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The Friday Mash (Inauguration Day Edition)

Eighty years ago today, Franklin D. Roosevelt took the oath of office, beginning his second term as president. Roosevelt was first the president to be inaugurated on January 20 under the 20th Amendment. Previously, presidents were sworn in on March 4.

And now…The Mash!

We begin at the University of Leuven in Belgium, where scientists have found that brewers “tamed” beer yeasts by reusing them until they adapted to the brewery environment. In fact, brewery yeasts couldn’t survive if reintroduced into the wild.

At age 87, former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke drank a beer while watching the Aussie cricket team take on Pakistan. In college, Hawke set a world record by drinking a yard of ale—that’s three pints—in 11 seconds.

John Laffler, the co-founder of Off Color Brewing, has a confession to make. He’s a fan of Miller High Life, which he describes as light, crisp, technically perfect, and very consistent.

Singer Ed Sheeran dropped 50 pounds in 12 months after giving up beer. Beer is back in Sheeran’s diet, but perhaps he’s switched to these low-calorie offerings.

This year’s 10th annual Philadelphia Beer Week will be part of a year-round celebration called “Philly Loves Beer”. Organizers hope the new format gives local breweries greater exposure and draws more visitors.

Refocusing on daytime business, Starbucks has dropped evening beer and wine sales. However, alcohol may eventually return to the chain’s high-end “Roastery” locations.

Finally, bad craft beer is becoming more common. Reasons include lax brewing standards, under-trained brewers, and intense competition that tempts breweries to bring faulty beer to market rather than dump it.

The Friday Mash (National Geographic Edition)

On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society was formed. The Society’s logo, a bright yellow box, appears on National Geographic magazine, which is published in 40 languages around the world.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Pennsylvania, where the beer police caught up with Travis John Miller, who was selling the contents of his beer cellar on Craigslist. Miller faces a misdemeanor charge of selling alcohol without a license.

Swedish brewer Fredrik Tunedal, who often came home from work covered in malt dust, has released a Shower Beer. Its flavor profile includes a soapy taste, which Tunedal calls “on-point” for his product.

Keurig Green Mountain has partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev to develop a line of instant beers—and other instant adult beverages—that Keurig owners can make at home.

The CEO of Constellation Brands, which imports Corona and Modelo beer, said that he doesn’t expect President-elect Donald Trump’s trade policy to raise the price of Mexican brands.

Despite a dismal 5-7 record, the University of Texas finished #1 in the country—in beer sales, that is. By season’s end, Longhorns fans spent $5.26 on alcohol for every fan in attendance.

Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, disputes studies showing that beer sales have fallen in states where recreational marijuana is legal. Watson argues that pot is just one of many variables affecting sales.

Finally, in Adelaide, Australia, the woman-owned Sparkke Change Beverage Company is putting feminist messages on cans of its beer. It’s an effort to start conversations in the country’s male-dominated beer culture.

The Friday Mash (”Old Ironsides” Edition)

On this day in 1812, American frigate USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia. That victory earned her the nickname “Old Ironsides”; and an Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.’s 1830 poem of that name saved her from being decommissioned.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Bosnia, where an online post about homebrewing has, in just five years, grown into a flourishing craft-brewing industry—in a country where fruit brandy, not beer, has been the national beverage.

Pyongyang, North Korea, is playing host to its first-ever beer festival. It was organized to promote Pyongyang-brewed Taedonggang beer, which is named after the Taedong River.

Twenty years after the last shakeout in the craft beer sector, writer Lew Bryson sees another one coming. The good news is that the industry will rebound, and emerge stronger than ever.

The Australian spreads Vegemite and Marmite are made from brewer’s yeast extract. Native Australians are using them to make homebrewed beer in towns where prohibition is in effect.

Stone Brewing Company plans to open a beer-centric hotel across the street from its brewery in southern California. It will offer rare beer tappings along with room-service growlers.

Bob Beamon, whose Olympic long-jump record set in Mexico City still stands, offered a free beer to any athlete who broke his record at the Rio Olympics. No one came close.

Finally, MLS Soccer magazine has the rundown on where beer is sold at pro soccer matches. Germany is one of the beer-friendliest countries; you can drink in the stands at a Bundesliga match.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. federal excise tax on a pint of craft beer: 3 cents.
  • UK excise tax on a pint of craft beer: 50 pence (67 U.S. cents).
  • Paid attendance at “10 Cent Beer Night” at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, 1974: 25,134.
  • Estimated number of 10-cent beers consumed by fans that night: 60,000.
  • Regular price of a beer at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1974: 65 cents.
  • Football Bowl Subdivision schools that will sell beer stadium-wide in 2016: 36.
  • Percentage of FBS schools that sell beer stadium wide: 28.
  • Estimated value of Budweiser’s brand: $14.73 billion (world’s most valuable beer brand).
  • Estimated value of Bud Light’s brand: $13.92 billion (world’s second most-valuable beer brand).
  • Average price of a bushel of U.S. malting barley in 2013: $6.58.
  • Average price in 2016: $5.75.
  • Capacity of a Game of Thrones-themed “Drankgon” beer bong: 64+ ounces.
  • Retail price of a Drankgon: $27.
  • Suggested retail price of the BeerDroid personal brewing system: 799 Australian dollars ($595 U.S.)
  • Size of one batch of BeerDroid beer: 10 liters.
  • The Friday Mash (Scotland the Brave Edition)

    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.

