Australia

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.

The Friday Mash (Anchors Aweigh Edition)

On this day in 1845, the Naval School–later renamed the United States Naval Academy—opened in Annapolis, Maryland, with a class of 50 midshipman students and seven professors. Since then, the entire campus has gained recognition as a National Historic Landmark.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Australia, where a feral hog stole three six-packs of beer, got snorting drunk, and got into an altercation with a cow. The hog was seen the next morning sleeping off a nasty hangover.

It’s October, which means the pumpkin beers are flowing. If you like them, Playboy magazine has done you a favor. After tasting a slew of them, they’ve ranked America’s best pumpkin beers.

At last week’s Great American Beer Festival, the Brewers Association unveiled its beer and food pairing course. The five-unit course is free of charge, and you can download the course materials.

Watch out for yellow jackets. This is the time of the year when they feast on anything sweet—including your half-finished can of beer. Swallow one, and you’ll be in a world of hurt.

Sometimes distribution can the a bane of craft brewers. On its website, Clown Shoes Brewing tells a horror story about its relationship with its distributor in Georgia.

There’s a YouTube video of Alfred the cat, who appears to be polishing off a beer. Experts caution against serving beer to felines—unless, of course, they’re beer-drinking lions.

Finally, even though beer consumption at this year’s Oktoberfest was down 15 percent from last year’s, everyone had a good time in Munich. The Daily Mail has a photo essay of the festivities.

The Friday Mash (Sailing in Style Edition)

Eighty years ago today, the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary was launched. She was retired in 1967, after taking well-heeled passengers across the North Atlantic, and is now a hotel and a tourist attraction in Long Beach, California.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Bavaria, where the Munich 1860 football team is selling Oktoberfest-themed uniforms complete with lederhosen and Bavarian blue-and-white gingham shirts.

C. Dean Metropolous sold Pabst Blue Ribbon and other “nostalgia” brands to Oasis Beverages, a Russian-based brewer and distributor. Metropolous reportedly got $700 million for the brands.

Crikey! After being attacked by a crocodile, a hunter in Australia’s Northern Territory drank beer to deaden the pain while he waited for an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

Growlerwerks LLC is developing uKeg, a pressurized growler that should eliminate flat beer from growlers. The pressure comes from carbon dioxide cartridges, which cost about $1 apiece.

Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu, who’s facing a tough fight for reelection, helped a fan do a keg stand while tailgating at last weekend’s Mississippi State-LSU football game.

All About Beer magazine has a new owner. Daniel Bradford has sold the 35-year-old publication to a newly-formed corporation, All About Beer LLC, headed by Christopher Rice.

Finally, New Holland Brewing Company is celebrating Carhartt, Inc.’s 125th anniversary with a new beer called Woodsman and a “The Road Home to Craftsmanship” tour which will wind up at the Great American Beer Festival.

The Friday Mash (Emoticon Edition)

On this day in 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons, :-) and :-( , on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System. So now you know who to blame.

And now….The (emoticon-free) Mash!

We begin in Israel, where Itsik Levy named his brewery “Isis” after an Egyptian goddess. Now that the Islamic State is using that name, Levy said—tongue in cheek—that he’s considering “a massive lawsuit” against it.

D’oh! Australian regulators ordered Woolworth’s to stop selling Duff beer because the brand’s association with The Simpsons made it too appealing to would-be underage drinkers.

Scientists say that the fastest way to chill beer is to pour plenty of salt into a bucket of water, then add ice, and then drop in the beer. It’ll be cold in 20 minutes or less.

For Ohio to get Stone Brewing Company’s second brewery, lawmakers will have to raise the ABV cap. Some of Stone’s ales exceed the current 12-percent cap and thus can’t be brewed in Ohio.

Britain’s Prince Harry celebrated his 30th birthday by downing a beer at the Invictus Games. He has good reason to celebrate: now that he’s 30, he inherits $17.4 million from his mother, the late Princess Diana.

The Beer Geeks are returning to this year’s Great American Beer Festival. They’re a corps of 3,000 volunteers who are trained by the Brewers Association to tell festival-goers more about the beers they’re sampling.

Finally, Beverage Grades, a Denver company that analyzes the content of beer and wine, offers a “Copy Cat” app which tells where you can find beer with similar tastes to those you like.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Breweries that will enter a beer in this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition: 1,360.
  • Increase over last year’s competition: 610 (81 percent).
  • Breweries that asked to pour beer at this year’s GABF: 822.
  • Number of breweries that can be accommodated at the GABF venue: 726 (including 96 tables for sponsors).
  • Craft beer’s share of the U.S. market in 1988: 2.6 percent.
  • Its share of the U.S. market in 2013: 8 percent.
  • Imported beer’s share of the U.S. market in 1988: 8.4 percent.
  • Its share of the U.S. market in 2013: 14 percent.
  • Corona Extra’s U.S. sales in 2013: 7.26 million barrels.
  • Modelo Especial’s U.S. sales in 2013: 3.6 million barrels.
  • U.S. annual per capita spending on beer: $356.20.
  • Canada’s annual per capita spending on beer: $351.89.
  • Australia’s annual per capita spending on beer: $747.90.
  • Percent of American men who say they can’t go an entire week without beer: 27.
  • Percent who say they can’t go an entire week without pizza: 31.
  • The Friday Mash (Louisiana Purchase Edition)

    Two hundred and ten years ago today, the Louisiana Purchase was finalized at a ceremony in New Orleans. The U.S. paid France 50 million francs for what became all or part of 15 present-day states. The cost of all that land? Less than a Jefferson nickel per acre.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Belgium, where the Abbey of Notre Dame d’Orval can’t meet demand for Orval ale. The reason? The number of monks has fallen from 35 in the 1980s to 12 today.

