beer bars

A Deer Festival, Not a Beer Festival

Ashley’s, a beer bar close to where Maryanne, Paul, and Ludwig live, puts on several festivals every year, including cask ale and Belgian beer festivals. This weekend, Ashley’s is hosting a deer festival. It’s called Venison Weekend. Menu items venison tacos, venison tenderloin sliders, and venison shepherd’s pie.

By the way, Ashley’s has a wide and rotating selection craft beers, with an emphasis on beer brewed in Michigan.

The Friday Mash (United Artists Edition)

On this day in 1919, five individuals formed United Artists. They included four Hollywood notables—Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith—along with attorney/statesman William Gibbs McAdoo, who later represented California in the U.S. Senate.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict. The town’s ancient monastery is selling its beer to American consumer, who can also download the monks’ Gregorian chants to accompany the beer.

Attendees at this year’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival, held at Ommegang Brewing, will be able to immerse themselves in Bill Murray’s best-known movies and characters.

The historic Grain Belt Beer sign in Minneapolis is getting a new lease on life. August Schell Brewing Company, which owns the Grain Belt brand, has bought the sign and hopes to re-light it next year.

Meet the “Nitrogenator”. It’s the carbon dioxide-dispensing “widget” that Boston Beer Company uses for its new nitro-conditioned beer series. The Nitrogenator is manufactured by Ball Corporation.

One of Budweiser’s ads for Super Bowl 50 features Dame Helen Mirren who, before eating a hamburger and fries washed down by a Bud, gives would-be drunk drivers a proper British scolding.

The wave of craft brewery takeovers has prompted a movement to scrap the phrase “craft beer” and use a new term, “indie beer”, to describe small breweries that are truly independent.

Finally, Thrillist’s Ezra Johnson-Greenough shows how to spot a fake “beer bar”. Warning signs include serving all imports in small glasses, carrying an all-nanobrewery selection, and serving all wheat beers with a slice of lemon.

The Friday Mash (Double Nickel Edition)

On this day in 1974, President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum speed limit to 55 miles per hour in order to conserve gasoline during the OPEC embargo. The unpopular “double nickel” stayed on the books for more than 20 years.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Hawaii, where Kona Brewing is celebrating its 21st birthday by releasing a series of Hawaii-only beers. First in Kona’s Makana series is Aina Brown Ale, brewed with taro root.

New York City’s two largest beer distributors plan to merge. The merger threatens the existence of the city’s 13,000 bodegas, which are small, mostly minority-owned convenience stores.

Craft beer is gaining ground in South Korea thanks to new laws. For years, the country’s beer market has been dominated by two large brewing companies.

A blog post by Bryan Roth delves into the economics of beer-buying decisions. Roth wonders whether price will become a bigger factor in what craft beer drinkers buy.

Outside the United States, non-alcoholic beers are growing in popularity. Reasons include anti-alcohol laws in Muslim countries, fear of a DUI arrest, and better-tasting products.

Is your local beer bar serious about beer? Thrillist’s Dan Gentile tells you what to look for. For example, bubbles on the side of your glass means the glass is dirty.

Finally, Argentina’s Andes Brewery offers a a “Message in a Bottle”. Andes bottles are imprinted with QR codes which, together with a mobile app, allow a person to record a video and assign it to a specific bottle. The recipient scans the QR code and plays the video back.

The Friday Mash (Long Gray Line Edition)

On this day in 1802, the U.S. Military Academy opened at West Point, New York. Its alumni include two U.S. Presidents, U.S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower; Confederate President Jefferson Davis, numerous famous generals, and 74 Medal of Honor recipients.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in South Africa, where Garagista Beer Company has declared war on hipsters, which it accuses of giving craft beer a bad image. The brewery’s slogan is “All Beer. No Bullshit.”

Narragansett Brewing Company is bringing back the can from the scene in Jaws where Captain Quint tried to intimidate Matt Hooper by crushing a can of ‘Gansett he’d just finished.

Brennan Gleason, a designer from British Columbia, put his resume on a 4-pack of his home-brewed blonde beer, which he called “Resum-Ale.” And yes, it got him hired.

Radler, the German word for bicyclist, is a popular summer drink in Germany. It’s a mixture of beer and lemonade, and it’s becoming more popular in America.

Don’t expect MolsonCoors to acquire any American craft breweries. Peter Swinburn, the company’s CEO, says they’re “massively overvalued” and predicts a shakeout in the sector.

Before you hit the road this summer, check out Thrillist’s America’s 33 best beer bars. To whet your appetite, there’s a photo and a description of each establishment.

Finally, historian William Hogeland explains “brewer-patriot” Samuel Adams’s role in making the Declaration of Independence a reality. Adams hasn’t gotten much credit because he burned his papers lest people find out what he’d been up to.

The Friday Mash (Bonfire of the Vanities Edition)

On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.

Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.

In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.

In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.

Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.

Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.

Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.

The Friday Mash (Good Thing Edition)

On this day in 1941, Martha Kostyra was born in Jersey City. She’s better known as businesswoman (worth over $600 million), author, and television personality Martha Stewart. Earlier this year, Stewart arranged a food and beer pairing for The Today Show hosts. Beer in the morning? It’s a good thing.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Copenhagen, where warehouse workers have gone on strike over Carlsberg’s new company policy that bans on-the-job drinking. Until now, workers were allowed three beers a day.

Timing is everything. Just ask Greg Altringer, who proposed to his girlfriend on Wrigley Field’s scoreboard. Just one problem: she was making a beer run at the time.

