Brewery Ommegang

The Friday Mash (Gold Record Edition)

Seventy-five years ago, the first-ever gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. The song was originally featured in the film Sun Valley Serenade (1941).

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Cincinnati, where Urban Artifact is brewing a beer made with yeasts from the historic Union Terminal, which is now a museum complex. The brewery added sour cherries to add tart fruitiness to the beer, a 7% ABV bock.

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Brewery Ommegang has you covered. It will release three beers whose labels bear the sigils of the Houses of Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen.

Alex P. Davis, who runs the Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, doesn’t think beer lovers should stand in line to taste rare beers such as Pliny the Elder IPA because so many world-class beers are available without the wait.

Despite being the capital of one of Mexico’s poorest states, Oaxaca City has become destination of hipster tourists—many of from other Mexican states. And it’s developed a lively craft beer culture. explains how Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors are exploiting the three-tier system to keep craft products out of bars and stores. Rather than fight A-B, Craft Brew Alliance entered into in a production and distribution deal with the brewing giant.

Rochester, New York, is the nation’s unofficial Tater Tots capital. Local journalist Will Cleveland has a few pointers on pairing beer with the tots—and yes, any beer from the Genesee family is a good choice.

Finally, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has appointed Theresa McCulla as historian to oversee its American Brewing History Initiative. McCulla, who will receive a Ph.D in American Studies from Harvard, also holds a culinary arts diploma.

An Oral History of Beer Label Design

As the craft beer industry grows more crowded, it becomes increasingly important for breweries to distinguish themselves from the competition. One way of doing so, aside from the beer itself, is the look and feel of the beer’s packaging. Chris Wright of sought out a number of leading figures in the craft community, and asked them about the design of their beer labels.

Wright’s panel of experts includes Brooklyn Brewery’s Milton Glazer, who founded New York magazine and designed the iconic “I (Heart) NY” logo in the 1970s; Flying Dog Ales’ Erin Weston, who works closely with Hunter S. Thompson’s illustrator Ralph Steadman; and Dogfish Head Brewery’s Sam Calagione, who really needs no introduction. Ten other designers, representing such well-known brands as Founders, Ommegang, and Sly Fox, also contributed to this fascinating oral history.

The designers come from various walks of life; and, as expected, many of them are home brewers. They explained to Wright what they wanted their labels to convey, such as psychedelia or fond memories of the beach. Perhaps the best comment came from Calagione, who told Wright that label design has become a challenge. He said, “It’s getting harder to find fun, provocative on-brand names these days with 1.5 new breweries opening every day and only half a million words in the English language.”

Beer of Kings?

When the folks at HBO went looking for a craft beer partner for their popular fantasy series Game of Thrones, they made the right call. The call went to Brewery Ommegang and, as it turned out, several brewery employees–including the company’s director of marketing–were fans of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels, on which the TV series is based. So began Ommegang’s Game of Thrones series.

Ommegang agreed to produce two themed beers per year. The first two were Iron Throne, a golden ale, and a stout called Take the Black. On Monday, the brewery released Fire and Blood, the third in the series. Inspired by Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons, it’s a a Belgian-style red ale–the blood–brewed with anchor chilies–the fire, of course.

The Friday Mash (Consumer Rights Edition)

On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that led to passage of the Consumer Bill of Rights. The president declared that consumers were entitled to a choice of safe products, information about what they buy, and the right to be heard. So if someone serves you a pint of ailing ale today, don’t be afraid to send it back.

And now…The Mash!

We begin with a consumer-rights story from Seattle, where the 5 Point Cafe has become the city’s first business to slap a ban on Google Glass. It’s part of the bar’s privacy policy that forbids customers to film or photographing others.

Meet Arnie, the smart beer vending machine. He lives at Arnold Worldwide’s offices in Austin, Texas, and dispenses beer that was home-brewed by company employees.

In London, the brewers of Sol beer offer a new form of recycling. Feed the machine one of your unwanted ties, and it will issue you a coupon good for a free bottle of beer.

A new season of Game of Thrones debuts on HBO on March 31, and Brewery Ommegang has brewed a special ale in collaboration with the cable network. Paul Schrodt of Esquire reviews the beer.

It’s only eight years old, but Milwaukee’s Old German Beer Hall has gained national attention for its genuine Bavarian atmosphere. The beer, and the flour used to make pretzels, are imported from Munich.

Does your company’s perks include a free beer on company time? Advanced Medical in Port Orange, Florida, rolls out the beer cart on Friday afternoons.

Finally, Dr. Amanda Ellison of Durham University (UK) debunks “beer goggles”: People don’t look more attractive to you after a few too many; you’ve simply lowered your standards. Caveat emptor.

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?

The Friday Mash (22-Ounce Bomber Edition)

Pull up a chair. Pour yourself a beer. A big beer. We’ve got lots to talk about.

Dr. Fabulous, who blogs at Make Mine Potato, explains how he livens up his tasting notes in an amusing reflection called “Beer Vocabulary.”

Maxim magazine’s “The Best 25 New Beers in America” met with some biting criticism in the beer blogosphere. Stan Hieronymus rants with style about what’s wrong with Maxim’s list.

Boak and Bailey, a pair of beer bloggers from England, offer some pub recommendations for Canterbury.

Here are seven reasons to visit Brewery Ommegang this year. The brewery plans to release a new beer every two months. That makes six. The seventh reason? The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, of course.

King me! Draft magazine has a list of the Top Ten Beers Named After Royalty.

Swedish college students staged a tongue-in-cheek protest over the Carlsberg brewery’s failure to build a 60-plus-mile beer pipeline to their student union.

Finally, the guys at The Lazy Brewer held an exploratory Amtrak pub crawl from California’s Central Valley to Sacramento. Ah, research.

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