Josh Noel of the Chicago Tribune attended the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer, which recently took place in Chicago. His takes on the 14th edition of this event:
- The beer is good, and getting better. He rates 20 percent of the beers “genius”, and another 60 percent “good to very good”. The “undrinkable” beers likely sat in the barrel too long.
- John Laffer, the co-founder of Off Color Brewing in Chicago, has emerged as a star. He’s an alumnus of Goose Island Brewing Company’s barrel-aging program.
- Festival-goers didn’t shun Goose Island on account of it having been taken over by Anheuser-Busch. If the beer is good, they want it.
- It’s possible to brew bad sour beer. The style “requires layers and nuance.”
- The best thing about the festival is discovering new beers. One, in particular, was Peach Climacteric from Colorado-based WeldWerks Brewing. Co-founder Neil Fisher was amazed that attendees knew so much about his new brewery. fisher said, “You guys have a very connected beer culture here.”
On this date in 1908, the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. Managed by Frank Chance of “Tinker to Evers to Chance” fame, they beat the Detroit Tigers, 4 games to 1. Cubs fans are hoping their team can end their 108-year drought in this year’s playoffs.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Detroit, where Ludwig’s beloved Lions will sell $3.50 beers during Sunday’s game against the L.A. Rams. The way the Lions are playing, fans need a few to get them through the game.
D.G. Yuengling & Son is waging a last-ditch fight against the pending merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller. Yuengling argues that A-B is trying to keep it out of new markets.
German scientists have found that beer causes less liver damage than hard liquor. The reason? Hops may inhibit the formation of reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells in the liver.
Ken Pagan, the Toronto-area man accused of throwing a beer can at a player during a baseball game, better have his lawyer warming up. A Canadian attorney discusses Pagan’s legal problems.
Two Copenhagen men have taken the idea of freeze-dried coffee and applied it to four of their craft beers. They’ve created instant versions of a coffee beer, a fruity IPA, a wild-yeast IPA, and a pilsner.
After a church in Canyon, Texas, ran an anti-alcohol ad in the local paper, an establishment called the Imperial Taproom offered a discount to customers who brought in a copy of the ad.
Finally, Fat Head’s Brewery had a very short reign as “Mid-Sized Brewing Company of the Year” at the Great American Beer Festival. Officials revoked the award after concluding that Fat Head’s, which has three locations, had been misclassified.
On this day in 1314, Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce scored a decisive victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. However, England wouldn’t recognize Scottish independence for another 14 years.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in New Jersey, where the Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company has rolled out an ale that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Matawan Creek shark attacks. A brewery co-owner describes 1916 Shore Shiver as—you knew this was coming—“a beer with bite”.
According to a recent Harris poll, craft beer drinkers consume less alcohol than non-craft-beer drinkers. They also exercise more often and pay greater attention to nutrition labels on food.
Scientists in Belgium have found that the music you listen affects your perception of the beer you drink. For instance, a “Disney-style track” caused people to rate beers as tasting sweeter, while deep, rumbling bass made beer taste more bitter.
ESPN has a video featuring “Fancy Clancy”, who has worked as a beer vendor at Baltimore Orioles games for more than 40 years. Clancy has sold more than 1 million beers, and considers Opening Day his Christmas.
The Lumbee Tribe, the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi, has sued Anheuser-Busch and a local Budweiser distributor. The suit alleges that the distributor used the tribe’s logo and slogan without permission.
If you’re visiting Milwaukee this summer, you can sign up for a Beer Titans History bus tour or a Beer Capital of the World history and beer tour. Or both, if have the time.
Finally, Australian researchers have isolated the yeast from a bottle of beer that survived a 1797 shipwreck, and re-created beers using recipes from two-plus centuries ago. The yeast is the only known strain to pre-date the Industrial Revolution.
Andy Crouch, who writes the “Unfiltered” column at BeerAdvocate.com, has a warning for craft beer snobs. The insults you hurl at big breweries, and those who drink their beers, are not only wearing thin but also brand you as an elitist.
Crouch accuses snobs of playing right into the hands of the big breweries. Anheuser-Busch’s “Brewed The Hard Way” and “Not Backing Down” ads tout Budweiser as “not small,” “not sipped” and “not a fruit cup”. And those ads are resonating with beer drinkers.
Worse yet, beer snobs have become a recurring punch line on prime-time TV. Crouch says, “Want to signal to the audience that a character is an unbearable jerk? Put a six-pack of fancy beer in his hand as he walks into the party. Worse yet, have him try and offer one of his high priced beauties to another character and then watch him get flatly rejected.”
