The Friday Mash (Great Fire of London Edition)

Three hundred and fifty years ago today, the Great Fire of London broke out. The blaze, famously described in the diaries of Samuel Pepys destroyed most of the city’s buildings, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and countless pubs.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Winnipeg, where a man dressed as a hockey goalie broke into a store and made off with some beer. It wasn’t even Canadian-brewed beer; he stole Budweiser. Speaking of the King of Beer, a man wearing a Batman costume swiped two 18-packs of Bud from an Upstate New York store.

Alan McLeod, the keeper of A Good Beer Blog, found a 200-year-old classified ad for a homebrewing machine that made beer without mashing. That sounds too good to be true, and probably is.

According to a poll of more than 100 college basketball coaches, Bob Huggins of West Virginia is the coach they’d most like to have a beer with. University of Kansas coach Bill Self finished second.

Miller Genuine Draft is a dying brand. A Milwaukee Record journalist visited a dozen bars in the city. Nine didn’t carry MGD; one bartender laughed at him, and another was offended that he even asked for it.

Breweries in Portland, Maine, are asking customers to rank the beers they’ve been served. It’s their effort to promote ranked-choice voting, aka instant-runoff, which will be on the November ballot.

Stephen Wilmot of the Wall Street Journal warns that the recent slowdown in craft beer’s growth won’t help the big breweries. One major reason is that wine and spirits—bourbon in particular—are growing even faster than craft.

Finally, a British brewery is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth with a beer brewed using yeasts scraped off of Dahl’s armchair. The beer will be served at the premiere of a stage adaptation of Dahl’s The Twits.

Beer Museums: A Tale of Three Cities

A group of aficionados in Pittsburgh are planning to open a beer and brewing museum, which they hope to be the beery equivalent of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The first phase of Brew: Museum of Beer is to open late next year; and eventually, the complex will have a Beer Hall of Fame and a 300-seat brewpub.

In Chicago, some of the biggest names in that city’s beer scene are behind an effort to build a Brewseum. The attraction will start out as a mobile exhibit housed in an RV, and will be open next year. Ninety miles to the north, efforts are underway to build a Museum of Beer & Brewing.

There’s no assurance that any of these projects will come to fruition. However, a museum currently exists. It is the National Brewery Museum, a joint venture between the Potosi Foundation and the American Breweriana Association, in Potosi, Wisconsin.

The Friday Mash (Votes for Women Edition)

On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect. It was ratified 42 years after Aaron Sargent, a Republican from California, first introduced a women’s suffrage resolution in the Senate.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Rio de Janiero, where souvenir cups of Ambev’s beer Skol were wildly popular at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Some fans spent hundreds of dollars to get Skol’s complete 42-cup collection.

With The Beer Tie, you can make a fashion statement and enjoy your beer at the same time. The tie is made of the same insulating, waterproof neoprene material as a standard drink koozie.

How much beer must “Bender”, the robot from Futurama, drink in order to keep his battery powered? According to Megan Logan of Inverse magazine, it’s 2.7 million liters. Per day.

The museum store at the Arizona Capitol could start selling local beer this fall. Alcohol isn’t exactly banned at the Capitol. Lawmakers are known to cary red Solo cups during late-night sessions.

The Innis & Gunn brewery offers a virtual-reality trip to Scotland to be enjoyed with a pint. The scientist who helped create the VR says that it connects the brain with the beer’s oak-aged tones.

Twenty-one years ago, Norwegian police ended an airplane hijacking by persuading the hijacker—who had been drinking heavily—to swap his loaded gun for a fresh supply of beer.

Finally, Suicide Squad actress Margot Robbie is a big fan of shower beers. She said that after a tough day of shooting, an ice-cold beer in a boiling-hot shower helps her fall asleep.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Percent of American adults who drink alcohol: 65.
  • Percent of American drinkers whose favorite beverage is beer: 43.
  • Percent whose favorite beverage is wine: 32.
  • Craft breweries’ share of the U.S. beer market: 7.8 percent.
  • Craft breweries’ share of malt used by U.S. breweries: 25 percent.
  • Number of Americans who brew their own beer: about 1.2 million.
  • Estimated annual production of home-brewed beer: more than 2 million.
  • Homebrewed beer’s portion of U.S. beer production: 1 percent.
  • Attendance at this year’s Belgrade Beer Festival: 480,000.
  • Beers served at this year’s Belgrade Beer Festival: 100.
  • Number of beer stands at this year’s Minnesota State Fair: 20.
  • Cost of a 12-ounce craft beer at the fair: $3.50-$6.
  • Cost of a 20-ounce craft beer at the fair: $6-$8.
  • Years since the first AleFest Dayton: 18.
  • Number of beers at this year’s AleFest Dayton: 430.
  • Beer Born From Disaster

    Draft magazine saluted craft brewers’ ingenuity by listing ten instances where they turned calamity into opportunity. These brewers suffered mislabeled ingredients, severe weather, and malfunctioning equipment, among other disasters. Instead of throwing out the messy ingredients, they improvised; the result was a popular—and in at least two instances, award-winning–beer.

    The most interesting story involves Innis & Gunn Original. It began when Dougal Sharp, then the head brewer at Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, brewed a Scottish ale for a distillery, which intended to use the ale to season its barrels. Distillery workers, however, loved the beer so much that they sneaked it home in bottles and empty buckets. Sharp, who knew he’d inadvertently brewed a winner, founded Innis & Gunn, which makes the original oak-aged ale to this day.

