Geoff and Marcy Larson, owners of the Alaskan Brewing Company, overcame long odds in building a successful business. During the 1970s, a German brewing company opened Prinz Brau in Anchorage. Despite generous incentives from the state government, Prinz Brau went under after three years.
When the Larsons decided to open a brewery, it appeared that Alaska was too isolated and too thinly populated to support one. The local banks turned them down for financing, so they ended up raising funds from more than 80 individuals.
In December 1986, the Juneau-based company shipped its first beer: 253 cases of Chinook Alaskan Amber Beer, as it was called then. Shipping is problematic in Alaska: the beer had to be ferried to Haines, then trucked to Anchorage. And, because locally-grown hops and barley weren’t available, the Larsons resorted to a pre-Prohibition recipe that called for the sparing use of hops.
Alaskan’s beer gained a following at home, and its reputation spread. Today, it’s distributed to 16 of the “Lower 48” states.
On this day in 1844, the last two known great auks were killed. These large flightless penguin-like birds, which lived in the North Atlantic, were hunted to extinction because their down was in high demand in Europe.
And on that auk-ward note…The Mash!
We begin in China, where designer Li Rongjun has built an office out of 8,500 empty beer bottles. Rongjun has a degree in construction from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology.
Lagunitas Brewing Company will build a third brewery in Asuza, California. The new plant, with a projected capacity of more than 400,000 barrels a year, is expected to open in early 2017.
Molson’s Beer Fridge will make an appearance at this month’s Pan-American Games in Toronto. The latest edition will dispense a free Molson to those who say “I Am Canadian” in any of 40 languages.
Anita Brown, an artist in Los Angeles, has designed beers for each of the books in the Harry Potter series. They include Pilsner of Azkaban, Amber of Secrets, and Deathly Hops (h/t Jay Brooks).
Queen is the latest rock group to release its own beer. It’s a pilsner that will be called—what else?—Bohemian Rhapsody. The bottle’s design features a crest designed by Freddie Mercury himself while he was in college.
5 Rabbit Cerveceria has pulled a custom-brewed batch of ale from Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico. 5 Rabbit’s founder, is a native of Costa Rica.
Finally, New Orleans is rarely associated with German culture, but Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, a year-round, Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall, will open this summer in the city’s Warehouse District.
If you bought Beck’s beer, you may be eligible for a refund. Anheuser-Busch InBev has settled a class-action lawsuit which alleged that the brewery deceived consumers by representing Beck’s as a German product when in fact it’s brewed in St. Louis. Beck’s buyers who’ve saved receipts from their purchases can claim a refund of up to $50. Those who can’t produce receipts may be entitled to as much as a $12 refund.
Many other beers associated with foreign countries—including Red Stripe, Fosters, and Killian’s Irish Red—are brewed in the U.S. However, those beers’ packaging identifies them as domestically-made. As part of the settlement, A-B will change Beck’s labeling to identify it as American-made.
The idea of brewing foreign brands of beer in the U.S. was inspired by the auto industry. European and Japanese automakers have moved much of their production to American plants, which resulted in a substantial decrease in shipping costs. Those costs are a concern for breweries because it’s so expensive to transport beer from overseas to the U.S.
Seventy years ago today, representatives of 50 countries meeting in San Francisco signed the Charter of the United Nations. The UN’s original five Security Council members were the U.S., Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China (Taiwan)–which shows up in this week’s Mash.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Chicago, where Goose Island Brewing Company is launching a series of beers brewed by its alumni. First up is Greg Hall, who returned 27 years after his first day on the job.
Duquesne Brewing Company is rolling out a beer honoring Joe Paterno. Part of the proceeds from the Vienna-style lager will go to charities chosen by the late coach’s family.
Carlsberg Brewing, with 8 percent of the world beer market, is pitching a line of grooming products to the men who drink its beer. The product line includes shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.
Beer has been linked to “man boobs”. But even though hops contain phytoestrogen, it’s found in many other foods. The real culprit is calories, not beer itself.
Chestnuts aren’t just for roasting on an open fire. Dennis Fulbright, professor emeritus at Michigan State University, says they make for sweeter, smoother beers—which are also gluten-free.
A Portland, Oregon, a beer hall that opens next month will pay its workers at least $15 an hour, and will enforce a no-tipping policy. Beers, sandwiches, and sausages will cost $6 apiece.
Finally, the Wunderman Taiwan brewery gave a new meaning to starting a “buzz.” It dressed up drones as bees to deliver its new Honey Beer to office workers.
