Beerdrinker of the Year

The Friday Mash (QWERTY Edition)

One hundred and forty years ago today, E. Remington and Sons in Ilion, New York, began production of the first practical typewriter. Even though few of us use typewriters anymore, the familiar “QWERTY” keyboard design, invented in 1874, is still with us.

ASDF…The Mash!

We begin in Massachusetts where Todd Ruggere, a Waltham resident, is drinking a Sam Adams in each of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns. He’s raising money for cancer research.

We all know that higher-gravity beers are able to conceal hop bitterness. With that in mind, Jay Brooks recently posted an original gravity to hops ratio graph on his Brookston Beer Bulletin.

In 1953, an Aussie named Bob Hawke set a world record by downing a yard of ale–more than two pints–in 11 seconds. He was later elected that country’s Prime Minister. Coincidence?

Good news for beer lovers in Manhattan. The Hudson River Park Trust will open a 6,000-square-foot beer garden overlooking the river at Pier 62. It will serve craft beers and specialty food.

Kegasus, the beer-guzzling centaur that advertises the Preakness InfieldFest, will likely be scratched from this year’s race. But there will be live entertainment, and plenty of beer.

Pro tip: it’s not a good idea to drink to excess before designing beer labels, because you might come up with something like this disturbing Belgian ale label.

Finally, congratulations to Warren Monteiro, a writer, beer traveler, and homebrewer from New York City, who was named Beerdrinker of the Year at the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

The Friday Mash (Toledo Strip Edition)

On this day in 1836, delegates from Michigan Territory ceded the Toledo Strip to Ohio, meeting a condition laid down by Congress for becoming a state. Michigan’s consolation prize was the Upper Peninsula, which turned out to contain billions of dollars worth of iron and copper.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Deerfield Beach, Florida, where the city fathers have given Chaz Stevens the go-ahead to put up a Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans.

Next year, Deschutes Brewery will celebrate 25 years in business with a series of collaborative anniversary beers. The collaborators are breweries that, like Deschutes, opened in 1988.

Hurricane Sandy delayed it, but Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s expansion should be complete by the end of next summer. The expansion will increase capacity to 600,000 barrels per year.

A Colorado lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would let grocery and convenience stores sell craft beer. Currently, these stores are limited to selling 3.2 beer.

Bloomington’s Upland Brewing Company plans to revive Indiana’s all-time most beloved beer, Champagne Velvet, which was brewed in Terre Haute during the first half of the 20th century.

There’s a new board game called Beer and Vikings. To win, a character must drink the most beer from the communal barrel. In case of a tie, whoever killed the most opponents wins.

Finally, it’s that time of the year again. Wynkoop Brewing Company has put out a call for entries for its 17th annual Beerdrinker of the Year Competition. The winner will get free Wynkoop beer for life.

The Friday Mash (Dr. Seuss Edition)

On this day in 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born. His imagination gave us characters like the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. To honor the good doctor, Ludwig suggests a dinner of green eggs and ham. With a glass of ale, of course.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Denver, where J. Wilson, the Iowa man who lived on a diet of doppelbock last year during Lent, was named Beerdrinker of the Year at Wynkoop Brewing Company.

It’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for The Session. Matt Robinson, who blogs at Hoosier Beer Geek, hosts the discussion titled What Makes Local Beer Better?. Feel free to join in.

Job fair alert: New Zealand’s Boundary Road Brewery is looking for 500 “beer intellectuals” to evaluate its new IPA. Applicants must be at least 18 and and demonstrate “a sound knowledge of beer.”

Not only have traditional ales made a comeback, but traditional pub games like darts, skittles, and dominoes are returning to British pubs.

This was bound to happen: a reality show featuring a brewers’ competition. “The Next Great American Brewer” is produced by Main Gate Visuals, which also worked on the “Top Chef” and “Project Runway” series.

Calling Sam Calagione. Construction workers in Ecuador discovered a tomb, dating to pre-Inca days, which contained a previously unknown species of yeast used to brew chicha.

Finally, in Germany, a waiter identified only as “Martin D.” spilled five glasses of beer on the back on Chancellor Angela Merkel. Fortunately, Merkel was a good sport about it.

May It Please the Court…

As you probably know, Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing Company hosts an annual Beerdrinker of the Year competition. From the many entries submitted, the brewery chooses three finalists whom it flies out to Denver to appear before a panel of judges. These guys–and gals–dress the part, wearing black robes and even wigs, befitting the seriousness of these proceedings.

After due deliberation, Wynkoop’s panel of judges rendered a verdict in favor of Phil Farrell of Cumming, Georgia. It certainly helped his cause that he delivered one hell of a closing argument. Jack Curtin has posted a transcript (with permission, of course), on his blog, Jack Curtin’s Liquid Diet. In his argument, Farrell explained how to ascend to the highest level of beer geekdom. And in the process, he offered this unique festival tip:

When in doubt, wear home colors on the road and road colors at home. At your home festival (where everyone knows your name), feel free to show off all the great places you’ve been over your Beer Career by wearing shirts, hats, coats, etc from exotic places. It’s fun to show off. On the road, your local BFFs (Brewer Friends Forever) would appreciate the added publicity of their logos visible to festival attendees.

