Amsterdam

The Friday Mash (Spanish Inquisition Edition)

On this day in 1834, the Spanish parliament formally disbanded the Inquisition, which was created in 1480 by monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It was revived in 1970 by the Monty Python troupe—when no one was expecting it.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Amsterdam, which is having a rainy summer. That’s good new for a group of entrepreneurs who are gathering rainwater and using to brew a pale ale called “Hemelswater: code blond”.

The newly-opened Tilted Mash Brewing got a big boost from judges at this year’s California State Fair. A third-place showing in the competitive Pale Ale category gave the brewery instant credibility.

Beer, then whiskey. Chicago’s Wander North Distillery is distilling beer mash from its next-door neighbor, Northgate Brewing. The first whiskey in the series is called Uncharted 1.

William Turton and Bryan Mengus of Gizmodo.com tried three popular brands of non-alcoholic beer. The best of the three “tasted like carbonated water with some beer flavoring thrown in”, the worst was “disgusting”.

Engineers at Heineken have discovered a way to dispense beer at high altitudes. Once the airline gets the necessary safety certificates, it will start serving in-flight draft beer.

How intense has beer trademark litigation gotten? Twelve lawyers filed challenges to Candace Moon’s application to trademark the phrase “Craft Beer Attorney”.

Finally, two IT consultants from Michigan have developed an app for beer festivals. It allows festival-goers to see what beers are available, develop a customized list, and rate the beers after tasting them.

The Friday Mash (PG-13 Edition)

On this day in 1984, the Motion Picture Association of America added “PG-13” to its film rating system. The new rating was created after parents and advocacy groups complained about the amount of violence in some PG-rated films.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in South Carolina, where a 20-year-old law forbids breweries to donate beer to non-profit organizations. This law—which state liquor agents are aggressively enforcing—effectively prevents small breweries from taking part in festivals.

In Las Vegas, Pub 365 plans to offer a rotating selection of 365 craft beers, including beer cocktails and a rare beer menu called the Unicorn List. Seasonals will make up one-fifth of the selection.

Market Watch’s Jason Notte writes that craft breweries are resorting to a tactic they once despised: establishing sub-brands for beers that may not fit the character of the brewery’s core business.

Starting next year, beer bikes will be banned from Amsterdam’s city center. Locals complained that the bikes, packed with bachelor partiers, have turned downtown into a drunken theme park.

The Washington Post’s Fritz Hahn has noticed a trend: the 16-ounce shaker pint is giving way to smaller glassware. It’s makes craft beer appear cheape, and it’s a more responsible way to serve high-gravity styles.

Thieves made off with two refrigerated trailers packed with 78,500 bottles of SweetWater Brewing Company’s beer. Police recovered some of the beer in a nearby warehouse—which, ironically, was a shooting location for the 1977 bootleg beer classic, Smokey and the Bandit.

Finally, Untappd, Inc., now offers “Untapped For Business”, which allows retailers to publish beer lists, share their menus with consumers, and notify customers that rare or sought-after beers are going to appear on store shelves.

The Friday Mash (”Going Once, Going Twice” Edition)

On this day in 1765, James Christie reportedly held his first auction in London. The company he founded has become an art business and fine arts auction house which, every year, sells billions of dollars worth of paintings and other valuable works.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kano, Nigeria, where police enforcing Sharia law destroyed more than 240,000 bottles of beer that were confiscated from supply trucks and Christian shopkeepers.

In Florida, beer in standard 64-ounce growlers remains illegal thanks to bottle laws passed many years ago. Oddly, it’s legal to sell beer in 32- and 128-ounce containers.

Remember Todd Ruggere, the man who drank a beer in every town in Massachusetts to raise money for cancer research? His next stop is Connecticut, which has 169 towns.

New Belgium Brewing Company is rolling out its tenth year-round beer: Snapshot Wheat, an unfiltered wheat beer with citrusy aroma from Target hops. It checks in at a sessionable 5 percent ABV.

LiveScience’s Stephanie Pappas explains the science behind a common party foul: the foam explosion out of a bottle of beer when you tap it. The tap creates waves which, in turn, create bubbles.

Another item from the world of science. Bricks made with five percent spent grain are nearly 30 percent better insulators, and just as strong as traditional bricks. The drawback? They smell of fermented grain.

Finally, some are defending an Amsterdam organization’s policy of paying hard-core alcoholics in beer to clean up city parks. The workers are healthier and better-behaved now that they’re being treated like humans.

The Friday Mash (Beware the Ides Edition)

Monday is the Ides of March, the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated. This has nothing to do with beer–the Romans considered beer a barbarian drink–but it does provide Ludwig with an excuse to use Roman numerals. He’d like to point out that since this blog went live, he’s roared a total of CCX times.

And now…The Mash:

If you’re a homesick American in Amsterdam, The Beer Temple has a cure. It calls itself “the first American bar in Europe”, and has 30 American beers on draft and more than 60 in bottles.

Is that beer you’re drinking really an import? Some beers we associate with countries like India, Japan, and Ireland are actually brewed in North America. Richard Steuven of the “Beer Me” blog names names.

According to the Brewers Assocation, last year was another strong year for craft beer sales. Sales increased by 7.3 percent by volume, and 10.3 percent by dollars. Craft brewing is now a $7 billion-a-year industry.

Debuting this year at the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park: The Public House, a year-round sports bar with one of the city’s largest draft and cask selections.

Finally, BeerNews.com has more info on “Strange Brew”, a sitcom about a small family-owned brewery that’s coming to Fox.

Dutch Courage: The Amsterdam Beer Bike

Amsterdam has a reputation for tolerance, but one recently-created pastime for tourists–the Amsterdam Beer Bike–is putting it to a test.

Here’s the deal: a group of tourists can rent a special 17-foot long bicycle equipped with a bar and–what else?–a karaoke machine, then cruise around the city streets while guzzling beer.

It’s great fun for the bikers, but some residents are fed up with the bikers’ antics, including verbal harassment, disregard for traffic rules, and even public urination. Riding the Beer Bike is risky, too: a group of women crashed their vehicle, resulting in injuries to several of them.

Criticism notwithstanding, the founder of one of the three companies that rent Beer Bikes insists the bikes have benefits: they make for a great team-building exercise, don’t leave much of a carbon footprint, and they’re a great way to see the city.

The bikes will be rolling in 2010, but under new regulations that limit beer consumption and require bikes to have a designated driver and follow pre-approved routes.

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