Today, Christians celebrate The Feast of the Epiphany. In Louisiana, this means Carnival season is underway. The local tradition is to bake King Cakes; and the person who finds the doll in his or her slice must bake the next cake.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in France, where the Benedictine monks at the 1,367-year-old Abbey of Saint-Wandrille are back in the business of brewing. They’re the country’s only producers of truly monastic beer.
In an interview with Paste magazine, 21st Amendment Brewery’s Nico Freccia talked about the fine art of naming beers, and how the brewery’s odd names has become mainstream.
When Tim Kliegl turned 65, he celebrated in unusual fashion—namely, by running a mile, and trying a new beer, every day for an entire year. And he’s got the notes to prove it.
Staffers at Amazon.com’s Christmas party in Dublin were treated to a special beer from local micro Metalman Brewing. Grainne Walsh, Metalman’s founder, once worked as an engineer at Amazon.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended lowering the DUI threshold to .05 percent, and a Utah lawmaker wants his state to be first. The current threshold in all states is .08.
Rick Astley, whose song “Never Gonna Give You Up” was part of a popular Internet prank, plans to “roll” out a beer. The lager, which will be brewed by Mikkeller, has yet to be named.
Finally, the The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company will celebrate its 150th anniversary by joining forces with the famous Hofbräu München. The amber-colored, Marzen-style will be introduced in April.
Economic reality forced many brewery entrepreneurs to set up shop in run-down urban neighborhoods where rents were low and residents–if there were any–were unlikely to object. It turns out that some of those breweries have revived their neighborhoods.
One example is Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where Brooklyn Brewery opened in 1996. At the time, its neighbors were mostly deserted warehouses and factories. Today, Brooklyn Brewery is surrounded by modern apartment buildings, bars, shops and restaurants. New residents are willing to spend money–a lot of it–to live there.
Cleveland’s Ohio City district, west of downtown, is another. Great Lakes Brewing opened in 1988. Its owners built a brewery and a brewpub from structures that once housed a feed store, a saloon, and a livery stable. Other businesses followed. Ohio City has actually gained population, even as the city as a whole lost population.
Other examples include South Boston (Harpoon Brewery); San Francisco’s SoMa (21st Amendment Brewery); and coming soon, the South Bronx’s Mott Haven section (Bronx Brewery).
On this day in 1785 the University of Georgia, the nation’s first public university, was established. The list of people who went to UGA includes Colonel Charles Beckwith, creator of the Army’s Delta Force; actress Kim Basinger; Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker; numerous Georgia governors; and the members of R.E.M.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Frederick, Maryland, where Flying Dog Ales plans to roll out 20 beers over the course of the year. One of them, a saison called Wildeman, is the first addition to the brewery’s year-round lineup since Raging Bitch hit the shelves in 2009.
The Houston Astros have announced that they’re reducing the price of beer at Minute Maid Field this coming season. The way the Astros are playing–they had the worst record in the majors last season–fans will need a few to get them through the game.
John Close of RacingNation.com insists that beer is “the official fuel of NASCAR”, pointing out that beer and auto racing have gone together for decades. Close says that the only beer-soaked event that draws more fans than NASCAR races is Munich’s Oktoberfest.
The Washington Beer Commission has announced that the second annual Washington Beer Open House will take place February 25. Among other things, participating breweries will offer food pairings, rare barrel tastings, and new seasonal releases.
If going to next month’s San Francisco Beer Week, Zambo, the head brewer at 21st Amendment Brewery has beer and restaurant recommendations. He also recommends the quirky Coit Tower.
The folks at Liveability magazine have compiled a list of the ten best “unexpected beer cities”. Expect to find good brew in unheralded places like Akron, Boise, and Chattanooga.
Finally, some good news for spring breakers headed to Florida. Cigar City Brewing Company will open a pub at Tampa International Airport in March. It’s part of a $6 million concessions upgrade.
On this day in 1773, a group of colonists called the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships and threw their cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. The Sons of Liberty were led by none other than Samuel Adams, whose smiling face nowadays adorns millions of bottles of ale and lager.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Quebec, where a number of breweries have gotten into barrel-aged beer. Some of their best, and strongest, offerings are now available for Christmas celebrations and gift-giving.
Need something to do on Sunday? Deborah Braconnier of Yahoo! Sports, who calls herself a life-long Denver Broncos fan, proposes a Tim Tebow drinking game.
The Pacific Northwest supplies most American-grown hops, but entrepreneurs elsewhere in the country, like Jeff and Bonnie Steinman of Plainwell, Michigan, are growing their own.
Cigar City Brewing decided not to use Winston Churchill on the label of its barleywine, even though it could legally do so in Florida, because the British statesman’s descendants objected.
Which craft brewery had the most creative packaging this year? Brian Stechschulte of All Over Beer, says it’s the 21st Amendment Brewery, whose four-packs for Allies Win the War look like a newspaper from 1945.
Will the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company open a second brewery in North Carolina? The brewery isn’t saying, but local media report that it’s meeting with local officials.
Finally, if you need an excuse to bring home some beer, the Beer Mapping Project has declared tomorrow National Growler Day.
February is Strong Beer Month at two San Francisco brewpubs: the Magnolia Pub & Brewery and the 21st Amendment Brewery. This event, now in its eighth year, will feature a rotating selection of vintage and barrel-aged beers.
Don’t forget: San Francisco Beer Week is February 5-14. It’s a ten-day week because of the abundnance of good beer in the Bay Area.