I think we’ll do that for the next festival.

Meet the 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year

Last Saturday at Wynkoop Brewing Company, the judges–attired in proper robes and wigs–rendered their verdict, naming Phil Farrell the Beerdrinker of the Year Farrell, a commercial pilot and homebrewer from Cumming, Georgia, has enjoyed a beer in all 50 U.S. states and every country in Europe. He’s also been a finalist three times before finally winning the grand prize, which includes free beer for life at the Wynkoop, $250 worth of beer at his local brewpub, and official “Beerdrinker of the Year” apparel.

If you think you’re Beerdrinker of the Year material, send your resume to Wynkoop by the end of the year. The three entrants with the most impressive resumes will be flown to the brewery for the finals next February. Good luck!

The Friday Mash (Solidarity Edition)

On this day in 1937, General Motors Corporation agreed to recognize the United Automobile Workers as the bargaining agent for its employees. That agreement ended the famous sit-down strike at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, and gave organized labor a big boost. If you’re about to enjoy the weekend off, you might want to raise a toast to those who walked a picket line to bring you the eight-hour day and the 40-hour week.

And now…The Mash!

We begin with this year’s Beerdrinker of the Year finalists. They are James Clark, of Springfield, Virginia; Mike Dixon, of Wake Forest, North Carolina; and Phil Farrell, of Cumming, Georgia. The winner will be chosen on the 26th at Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver.

Looking for a good book? Kristi Switzer, who is in charge of the Brewers Association’ s publishing operation, has selected six must-reads for a year of beer.

Time flies, even in the dead of winter. Session #49, which is titled A “Regular” Beer, is upon us. Stan Hieronymus will be hosting the discussion, and you’re welcome to jump in.

With exchange traded funds, you can invest in almost everything from biotech to oil. But not beer, at least not yet. Jared Cummans makes the case–no pun intended for a beer ETF.

John Fortunato of The Aquarian Weekly offers up his rankings of America’s 50 best stouts. Topping the list: Rogue Shakespeare Stout.

Minnesota’s Surly Brewery is planning $20 million in improvements that would make it a “destination brewery” with an annual capacity of 100,000 barrels (last year, Surly turned out 12,000); a beer garden; and a bar, restaurant, rooftop deck, and event center.

Finally, monks and nuns in Lithuania have taken exception to a beer ad that depicts a monk drinking a tankard of Adler Bock ale. They called the ad “immoral,” which means it might be a matter for confession.

The Friday Mash (Neil Young Edition)

Today is the 65th birthday of Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young, whose musical career started at Earl Grey Junior High School. Since then, his work has earned him entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (twice) and the Order of Canada, along with an Academy Award nomination. Long may you run, Neil.

And now…The Mash!

We begin at Wynkoop Brewing Company, whose founder, John Hickenlooper, is Colorado’s governor-elect. The brewery is planning a special brew to honor his inauguration. The brewery is also looking to honor the 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year. has compiled a list of America’s Top 50 Session Beers. The number-one pick is a surprise: Peg’s G.O.O.D. Ich Bin Ein Rainbow Jelly Donut, a Berliner Weisse brewed by Peg’s Cantina in Gulfport, Florida.

Brian Stechschulte, blogging at, describes his beer pilgrimage to Oregon. En route to Portland, he visited Ashland, Bend, and the Willamette Valley.

Maryanne and Paul both grew up in New Jersey, and they need to pay a visit ASAP because craft breweries are starting to catch on. There are now 30 in the Garden State.

Port Brewing/Lost Abbey’s Red Poppy was named Champion Wood Aged Beer at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers in Chicago.’s Beer Therapy blog has the complete list of winners.

Finally, from the “What Will They Think of Next” department, Hoyboy LLC is selling the Shoot a Brew Cooler, which can toss you a cold 12-ounce beer from up to eight feet away.

Meet the Beerdrinker of the Year

We have a winner! John Howell, of Sterling, Alaska, has been named 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year. In order to win the annual competition, sponsored by Denver’s Wynkoop Brewery, Howell had to endure a two-hour cross-examination about beer from robed, wigged “judges.”

Howell goes home with a $250 credit at his local brewpub, free beer for life at Wynkoop, and the adulation of beer lovers everywhere.

The Friday Mash (Cabin Fever Edition)

Same day. Different Mash.

“Johnny Fullpint” at The Full Pint gives us a preview of the inaugural Chesapeake Oyster and Beer Festival in Maryalnd.

Award-winning beer writer Pete Brown tells us that in spite of a rash of closures and an indifferent government, the British pub isn’t going to die. That said, the venerable British pint glass could be getting a makeover because it is often used as a weapon by drunken pub-goers.

This August, Charlie Papazian will be in Maine to lead another edition of The 2010 Art & Science of Beer. It’s a series of presentations, meals, and beer tastings.

Attention Indianapolis Colts fans: your Super Bowl party isn’t complete without Indiana-brewed beer. And they’re getting easier to find at your local liquor store.

Men’s Health magazine named MGD 64 the best beer to drink. John Foyston, who writes for The Oregonian, has something to say about that.

Finally, Wynkoop Brewing Company has named its three finalists for the Beerdrinker of the Year award. The national finals are February 27.

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