Beer bottles

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 (Very Endangered Species Edition)

On this day in 1844, the last two known great auks were killed. These large flightless penguin-like birds, which lived in the North Atlantic, were hunted to extinction because their down was in high demand in Europe.

And on that auk-ward note…The Mash!

We begin in China, where designer Li Rongjun has built an office out of 8,500 empty beer bottles. Rongjun has a degree in construction from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology.

Lagunitas Brewing Company will build a third brewery in Asuza, California. The new plant, with a projected capacity of more than 400,000 barrels a year, is expected to open in early 2017.

Molson’s Beer Fridge will make an appearance at this month’s Pan-American Games in Toronto. The latest edition will dispense a free Molson to those who say “I Am Canadian” in any of 40 languages.

Anita Brown, an artist in Los Angeles, has designed beers for each of the books in the Harry Potter series. They include Pilsner of Azkaban, Amber of Secrets, and Deathly Hops (h/t Jay Brooks).

Queen is the latest rock group to release its own beer. It’s a pilsner that will be called—what else?—Bohemian Rhapsody. The bottle’s design features a crest designed by Freddie Mercury himself while he was in college.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria has pulled a custom-brewed batch of ale from Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico. 5 Rabbit’s founder, is a native of Costa Rica.

Finally, New Orleans is rarely associated with German culture, but Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, a year-round, Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall, will open this summer in the city’s Warehouse District.

The Friday Mash (Mind the Gap Edition)

On this day in 1863, the London Underground opened between Paddington and Farringdon stations. Today, it consists of 11 lines and serves 270 stations. Ludwig reminds passengers to mind the gap, especially after a few pints at the pub.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, where the Verallia North America glass plant is celebrating 100 years of making beer bottles. On a busy day, it turns out over three million.

Miami New Times correspondent Kyle Swenson roamed south Florida looking for a $1 draft beer. After a long journey that took him to the region’s grungiest bars, he finally succeeded.

In Texas, an off-duty firefighter came to the aid of a truck driver whose vehicle had caught fire. He used 16-ounce cans of beer from the truck’s cargo as makeshift fire extinguishers.

Beauties, eh? Labatt Brewing Company unveiled its U.S. Olympic commemorative can series. The cans are modeled after Team USA’s hockey sweaters from past Olympics.

With 33 breweries, New Hampshire ranks second in breweries per capita. All of them can be found on a new map created by the state’s tourism office and brewers’ trade group.

Now that it’s legal in Colorado, some wonder about marijuana’s impact on beer sales. A leading member of the state’s craft beer community believes it’ll have little effect.

Finally, the Border Town Bar and Grill in North Dakota used recycled beer bottles as a main component to sealcoat its new parking lot. They’re more expensive, but don’t contain toxic silica sand.

The Friday Mash (Cats Edition)

On this day in 1982, Cats, a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, made its Broadway debut. It was the second longest-running play in Broadway history, behind Phantom of the Opera. Ludwig has a standing offer of a pint for cast member Marlene Danielle, who appeared in all 7,485 performances.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in North Dakota, where the Fargo Brewing Company dipped into pop culture to name its first beer. Wood Chipper, an India pale ale, was inspired by–you guessed it–the famous prop from the Coen brothers’ 1996 film Fargo.

Human males aren’t the only species to suffer “mating failure” when beer is involved. Two Australian biologists discovered that male beetles mistake beer bottles for potential mates. Worse yet, some of the beetles get dragged off by predatory ants.

Minnesota’s Surly Brewing Company is planning to build a $20 million brewery and tasting room, and dozens of Minneapolis-St.Paul-are communities have rolled out the welcome mat, hoping to land the facility and the jobs that come with it.

Did you know that the taste of English ale drinkers differs by region? Northerners like their beer smooth with a tight head and a creamy finish, while southerners prefer a clean, crisp, hoppier finish and a looser, frothier head.

Fittingly for a party town, New Orleans has a rich brewing history. It was once the brewing capital of the South. Sadly, however, the last big brewery closed in 2005.

Do your taste buds–or your tasting notes–need a lift? Let Linnea Covington introduce you to nine unusual beers made with guava, turnips, bacon, and other exotic ingredients.

Finally, if you’re a very patient person, there’s a beer for you. New Zealand’s Moa Brewery just released a bottled lambic which, it says, should be ready to enjoy in about ten years. That’s eight years less than “Cats” ran on Broadway.

A Man’s Home is His Castle

Tito Ingenieri has given the old expression, “a man’s home is his castle,” a new meaning. Ingineri’s castle, which is located near Quilmes, Argentina, is constructed out of beer bottles. Six million of them.

Ludwig doubts that any of his neighbors will attempt to build something like this. Even if the project got zoning approval, which is highly unlikely, Michigan slaps a 10-cent deposit on beer bottles.

Higher Zymurgical Education: The Beer Bottle

Don’t ever say this blog isn’t educational. Today, Ludwig has invited the Zythophile as a guest lecturer. His lecture topic is the history of bottled beer. As usual, the Zythophile–pun intended–explodes a beer myth: this time, it’s the story about Dr. Alexander Nowell, who inadvertently discovered bottle conditioning 440 years ago after leaving behind a bottle of homebrew after a day of fishing. But there are plenty of other characters in the story, including Samuel Pepys, Louis Pasteur, and Henry Barrett.

Henry Barrett? To find out his claim to fame, you’ll have to read the article. Fair warning from Ludwig: it will be on the final exam.

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