The Friday Mash (Charlie Hustle Edition)

Thirty years ago today, Pete Rose, the Cincinnati Reds’ player-manager, broke Ty Cobb’s record for most career hits with his 4,192nd hit. Rose would play one more season, his 24th in Major League Baseball, before retiring.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Reno, Nevada, where restaurant owner Bill Wall won this year’s Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off. Wall says his secret to success is “just a lot of cold beers and a little bourbon.”

Texas’ alcohol regulators have ruled that bars and grocery stores can’t sell “crowlers” of beer to go. The 32-ounce containers are cans, and state law provides that only brewers can sell canned beer.

NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has built an empire selling everything from steaks to children’s clothes. Now he’s teaming up with South Loop Brewing Company to produce Witka beer, a witbier to be served in his restaurant chain.

Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, is one of Africa’s leading beer destinations. The country’s first European settlers were Germans, and the Reinheitsgebot is still honored there.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have pinpointed the origin of Saccharomyces eubayanus, aka lager yeast. In 15th century Bavaria, ale yeasts used by the monks “intermarried” with other strains and eventually created a stabilized hybrid.

Wild hops grow in Park City, Utah. The hop plants, descendants of those brought to the town by immigrants, will be used by Wasatch Brewery in a special-release beer.

Finally, why did the Kroger Company pay $26 million for 19 cases of Miller Lite beer? The answer is Ohio’s liquor code, which requires retailers to have an “agency contract” with the state. Kroger and other chains are paying top dollar to acquire those contracts from smaller stores.

Heineken to Acquire a Stake in Lagunitas

Another European brewery has agreed to acquire a stake in American craft brewery. This time, the European company is Heineken NV, and the American company is Lagunitas Brewing Company, the country’s fifth-largest craft brewery. The deal, under which Heineken will take a 50-percent stake in Lagunitas, will close by year’s end.

Tony Magee, Lagunitas’ founder, explained why he agreed to the acquisition. He cited his age (“55, going on 80”) and his desire to distribute Lagunitas world-wide with a partner he could trust. Magee stressed that he wouldn’t have sold an interest to either Anheuser-Busch InBev or Miller Coors, and that he had initiated talks with Heineken. He will also continue to head the company after the deal is completed.

Brooklyn: Ghosts of Breweries Past

Once upon a time, Brooklyn, New York, was a claimant for the title of the nation’s brewing capital. During the 1850s, Meserole Street was “Brewers Row,” with at least a dozen breweries; and the brewery owners built grand homes for their families on Bushwick Avenue.

Two breweries, Schaefer and Rheingold, dominated Brooklyn—and the New York area’s brewing industry–in the 20th century. Then came Prohibition, labor unrest, and industry consolidation. Both breweries closed in 1976, though Schaefer is still brewed under contract by Pabst. Today, little remains of the Schaefer and Rheingold brewery complexes. The last of the Schaefer buildings are being demolished to make way for Brooklyn’s modern-day growth industry: housing.

A small-scale brewing revival might be coming. Braven Brewing, whose beers are brewed upstate, hopes to acquire space in Brooklyn and open for business next year. And Steve Hindy, the founder of Brooklyn Brewery, is already looking for new facilities in the borough, even though the brewery’s current lease doesn’t expire until 2020.

The Friday Mash (L.A. Edition)

On this day in 1781, forty-four Spanish settlers founded El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola) in southern California. The settlement eventually acquired the friendlier name, “Los Angeles.”

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Colorado, where two men got into the beer business without brewing. Last year they formed Inland Island Yeast Laboratories, whose customers include three dozen local micros.

Japanese beer taxes are steep, but the government is about to give brewers a break. It will also change the century-old definition of beer, which requires it to contain at least two-thirds malt.

Darrin Wingard, of West Caln, Pennsylvania, has drunk a new beer on each of the last 1,100 days. You can follow his beer adventures on his Instagram account, newbeeraday.

Synek, a packaging company, has unveiled a self-contained countertop tap system that dispenses 128-ounce cartridges of beer that will stay fresh for a month. A home version retails for $289.

Aficionados keep rare beers in their cellar, sometimes for years. However, cellaring might be the wrong thing to do with hoppy beers because hop flavor is the first thing to fade as time passes.

Last weekend, Brian Harman became the third golfer in PGA Tour history to shoot two holes-in-one in the same round. He celebrated by treating the media to $3,000 worth of beer and whiskey.

Finally, British writer Pete Brown laments his government’s failure to grasp that people drink to achieve a state somewhere between sobriety and drunkenness. The English language doesn’t even have a word for that state.

Beer….By the Numbers

  • Beer trademark requests in the United Kingdom in 2014: 1,485.
  • Increase over 2013: 12 percent.
  • Alcoholic content of Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser double IPA: 8.4 percent.
  • Alcoholic content of Rebel IPA: 6.5 percent.
  • Alcoholic content of Rebel Rider session IPA: 4.5 percent.
  • India pale ale’s share of the U.S. craft beer market: 21 percent.
  • Seasonal beers’ share of the U.S. craft beer market: 15-25 percent.
  • Recent price of a barrel of West Canadian select oil: C$30.23 ($22.73 U.S.).
  • Recent price of a 24-pack of Molson Canadian in British Columbia: C$32.35 ($24.32 U.S.).
  • Mississippi’s current brewery count: 10.
  • Mississippi’s brewery count in 2012: 1.
  • Winning men’s time at this year’s Beer World Mile Classic: 5:09, by current world record holder Lewis Kent.
  • Winning women’s time at this year’s Beer World Mile Classic: 6:48, by Caitlin Batten.
  • Increase in organic beer production between 2013 and 2014: 20.7 percent.
  • Organic breweries taking part in this year’s North American Organic Brewers Festival: 36.
  • Good Beer Comes to The Big Easy

    The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has inspired a spate of stories about New Orleans’ revival. One story, by Nora McGunnigle, describes how her hometown has finally developed a taste for craft beer.

