Belgium Comes to Cooperstown

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.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Breweries operating in the U.S. at the end of June 2013: 2,538 (98 percent of which are craft breweries).
  • Breweries in planning at the end of June 2013: 1,605.
  • People employed by craft breweries: 108,440.
  • Low-end beer’s share of the Chinese market: 85 percent.
  • Cost of a bottle of Tsingtao beer in Beijing: $0.32 U.S.
  • Cost of a bottle of Budweiser in Beijing: $0.96 U.S.
  • SAB Miller’s share of Colombia’s beer market: 98 percent.
  • Its share of Peru’s beer market: 94 percent.
  • American Homebrewers Association membership as of June 30: 38,347.
  • Percent increase over last year: 16.2.
  • India pale ales entered in last year’s Great American Beer Festival: 203 (the number-one category in number of entries).
  • Imperial IPAs entered last year: 128 (the number-two category).
  • Alcohol’s current share of America’s food budget: 13 percent.
  • Alcohol’s lowest share of America’s food budget since 1890: 5 percent, during the early years of Prohibition.
  • Its highest share since 1890: 20 percent, during the early 1890s.
  • The Friday Mash (Elvis Edition)

    Next Monday marks the 33rd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, but today we celebrate a different Elvis–namely, Elvis Grbac, who played quarterback at Michigan and in the NFL. He turns 40 today. We’re also honoring two other athletes with that name: figure skater Elvis Stojko and running back Elvis Peacock.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin at the ballpark, where Chris Gigley of Beer celebrates the keystone combination of minor league baseball and craft beer.

    Next stop is New York City, where beer gardens have been sprouting up. Robert Simonson of the New York Times tells us where to find them. If you’re thinking of visiting NYC, you might want to arrive sometime between September 24 and October 3, which is New York City Craft Beer Week.

    In our style section, Jack Curtin answers the question: What’s up with ginger beer? And Greg Kitsock, writing in the Washington Post, gets us acquainted with an up-and-coming style: black India pale ale.

    Turning to travel, Bryan Kolesar of The Brew Lounge was among the revelers at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, and he’s got dozens and dozens of photos to prove it.

    Northern Michigan is known for its wine, but a European-style farmhouse brewery, the Leelanau Brewing Company, is about to open.

    Finally, Stone Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing, and North Park Beer Company have joined forces to brew San Diego County Session Ale. It’ll hit the shelves next month.

    The Friday Mash (Spring Training Edition)

    “Pitchers and catchers report.” The most beautiful words in the English language.

    And now, The Mash…

    Ben Jacklet, a correspondent for Oregon Business, introduces us to Indie Hops, a Portland-based start-up that’s dedicated entirely to providing aroma hops to craft breweries.

    Brewery Ommegang is looking for a theme for this year’s edition of Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. Themes for past events included AC/DC-BC/TC, Planet of the Ales, The Big Lebrewski, and Abby Road.

    What does smoke beer remind you of? Stan Hieronymus explains why some people associate it with fish.

    According to The Beer Philosopher, Old Style Beer has gone “old school”. The brewing process will incorporate kraeusening, a traditional process where a portion of still-fermenting beer–with active, live yeast intact–is added to pre-fermented beer at bottling to naturally carbonate the beer.

    From the Bait and Switch Department: In an effort to cut costs, some bars in Amsterdam are substituting no-name beer for the brand-name beer they’re contractually required to pour. Which prompted snarky comments like, “did anyone notice a difference?”

    Until recently, British pubs were rarely associated with good food. How times have changed. The London Times reports that ten British gastropubs have been awarded Michelin stars.

    Round Two of the National IPA Challenge takes place Sunday in Buffalo. Last week’s competition in Syracuse pared the field to 64 IPAs. Is your favorite still in contention?

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