beer travelers to North Korea: Don’t go there unless you have a deep understanding of the country’s culture and are prepared to digest big portions of Communist dogma with your brew.
Charles Bamforth, the head of Malting and Brewing Science at UC Davis, has prepared a five-minute video titled “The Art and Science of Beer.” Take good notes, because this will be on the final.
On this day in 1936, Gone with the Wind was published. Author Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book. Three years later, it was adapted into an Academy Award–winning film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. Ludwig recommends that you celebrate with an Atlanta-brewed micro–420 Extra Pale Ale, for instance.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in South Africa, where campers at the OppiKoppi music festival will be able to order drone-delivered beer. The drones are currently hand-guided, but will eventually fly on a GPS grid.
Here’s yet another reason to visit southwest Florida: craft brewing. Two breweries and a brewpub recently opened, and two more breweries are planning to open.
Why do so many bars serve peanuts? Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t because the nuts make you thirstier. Rather, the salt in peanuts helps counter the bitterness in beer, making it easier to swallow.
Ashley Rouston, The Beer Wench, is once again accepting nominations for the 2013 Most Eligible Bachelors of Beer. Nominees must work in the craft-brewing industry and must not be married or engaged.
Higher zymurgical education is coming to Colorado State University. The will build a microbrewery, and will also offer a major in fermentation science and technology.
The Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain is teaming up with Redhook Ale Brewery to brew its own beer. And yes, it will pair will with BW3’s wings.
Finally, beer yeast can be engineered to produce artemisinic acid, the most effective anti-malaria treatment in existence. Until now, that ingredient was both expensive and hard to find.
Journalist and beer enthusiast Tom Acitelli has published a new book, The Audacity of Hops, which explores the craft beer revolution. The author, recently interviewed by Cassandra Garrison of Metro magazine, said that he initially approached the craft beer industry as a business story.
Acitelli said that he discovered craft beer had intersected with a number of culinary trends, and with cities’ economies. Asked what sparked the “craft beer revolution,” he pointed to a 1976 law that gave small brewers a break on federal excise tax and, of course, the legalization of homebrewing two years later. Along with that came a shift in public opinion away from homogenized beer and toward locally-sourced products.
Can you believe it? The Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beer, will turn 30 next year. In that time, the company has grown from founder Jim Koch’s kitchen table to a business with revenue of $630 million. Koch, who remembers being turned down for financing by banks, has made millions of dollars in “microloans,” and dispensed business advice, to aspiring brewers.
Catherine Clifford of Entrepreneur magazine has boiled down Koch’s advice to three basic principles. First, never forget your product. Second, hire slowly and cautiously–but don’t hesitate to fire someone who isn’t working out. And third, you are the best salesperson for your business. After all, you know it better, and care about it more, than anyone else.
On this day in 1785, John James Audubon was born. His major work is a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America. You might want to toast the great naturalist–or birds in general–with a Duck Duck Goose by Lost Abbey, one of the world’s top-rated beers.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Minneapolis, where the city’s last “3.2 bars” cling to life. Craft beer, changes to liquor laws, and Minnesota’s indoor smoking ban are killing off these venerable establishments.
Yuck! Student researchers at Clemson University examined balls used in beer pong games, and found them riddled with nasty germs including e.coli, salmonella, staph, and listeria.
This week’s craft beer fun fact: India pale ale accounts for 25.2 percent of all beer sold in Oregon. That’s all beer, not all craft beer.
In Sweden, the label for “Lust” beer ran afoul of regulators because it featured an anime image of a naked woman in a pool. It’s part of a “Seven Deadly Sins” beer series.
BeerHunt will reward you for drinking beer. The app, described as “a kind of Foursquare for beer,” will give you points, and ultimately prizes, for drinking craft, rare, and exotic beers.
Finally, an item from the Department of Acquired Tastes. A Japanese beer called Black Ivory Coffee is brewed from beans chewed up and pooped out by elephants. It’s style? A stout.
Even though spring is slow in coming this year, it’s almost time for American Craft Beer Week. And that means another election for this year’s Beer City USA.
Last year, Asheville, North Carolina, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, were declared co-winners. Both of those cities, along with 16 others, are already on the ballot for 2013. Beer lovers are invited to nominate other deserving cities in a “primary election”. Cities that get at least 400 votes will be added to the ballot, and voting closes at 11:59 pm (Mountain Standard Time) tomorrow.
You’ve got to envy fans of the San Francisco Giants. Not only has their favorite team won the World Series–and for the second time in three years–but the Giants’ home, AT&T Park, is ranked first for craft beer selection by AMOG magazine. Here’s why: their lineup card includes Lost Abbey, Highwater Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Russian River, North Coast, Alesmith, 21st Amendment, and Green Flash.
Rounding out the top five are Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia; Petco Park, San Diego; Safeco Field, Seattle; and PNC Park, Pittsburgh.
Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, is set to become the first American museum to make its own beer using equipment and techniques from the mid-19th century. The $3 million brewery, to be housed in a new building in the museum’s Kettering Family Education Center, will turn out a variety of both ales and lagers. The brewery will be tended by costumed actors. There will, of course, be a brewer in charge, and the museum is looking for someone who will not only make the beer but also help design the facility.
If all goes well, Carillon’s brewery will be operational by year’s end.
Today is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Eliot Ness, whose Prohibition agents in Chicago were so honest they were called “The Untouchables.” Even though Ness fell upon hard times later in life, he and his men have been immortalized in American popular culture.
And now…The Mash!
We begin at the Masters Golf Tournament, where Tiger Woods not only got penalized two strokes for an illegal ball drop, but also landed a tee shot in a fan’s beer. Fortunately, beers are only $4 at Augusta National.
The “Craft Beer Destination” concession stand at Yankee Stadium has been given a new name after writer Amanda Rykoff reported that all of its offerings were MillerCoors products.
No, it wasn’t your imagination. You were attracted to beer because its aroma and taste trigger your brain’s reward system and keep you coming back for more.
Jason Gardenhire has opened a microbrewery in Mexico, and is importing the beer to his home state of Colorado. Baja Brewing Company, based in Cabo San Lucas, is one of only a dozen or so Mexican micros.
A canning line costs more than $150,000, but craft breweries that don’t have that kind of money can hire a mobile canning line created by two west Michigan entrepreneurs.
Harry Kim and his friends tried to build a brewery in North Korea. Even though there was plenty of demand, the venture never got the final go-ahead from bureaucrats in Pyongyang.
Finally, California Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro has introduced legislation that would allow refilling another brewery’s growlers. The refilling brewery would have to place a sticker over the old brewery’s logo.