    There are multiple theories as to why craft beer got off to such a slow start, including stringent zoning restrictions, inconsistent state regulations, and, especially, the perception that beer was just a thirst-quencher. What reversed that trend was food, which Louisiana is famous for. People have discovered that good beer not only has flavor, but also pairs well with the local cuisine.

    In the ten years since the storm, breweries have opened across southern Louisiana. NOLA Brewing was the first production brewery to open in New Orleans proper after the storm. The second, Courtyard Brewing, opened last year. Meanwhile, the city’s beer bars have discovered that there’s a demand for good beer, and its restaurants have started to offer beer-friendly menus.

    The Friday Mash (Henry Hudson Edition)

    On this day in 1609, explorer Henry Hudson became the first European to discover Delaware Bay. If you live near Cape May, New Jersey, or Lewes, Delaware, you can celebrate on Saturday at a beer festival held in two different states, but on the same bay.

    And now….The Mash! 

    We begin in North Carolina, where festivals have been the target of a summer crackdown on liquor code violations. Organizers contend that the rules are obsolete and confusing.

    Mitsubishi Plastic has overcome a major obstacle to putting beer in plastic bottles. The company added a thin carbon film, which greatly reduces the loss of oxygen, to the inside of the bottles.

    Joe Stange of Draft magazine has a word of warning: American “session beers” are much stronger than their British counterparts, which means they’ll make you drunker than you think.

    When California’s She Beverage Company applied for a trademark for the “Queen of Beers,” Anheuser-Busch InBev filed a notice of opposition. A-B claims She’s marketing is almost identical to its marketing of the “King of Beers.”

    A Denver-area brewery will serve “marijuana beer” at next month’s Great American Beer Festival. It doesn’t contain THC, which is against federal law, but does include cannabis oil.

    Venture capitalist Robert Finkel has made an unusual career move. His brewery, Forbidden Root, specializes in beer made with botanic ingredients, including lemon myrtle which costs $75 a kilo.

    Finally, a Detroit Free Press correspondent went to a festival where the taps are open all night and attendees can walk to bed. It was the sixth annual Michigan Homebrew Festival, which continues the brewing competition once held at the Michigan State Fair.

    The Heyday of Genny Cream Ale

    Fifty years ago, there were Americans who drank ale, and there were breweries that catered to their thirst for that style. For a while, the top-selling ale in the U.S. was Genesee Cream Ale. Rochester New York-based Genessee Brewery introduced it in 1960 as a middle ground between two other “Genny” products: Dickens Dry Ale, which proved too dry for most beer drinkers; and the more-robust 12 Horse Ale.

    At one point, Genny Cream Ale accounted for one-third of the brewery’s production, about 1 million barrels in all–quite an accomplishment for a brand distributed almost exclusively in the Northeast. Before it faded, Genny Cream Ale set the standard for cream ale, which is one of the few beer styles that originated in the United States.

    The Friday Mash (Captain Cook Edition)

    On this day in 1770, sea captain James Cook formally claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain, calling it “New South Wales.” Cook’s fleet carried four tons of beer, which were gone within a month of heading out.

    And now….The Mash! 

    We begin on U.S.-Canadian border, where Detroit’s Batch Brewing Company and Windsor, Ontario’s Motor Craft Ales are collaborating on Canucky Common, a Kentucky common ale.

    The beer fad of 2015 is alcoholic root beer. Products such as Not Your Dad’s Root Beer look and taste much like the soft drink, but the leading brands carry close to a 6-percent alcoholic punch.

    Blue Bell ice cream, beloved by southerners, is about to go back on the market. Carla Jean Whitley of recommends five pairings of Blue Bell and Alabama-brewed craft beer.

    South Korea’s parliament has made it easier for craft breweries to enter the market, but those breweries still struggle to comply with a host of other regulations.

    In addition to carnival rides a parade of presidential hopefuls, this year’s Iowa State Fair featured subfreezing draft beer. Air bubbles keep the liquid moving to keep the beer that cold.

    New Jersey-based Cape May Brewing is making a beer to celebrate Pope Francis’s visit to the United States this fall. It’s an India pale ale called YOPO (“You Only Pope Once”).

    Finally, the slogan “breakfast of champions” takes on a new meaning. General Mills, which trademarked it, is collaborating with Minneapolis’s Fulton Beer to create a beer called HefeWheaties.”

    Comic Book History of Beer

    Comic books have become mainstream, even for those over 21. That trend inspired three men—illustrator Aaron McConnell, writer Jonathan Hennessey, and professional brewer Mike Smith—to write The Comic Book Story of Beer.

    This 173-page book covers 9,000 years from the beginnings of agriculture—necessitated by brewing, they maintain—and explains the economic, cultural, and scientific facets of beer. There are factoids you might not know, such as covered beer steins were invented during the Black Death, when piles of bodies on the streets attracted flies, or that the Vienna Lager style of beer was born out of a 19th-century act of industrial espionage.

    Although the authors want to educate their readers, they also want the learning to be fun. They use little Lego men breaking things apart to explain how enzymes break up sugar molecules and little “yeast-bots” to depict fermentation, and their depiction of the malt-roasting process is based on a story by Dr. Seuss.

    The Comic Book Story of Beer will be available next month.

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