Aaron Goldfarb of Esquire magazine has some friendly advice for craft beer fans: don’t abuse your sampling privileges. Even though Goldfarb understands the purpose of asking for samples, he comments, “I can’t tell you how much of my life I must sit around thirsty and sober because some yahoo has asked for taste after taste after ceaseless taste of that kölsch (too boring) and then that gose (too salty) and finally that gueuze (too tart!) before simply ordering his old standby.”
Craft beer notwithstanding, national-brand lagers still dominate the American beer market. It’s an enigma that economist Ranjit Dighe decided to figure out. What he discovered is that Americans’ taste for bland beer might as “well run in their veins”: we’ve preferred bland beers for more than a century.
The world-wide temperance movement of the 19th century earns some of the blame. In some countries, like England, beer was promoted as a “temperance beverage,” which had a lower alcohol content than spirits and wine. But the same argument didn’t quite fly here. We didn’t just gravitate to beers, but also opted for beers with the lowest alcohol content.
In the century that followed, a number of events held back Americans’ appreciation of stronger beers. During Prohibition and after Repeal, people shied away from hoppier beers. Then came World War II. Grain rations and price controls made it impossible to brew stronger, more-flavorful beers. At the same time, GIs fighting overseas were treated to low-alcohol beer; and they brought their tastes back to the States. After that came the 1970s, which brought in an era of “less filling” light version of national-brand beers.
One might that argue we’ve never recovered. One of the biggest craft-beer trends this year is “Session IPAs,” with lower ABVs and less hop content.
One hundred and fifty years ago today, slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed of their freedom–which actually had been granted more than two years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation. The anniversary, known as “Juneteenth,” is officially celebrated in 42 states.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Mystic, Connecticut, where members of the StoneRidge retirement community are brewing their own beer. Why not? It’s educational, it’s fun, and it’s beer!
Massachusetts has strange liquor laws, one of which bans breweries from donating beer to charity events. Oddly, the ban—enacted by the legislature in 1997—doesn’t apply to wine donations.
“Sweet Baby Jesus” is DuClaw Brewing Company’s flagship beer. However, an Ohio grocery chain has pulled the beer from its shelves after customers complained about the name.
The New York State Brewers Association has created Statewide Pale Ale. The beer, made entirely with in-state ingredients, is projected to raise $20,000 for the association.
What is the link between Magna Carta and the English pint? According to Britain’s Communities Minister, the “London quarter” mentioned in the 800-year-old document is equivalent to two imperial pints.
There are hard-to-find beers, and there are truly rare beers, which make “Pappy Van Winkle seem as easy to find as a can of Coke.” Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb acquaints you with ten of them.
Finally, DNA meets IPA. Gianpaolo Rando, a European chemist who loves beer, wants to sequence the DNA more than 100 different beers in the hopes of producing an app that will match beers to drinkers’ own hereditary makeup.
In 2011 Boston Beer Company chairman Jim Koch recruited Alan Newman, co-founder of Magic Hat Brewing Company, to head the company’s “Alchemy and Science” venture, an incubator for developing new craft beverages.
Four years, millions of dollars, and thousands of hours of Newman’s time have paid off. Some of those beverages are coming to market. One of them is Traveler, a line of shandies that will be distributed nationwide by the end of this year. Other graduates of the incubator include Los Angeles-based Angel City Brewing and Concrete Beach, a brewery in Miami. Those companies are based in cities Boston Beer describes as “underdeveloped craft beer markets.”
On this day in 1939, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, New York. Currently, 310 people are enshrined in the Hall. They will be joined this summer by Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez, and John Smoltz.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Bavaria, where President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel rankled traditionalists by drinking non-alcoholic weissbier during the G-7 conference of world leaders.
Collaborative brewing has taken off in the past few years. One notable collaboration is the one between San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Company and Belgium’s St. Feuillien.
Snoop Dogg has filed a breach of contract suit against Pabst Brewing Company. He contends that the brewery’s sale of Colt .45 triggered a clause entitling him to part of the purchase price.
You’ll have to wait to buy a bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout in New Hampshire. Citing the state’s underage-drinking problem, Governor Maggie Hassan vetoed legislation that would allow children to be depicted on beer labels.
Tech Times has assembled a list of 13 beer apps for Android and IoS that are generally rated at the top of their category:
Hard cider sales have skyrocketed in Central Europe, the home of the world’s heartiest beer drinkers. Global brands like Heineken and SABMiller are trying to cash in on the trend.
Finally, Josh Noel of the Chicago Tribune hosted a panel of beer experts headlined by Randy Mosher at the famed Map Room to discuss the state of craft brewing. There are more than 60 breweries in Chicagoland.