    Fancy a pint? The next beer you order might might be served in a tulip, a chalice, a snifter, or stemware instead of a “shaker pint”, especially if you’re having a high-gravity ale.

    Oops! Lehigh University’s Chi Phi fraternity was suspended after members posted a photo of hundreds of cups of beer inside what’s supposed to be a dry frat house.

    What happens when you give four Aussie guys beer and a video camera? You get beer-fueled one-upmanship that results in productive content creation for Carlton Dry.

    Do you know what “foeder” is? Lauren Salazar of New Belgium Brewing Company explains how these large oak barrels need to be babied before they hold what will become Belgian-style sour beer.

    Want a 22-ouncer of your favorite craft beer? In some Sacramento neighborhoods, you can’t get one because single-bottle sales are banned, regardless of the quality of the beer.

    Finally, fans attending Miami Dolphins games at Sun Life Stadium can download an app which warns them when beer sales are about to end, and even directs them to a stand with shorter lines.

    The Friday Mash (Superstition Edition)

    Today is Friday the 13th, a day dreaded by the superstitious. However, Ludwig and his staff at the Mash agree with baseball (and beer-drinking) legend Babe Ruth, who said, “I have only one superstition. I make sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.”

    And now…the Mash!

    We begin in Chicago, where Old Style beer will end its 63-year run at Wrigley Field at the end of this season. Next year, Anheuser-Busch will become the Cubs’ exclusive beer sponsor.

    Shares of Boston Beer Company (ticker symbol: SAM) have appreciated by 1,000 percent in the past ten years, which means the company’s CEO, Jim Koch, is now a billionaire.

    Since 1935, Wyoming’s beer tax has been two cents a gallon. State lawmakers are considering raising the tax to help fund substance-abuse programs. The nation’s median beer tax is 19 cents.

    East Asian beer lovers can now buy Hello Kitty beer in six tropical fruit flavors. The brewer points out that the beer is aimed at adults who grew up with the cartoon cat, who turns 40 next year.

    Good beer in Vegas? You bet! (Sorry, Ludwig couldn’t resist.) Renee LiButti of Blog.Vegas.com offers her list of the five best places in town to get a craft brew.

    A feral pig in Australia had a fight with a cow after guzzling three six-packs of beer left out by campers. The pig was later found sleeping under a tree, presumably nursing a hangover.

    Finally, three friends have invented the Case Coolie, a lightweight carrier that keeps a 30-pack of beer cold without ice. Just in time for football tailgating.

    The Friday Mash (Uncle Miltie Edition)

    On this day in 1908, actor and comedian Milton Berle was born. As the host of NBC’s Texaco Star Theater, Berle was the first major American television star. He’s known to millions of viewers of a certain age as “Uncle Miltie.”

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in the middle of Tampa Bay, where–if summer storms haven’t inundated it–you’ll find Beer Can Island. Non-drinkers refer it to it by its official name, Pine Key.

    If you have vacation time coming and money to spend, consider a luxury beer vacation. Sarah Bennett of CNN.com picks America’s ten best beer-themed getaway locations.

    Once again, North Dakota ranks number-one in per-capita beer consumption. The Roughrider State also ranks first in bars per capita, with one for every 1,620 adults.

    Sam Calagione, the head of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, is known for adding food to beer. Now he’s created a line of beer-infused foods that includes chowder, pickles, and brownies.

    Earlier this month, Darwin, Australia, held its annual Beer Can Regatta. To win, a skipper has to battle water, waves, and high construction costs–namely, a 10-cents-per-can deposit.

    Smithsonian magazine’s Alastair Bland likes to hide bottles of rare beer in beautiful locations, then dare his readers to find them. Bland’s latest “Trail of Ale” is in northern California.

    Finally, Will Gordon of Deadspin.com ranks 36 cheap American beers. Top honors went to Grain Belt Premium, which Gordon describes as “smooth, creamy, and dreamy.” His worst? Keystone.

    The Friday (Sour) Mash

    On this day in 1790, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, an American clergyman named Elijah Craig produced the first batch of whiskey distilled from corn. What better excuse to have a beer aged in a bourbon barrel?

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Cambridge, England, where the city’s first Bitcoin transaction recently took place. Andrew Bower bought a pint of beer at The Haymakers for just over 0.02 Bitcoins, or £1.55.

    Can’t find a bottle opener? S.E. Smith of Networx.com to the rescue. He has 16 ways to open a beer bottle without one–and without damaging your teeth.

    Japanese craft brewers might get a boost from their government’s decision to weaken the yen in an effort to stimulate the economy. A weak yen means higher prices for imported brands.

    Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of the nation’s top beer destinations. For your enjoyment, the staff at FermentedlyChallenged.com has compiled a three-day guide to the city’s breweries and bars.

    If you’re in the lower deck at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, listen for Mark Reiner, the singing beer vendor. He sings his personalized spiels to the tune of pop songs any fan would recognize.

    Crikey! Residents of a Melbourne, Australia, suburb discovered their cellphones weren’t working. The problem? Radio waves emitted by a neighbor’s beer fridge.

    Finally, craft beer returns to television this fall. The new Esquire Network will air a show titled “BrewDogs” starring James Watt and Martin Dickie, the founders of–you guessed it–BrewDog.

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