Belgian beer

The Friday Mash (Mickey D Edition)

Seventy-five years ago today, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a fast-food restaurant in San Bernardino, California. Businessman Ray Kroc bought out the brothers’ equity, and turned it into a world-wide franchise operation.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Greater Detroit, where Griffin Claw Brewing Company has brewed an amber ale for the Detroit Zoo. It hopes to distribute the ale statewide, with part of proceeds going back to the zoo.

Can Belgian beer help you lose weight? Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London contends that it contains bacteria that keeps people slim. Junk food, on the other hand, kills these bacteria.

Many craft beer lovers hold Blue Moon in low regard. However, investment firm executive Charles Sizemore believes the beer is a winner for MillerCoors: it appeals to high-income casual drinkers who want a beer or two after work.

Munich’s Hofbrauhaus is franchising another American location. The latest is a historic dining hall in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, which will be given the HB look and feel.

In her ad for [redacted] Beer, comedian Amy Schumer unleashed a snark attack on beer commercials. Fair warning: the video in this link is not safe for work.

The next-to-last episode of Mad Men showed Don Draper in an Oklahoma watering hole, listening to veterans telling war stories while drinking Lone Star beer and other adult beverages.

Finally, YouTuber Dave Hax shows you how to turn a box of tall-boy beer bottles into a picnic cooler. Cut open the top of the box to make a lid, pull all of the beer out, line it with a plastic bag, and put the beer back in. Add plenty of ice…and voila!

The Friday Mash (Berlin Wall Edition)

On this day in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. The wall’s demise led not only to the reunification of Germany but also to the fall of Communism in eastern Europe. Feel free to celebrate with a continental Pilsner.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in New Ulm, Minnesota, where a local theater company is putting on The History of Beer, Part I. It’s heavy on audience participation, including traditional German beer-hall songs.

Many beers are aged in bourbon barrels, but New Holland Artisan Spirits has reversed the process. Its Beer Barrel Bourbon is aged in barrels that once held the brewery’s Dragon’s Milk Stout.

Matt Dredge, at Pencil and Spoon, believes that IBUs are not the best indicator of how bitter your beer will taste. Instead, he recommends BU:GUs (Bitterness Units: Gravity Units), a ratio first introduced by author Ray Daniels.

Brewing’s Busch family continues to fascinate authors. William Knoedelseder’s new book, Bitter Brew, was written with the family’s cooperation. Meanwhile, Terry Ganey and Peter Hernon have written an updated version of their 1991 unauthorized biography.

Another reminder that time flies. Samuel Adams Utopia is celebrating its tenth birthday. Only 15,000 bottles of this year’s extreme (29 percent ABV) beer will be produced.

Circle next Thursday on your calendar. Belgophile bars, restaurants, and stores across America will take part in the Coast to Coast Toast. November 15 is the 30th anniversary of Vanberg & DeWulf, the New York-based importer of Belgian beer.

Finally, you missed the ultimate release party. Last Friday evening, bars across Denmark poured free glasses of Julebryg, Tuborg Brewery’s extra-strength Christmas beer.

Tomorrow’s “Coast to Coast Toast”

To celebrate its 30th anniversary as a importer of Belgian beer, Vanberg & DeWulf has organized a national “Coast to Coast Toast” celebration tomorrow. Hundreds of establishments throughout the country will take part by hosting events ranging from beer dinners to tutored tastings. You can find out more at Eventbrite’s website.

Belgian Blind Tasting in Today’s NYT

Eric Asimov, who has the enviable job of writing about beverages for the New York Times, assembled a panel to conduct a blind tasting of 20 Belgian and Belgian-style beers.

Three of the four top-rated beers were brewed in America. And being Michiganders, we were pleased to learn that Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza earned top honors, and that Leelanau Good Harbor Golden Ale was ranked fourth. Both are brewed by Dexter’s Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, where Ron Jefferies is the man in charge. Asimov had this to say about the beers: “While the Good Harbor was funky, the Oro de Calabaza was spicy, fruity and floral, with soft carbonation and fresh, vibrant flavors. Same man, different yeasts, at the least.”

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