On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, beginning the first-ever solo trans-Atlantic flight. Five years later, Amelia Earhart became the first female aviator to accomplish that feat.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in the halls of justice, where Flying Dog Ales will fund a “First Amendment Society” with the settlement money the state of Michigan paid it. The courts ruled that Michigan violated Flying Dog’s constitutional rights by denying it permission to market Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA.
The Brooklyn Brewery has signed a long-term lease under which it will build a beer garden, brewing facility, and restaurant on the site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard..
A Munich court ordered the Hofbraukeller beer hall to honor its contract to host an event hosted by a far-right political party. In 1919, Adolf Hitler delivered his first-ever political speech at the Hofbraukeller.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, soon to be the new home of the Atlanta Falcons, will have the cheapest beer in the National Football League: $5. It will also offer $3 hot dogs and $2 Coca-Colas.
Some of the biggest names in Chicago’s beer community have joined an effort to raise funds to build the Chicago Brewseum. It will serve beer made on-premises by guest brewers.
Former major-leaguer Brandon Laird, now playing for Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, won himself a year’s supply of beer after hitting a home run off the Kirin Brewery sign at the Tokyo Dome.
Finally, the Saugatuck Brewing Company wasted no time poking fun at Anheuser-Busch’s rebranding of Budweiser as “America”. Its parody beer, “‘Murica”, is brewed in a style America’s founders might describe as “Freedom,” and the process is naturally overseen by 1,776 bald eagles.
Ludwig is on Christmas break, and won’t be back until January 4. In the meantime, Maryanne and Paul are filling in for him.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Richmond, Virginia, where it’s been a banner year for craft beer. Four new breweries and a meadery have opened their doors; and Stone Brewing Company will start up next spring.
Anheuser-Busch is giving Bud Light cans a makeover. Alissa Walker of Gizmodo.com says the can’s new design signals an end to the brand’s frat-boyish “Whatever” campaign.
Responding to a new Indonesian law banning beer sales in convenience stores, Diageo is brewing a non-alcoholic version of Guinness to be sold in that country. It’s called “Guinness Zero.”
More than 30 Arizona breweries are collaborating on an all-female-brewed beer. It’s a red IPA, and proceeds from its sale will go to Go Red for Women, an American Heart Association charity.
Despite Zimbabwe’s economic collapse, people are finding solace in beer. Observers say that bars in the capital city, Harare, are packed with holiday revelers.
Manhattan resident Leif Nelson has sued Miller Brewing Company for falsely representing that Foster’s is brewed in Australia. Brewing operations were moved to Texas in 2011.
Finally, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that people drink more on days when they exercise more. Perhaps they’re drinking to extend the “buzz” that physical activity brings.
Ludwig is on Christmas break, and won’t be back until January 4. Maryanne and Paul will be filling in for him. In the meantime, Ludwig left a plate of cookies, his heartiest Season’s Greetings, and an early version of…
We begin in Chicago, where Patti Wetli of DNAInfo.com takes us back to the Great Chicago Beer Riot of 1855. Hundreds of armed Germans stormed the city’s courthouse to protest the enforcement of liquor laws they considered anti-immigrant.
Queen City Q, a Charlotte-based chain of barbecue restaurants, has taken Anheuser-Busch products off the menu in protest of A-B’s allegedly pressuring distributors to stop handling craft beer.
Long Island’s Barrage Brewing Company has released two beers for Seinfield fans. They’re infused with Snickers and chocolate babka, foods that starred in the sitcom.
In Montreal, some cab drivers are competing with Uber by selling beer and cigarettes to passengers. Those sales are illegal, but the cabbies argue that Uber’s business model is illegal, too.
TravelPulse.com has compiled a scorecard of major U.S. airlines’ craft beer selections. Alaska and Delta Airlines lead the pack, Spirit Airlines ranked last, and Southwest Airlines showed the biggest improvement.
A federal appeals court has upheld an Indiana law that requires convenience stores to sell beer at room temperature. Liquor stores, which bar under-21s from entering, are allowed to sell cold beer.
Finally, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Beer Camp will return next year. The first stop on this six-city national tour will be Tampa on June 4. Sierra Nevada and 30 regional breweries will also brew a series of collaborative 12-packs.
Reuters reports that New Belgium Brewing Company has hired the advisory firm Lazard Middle Market, which has worked with other craft breweries exploring a possible sale. According to people familiar with the matter, New Belgium’s valuation could exceed $1 billion, the price Constellation Brands paid for Ballast Point Brewing Company.
Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch announced that it has acquired Arizona’s leading craft brewer, Four Peaks Brewing Company. Known for its Kilt Lifter Scottish-style ale, Four Peaks becomes the sixth brewery in A-B’s craft division, The High End.