Justine Sterling of Food and Wine magazine has put together a slideshow of America’s top beer bars. One surprising pick: the Mitten Bar in Ludington, Michigan, which specializes in beer brewed in-state.

If you’re hitting the road this summer, a new website,, will help you locate brewery tours and tastings en route to your destination.

Once you get there, you’ll want to know more about the beer you’re drinking. BeerText.Us has the answer. Text 315-679-4711 with the name of the beer, and you’ll soon receive a detailed profile.

Ontario lawmakers are considering whether to legalize beer sales in convenience stores, but the province’s craft breweries are leery. They’re afraid national-brand brands will crowd micro products off the shelves.

Finally, David Caruso of Vernon, Connecticut, served as a good example of a bad example. He was caught driving with a beer in his hand–by police officers operating a sobriety checkpoint.

The Friday Mash (Thrill Ride Edition)

On this day in 1885, LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first roller coaster. The “golden age” of roller coasters began three decades later, but ended with the Great Depression. However, coasters enjoyed a revival in the 1970s, when they appeared at modern-day theme parks such as Cedar Point.

And now…The Mash!

Fittingly, we begin in Ohio, the home of Cedar Point, where newly-signed legislation eliminates a hefty licensing fee for breweries that wish to open tasting rooms.

Move over, Sam Adams. D.G. Yuengling and Son is now the number-one American-owned brewery in production. Yuengling’s sales rose 17 percent last year, to 2.5 million barrels, putting it about 100,000 barrels ahead of Boston Beer Company.

The Brewers Association has announced that Steve Hindy, the chairman and CEO of Brooklyn Brewery, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Craft Beer Conference in San Diego.

If you like to review beer, Canadian blogger Stephen Beaumont has a few suggestions. Don’t review a beer you’ve had a one-ounce sample of and please, please don’t demand VIP treatment from your bartender just because you’re a reviewer.

Get out your road atlas and check your frequent-flyer mile balances. Draft magazine has released the 2012 list of America’s best beer bars. For the record, Maryanne and Paul have been to 21 of them. is trying to educate beer drinkers about global warming by likening the Earth to a can of beer, which will become undrinkable by the second half of this century. (Hat tip: Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.)

Finally, Chris Schewe broke a world record by downing three bottles of Budweiser, with his hands behind his back, in just 37 seconds. Ludwig advises you not to try this at home–or anywhere else.

The Friday Mash (Nachos Grande Edition)

Today is International Nacho Day. It honors the snack that was created in 1943 by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya for a group of Army wives on a shopping trip to Mexico. A modified version of Anaya’s recipe debuted at Arlington Stadium in Texas in 1976, and soon made its appearance at stadiums and bars across America.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Earls Barton, England, where Peter Dowdeswell, the holder of hundreds of speed eating and drinking records, was forced to retire becuase of injuries suffered while trying to drink a pint of beer while being held upside down.

Danville, Kentucky, which was a dry town not long ago, now has the most breweries per capita. Its two breweries serve a population of 15,000, putting it slightly ahead of Portland, Oregon.

Breweries aren’t the only small businesses that benefit from the craft beer boom. Bars and restaurants that serve their beer profit as well, which is why so many of them take part in city Beer Weeks.

Is New York City in your travel plans? The Village Voice has picked the city’s ten best beer bars, some of which aren’t on the proverbial list of usual suspects.

A bourbon barrel can’t be used more than once, which means an awful lot of barrels need a new home. caught up with four distilleries, and found out how their barrels get creatively re-used.

Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? A bar in Oregon is hosting a Beer Film Fest featuring oldies like W.C. Fields in “The Fatal Glass of Beer” and contemporary classics like “Beer Wars.”

Finally, if you have a thirst for adventure and $95,000 to spare, Thirsty Swagman’s Beer in Space tour is for you. You’ll be rocketed more than 50 miles above the Earth’s surface, past the boundary of outer space.

The Friday Mash (Frosty Cold One Edition)

Here in Michigan, we’ve had a series of cold nights, some of them punctuated by frost and freeze warnings. But it won’t be long before May brings us sunshine, flowers, and best of all, the first Maibocks of the year. We can hardly wait.

And now…The Mash!

Athens, Georgia, is famous for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, the B-52s, and now, the Terrapin Beer Company. John Cochran, co-founder of Terrapin, tells his story on

Beer for dinner? According to Clay Risen of The Atlantic, the idea is catching on. Risen singles out Goose Island Beer Company for the attractive labels it puts on its high-end brews.

Jay, at Hedonist Beer Jive, donned his flame-proof jacket and named the five most boring topics in beer journalism. As you might have guessed, his column inspired some caustic commentary.

The folks at the Beer School blog think it’s time to give India pale ale a new name.

Yesterday, Paste magazine’s “List of the Day” focused on the best beer bars in America. Thirty establishments made the list, which is arranged by state. Writer Josh Jackson offered one criterion for a high-quality beer bar: “The bartender and waitstaff should be like record store clerks without the accompanying snobbery.”

Finally, in case you missed it, yesterday was Earth Day. Noah Davis of spotlighted three of the many breweries that are doing their part to help the planet.

Portland, Oregon, by Foot

A year ago, Maryanne and Paul were in Portland, Oregon, where they got reacquainted with some of the best brew on Earth. Aside from the beer, what makes this city great is that you don’t need a car to explore it. Which brings us to the September/October issue of Imbibe magazine, where Hannah C. Feldman and Tracy Howard explore Portland by Foot. Bring your walking shoes and an appetite: in addition to notable “hop spots,” the tour takes you to neighborhood restaurants and coffeehouses.

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