    The Friday Mash (”Old Ironsides” Edition)

    On this day in 1812, American frigate USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia. That victory earned her the nickname “Old Ironsides”; and an Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.’s 1830 poem of that name saved her from being decommissioned.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Bosnia, where an online post about homebrewing has, in just five years, grown into a flourishing craft-brewing industry—in a country where fruit brandy, not beer, has been the national beverage.

    Pyongyang, North Korea, is playing host to its first-ever beer festival. It was organized to promote Pyongyang-brewed Taedonggang beer, which is named after the Taedong River.

    Twenty years after the last shakeout in the craft beer sector, writer Lew Bryson sees another one coming. The good news is that the industry will rebound, and emerge stronger than ever.

    The Australian spreads Vegemite and Marmite are made from brewer’s yeast extract. Native Australians are using them to make homebrewed beer in towns where prohibition is in effect.

    Stone Brewing Company plans to open a beer-centric hotel across the street from its brewery in southern California. It will offer rare beer tappings along with room-service growlers.

    Bob Beamon, whose Olympic long-jump record set in Mexico City still stands, offered a free beer to any athlete who broke his record at the Rio Olympics. No one came close.

    Finally, MLS Soccer magazine has the rundown on where beer is sold at pro soccer matches. Germany is one of the beer-friendliest countries; you can drink in the stands at a Bundesliga match.

    Devil’s Backbone Catches Hell

    On Saturday, the fifth annual Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival will take place at Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company amid controversy.

    Devil’s Backbone is being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev. This means it will no longer qualify as a “craft brewery” making it ineligible to compete in the Virginia Craft Beer Cup, even though its Schwarzbier is a three-time Best of Show winner. In fact, this year’s awards ceremony was pulled from the festival, and will take place at a different venue.

    The A-B deal also means that Devil’s Backbone will no longer host the Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival. The state’s Craft Brewers Guild has decided to stage the 2017 event at a location to be determined. Meanwhile, Devil’s Backbone will host a new event as part of next year’s calendar of festivals and parties. The brewery says that it won’t conflict with the Craft Brewer’s Festival.

    Higher Zymurgical Education

    In the early 2000s Maureen Ogle, a professor at the University of South Alabama, set out to write a history of American brewing. She was surprised by how little had been written about the subject. That has begun to change. The spread of craft beer has led a number of American universities to make brewing studies part of their course offerings.

    Meanwhile, other professors are exploring beer’s relationship with American culture, economics, labor relations, and even gender.

    Randolph College professor J. Nikol Beckham brewed beer before turning her scholarly attention to it. The only African American woman in her community of homebrewers and enthusiasts, Beckham became interested in the relationship between beer and race. She discovered that during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some temperance advocates used ugly stereotypes of German immigrants and African-Americans to attack saloon culture. Drinking was portrayed as an affront to America’s dominant culture: white, Protestant, and sober.

    Beckham contends that after the repeal of Prohibition, scholars lost sight of the ties between beer and American history. That trend might be reversing itself. One example is the Smithsonian Institution’s search for a scholar. His or her job will include helping the National Museum of American History collect artifacts, and conducting field research for a project on brewing in the U.S., especially during the last 50 years.

    The Friday Mash (World Elephant Day Edition)

    Today is the sixth annual World Elephant Day, an observance created by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark. Its purpose is to increase awareness of these animals’ urgent plight.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Beaver, Pennsylvania, where local officials want to stop a restaurant from selling beer-infused waffles. The restaurant has a license to sell beer, but some believe the waffles abuse the privilege.

    Oh no! A shortage of pumpkin puree might endanger this year’s pumpkin beer releases. The culprits are unprecedented demand and drought conditions in pumpkin-growing regions.

    Vice.com’s Ilkka Siren, who grew up in Finland, went home to get better acquainted with sahti, a temperamental—and much-misunterstood style—that Finns have homebrewed for centuries.

    History buffs in Golden, Colorado, want to convert the Astor House hotel into a beer museum with brewing classes, tastings, food and beer pairings, and a look at Colorado brewing history.

    Defying the Standells’ song “Dirty Water”, six Massachusetts and brewing beer from the banks of the River Charles. The water is treated, of course.

    Craft beer is getting more expensive, for a variety of reasons: costlier raw materials, such as hops and water; higher wages; and bigger utility bills.

    Finally, Alabama’s craft brewers are crying foul over a proposed regulation that would require brewers to collect the name, address, age, and phone number from anyone who buys carry-out beer. The rule is aimed at enforcing the state’s limit on purchases.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. brewery count halfway through 2016: 4,656.
  • Increase over last year: 917.
  • Approximate number of breweries in planning: 2,200.
  • Corey Bellemore’s record-breaking time in the Beer Mile, set July 29: 4 minutes, 34.4 seconds.
  • Bellemore’s previous world record, set the day before: 4 minutes, 4 minutes, 39.6 seconds.
  • MillerCoors’s water-used-to-beer-brewed ratio in 2015: 3.29 to 1.
  • MillerCoors’s water-used-to-beer-brewed goal for 2020: 3 to 1.
  • Calories in a 12-ounce bottle of Molson XXX: 212.
  • Calories in a 12-ounce bottle of Budweiser Select 55: 55, of course.
  • U.S. craft beer exports to Belgium in 2015: 1,560 barrels.
  • U.S. beer imports from Belgium in 2015: 1.61 million barrels.
  • Westvleteren 12’s average score on RateBeer.com: 4.43 (highest on the site).
  • Natural Light’s average score on RateBeer.com: 1.06 (lowest on the site).
  • Number of beers poured at this year’s International Berlin Beer Festival: 2,400.
  • Countries represented at this year’s International Berlin Beer Festival: 87.
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