    The Friday Mash (Roller Coaster Edition)

    On this day in 1989, the Cedar Point amusement park opened Magnum XL-200, the first 200-plus-foot-tall roller coaster. Tomorrow, the park will unveil its 17th coaster: Valravn, the tallest, longest, and fastest of its kind in the world.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in eastern Quebec, where convenience stores were mobbed by New Brunswick residents after a court struck down that province’s law against bringing liquor across the border. Beer is almost twice as expensive in N.B. than in Quebec.

    In Wisconsin, three fishing buddies pulled up a six-pack of Budweiser cans that, according to Anheuser-Busch, are more than 60 years old. Unfortunately, the cans were empty.

    First “beard beer”, now this. Australia’s 7 Cent Brewery is using yeast from brewers’ belly-button lint to brew a special beer for an upcoming festival.

    British regulators take short pints seriously. So seriously that they brought a pub owner before the local magistrate for serving a pint that was six teaspoons less than a full pint.

    Broadway actors Mark Aldrich and Jimmy Ludwig are launching a series of beers based on Broadway shows. Their first is “Rise Up Rye”, inspired by the hit musical Hamilton. Rye was the mainstay grain of colonial American brewers.

    On June 2, the Asheville Tourists baseball team will take the field as the “Beer City Tourists”. It’s the team’s way of honoring the city’s brewing community—and taking part in Asheville Beer Week.

    Finally, Taedonggang beer, from North Korea’s state-owned brewery, has turned up in stores in some Chinese cities. It’s high-quality beer, but its price—a 22-ouncer costs the equivalent of more than $3 U.S.—is too high for the average Chinese consumer.

    The Wednesday Mash (Year-End Clearance Edition)

    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.

    The Friday Mash (Xanadu Edition)

    On this day in 1271, Kublai Khan of “stately pleasure dome” fame renamed his empire “Yuan,” officially marking the start of the Yuan dynasty of Mongolia and China. The yuan is modern-day China’s monetary unit.

    And now…The Mash! 

    We begin in Japan, where a local firm has teamed up with an Amsterdam-based renewables company to develop eco-friendly plastic beer bottles. They’re made from plant sugar rather than fossil fuels.

    As competition grows more fierce, breweries are hiring artists, graphic designers, and even branding firms to create packaging that wins shelf space and attracts customers.

    “Beer before whiskey” is risky, but not for the reasons you think. People drink faster as intake increases, whatever the beverage; and whiskey’s higher alcohol content compounds the effects.

    Last weekend, Vancouver’s Storm Brewing unleashed its Glacial Mammoth Extinction beer. It’s Canada’s first beer above 25 percent ABV, and it isn’t cheap: a bottle will set you back C$1,000 ($730 U.S.).

    Craft brewing’s success has created a problem: a shortage of cans, especially the 16-ounce cans that many crafts prefer to distinguish their product from national-brand beer.

    Debrett’s, a British etiquette authority since 1769, has published a guide to proper beer-drinking. Among other topics, it covers proper pouring and tasting and how to behave decorously at the pub.

    Finally, James Grugeon of Brisbane, Australia, is crowd-funding a brewery with a social purpose. Half the profits of his Good Beer Company will be donated to a conservation society trying to save the endangered Great Barrier Reef.

    The Friday Mash (Magic Kingdom Edition)

    Sixty years ago today, Walt Disney unveiled his theme park, Disneyland, on national television. The “Magic Kingdom” has attracted more than 650 million guests—more than any other amusement park in the world—since it opened.

    And now….The Mash! 

    We begin in Asheville, North Carolina, where the sold-out Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference is taking place at the Four Points Hotel. Ludwig couldn’t attend, but he’ll be there in spirit.

    21st Century Fox, which owns The Simpsons franchise, has licensed Duff beer. For the time being, Duff will only be available in Chile, where bootleg versions of the brand have been turning up on store shelves.

    Lawmakers in a number of states passed beer-friendly legislation this year. Mike Pomeranz of Yahoo! Food explains what happened in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and West Virginia.

    Oh, the agony of defeat. Australia’s cricket team was so frustrated by its 169-run defeat at the hands of England in a Test match that it refused the host country’s offer of post-match beers.

    Illustrator/animator Drew Christie has created a four-minute-long history lesson titled “The United States of Beer”, in which he offers a modest proposal: a cabinet-level Secretary of Beer.

    Here’s another reason to book that trip to Honolulu. Maui Brewing Company will open a brewpub in Waikiki. It will be located in the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber.

    Finally, Kathy Flanigan and Chelsey Lewis of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel take you on a beer tour of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region. It includes plenty of history, and features a visit to “The Troll Capital of the World.”

    Australia’s Beer Can Regatta

    For more than 40 years, the Beer Can Regatta has been an annual event in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory. It’s a multi-event competition involving boats that use beer cans—and only beer cans—for flotation. Needless to say, engineering skills are a plus.

    The regatta has changed somewhat since the 1970s. The introduction of lighter-weight aluminum beer cans in the 1980s forced organizers to ban outboard motors, which can puncture boats. The regatta has also become more sober and family-friendly.

    Participants are expected to abide by the “Ten Can-mandments,” the first of which is “get out there and have fun.” The Can-mandments also include “Thou shalt not drown” but oddly, don’t mention saltwater crocodiles, which inhabit the local waters.

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