brewery tours

Don’t Try This in Your Home State

Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb’s adventures in stunt drinking include bar crawling an airline terminal and downing the contents of a hotel mini-bar. His latest adventure was drinking at every brewery in the state—in one day. The only state where that’s possible is Rhode Island—it’s the smallest in area and has 16 breweries—so Goldfarb hopped a train to Providence, where his designated driver was waiting.

Here are the stats for Goldfarb’s day:

  • Beers sampled: 97.
  • BONUS! Whiskies sampled: 7.
  • BONUS! Rums sampled: 3.
  • Miles driven: 93.1.
  • Steps walked: 3,617.
  • Hours spent drinking: 14.
  • How did Goldfarb feel after finishing his odyssey? “I’m surprisingly not too drunk, not even too tired. I’m just really [expletive deleted] sick of beer. It feels like I will never get the taste of beer out of my mouth.”

    The Friday Mash (Bonfire of the Vanities Edition)

    On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.

    Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.

    In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.

    In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.

    Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.

    Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.

    Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.

    The Friday Mash (Victory at Sea Edition)

    On this day in 1885, Chester Nimitz was born. Nimitz was Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, and led the U.S. Navy to victory over Japan, in World War II. The best place to raise a glass to America’s last five-star admiral is at Oktoberfest in Nimitz’s hometown of Fredericksburg, Texas.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Boston, where the makers of Samuel Adams beer are preparing a special 26.2 Brew for the Boston Marathon, which takes place Monday, April 16.

    In South Korea, the latest trend in licensed establishments is the self-service pub. Customers grab a table, select one of the 100 or so beers in the coolers, and settle their tab at the end of the night.

    It’s not too early to make summer travel plans. The Forbes Travel Guide has some suggestions: its list of top ten brewery tours worth a visit.

    The village of Melonsby, England, recently lost its mobile library, but the Black Bull Pub is trying to fill the void. It’s lending books to pub patrons, who can enjoy a book with their pint.

    What are the top three top-selling imported beers in the U.S.? The answer: (1) Corona, (2) Heineken, and (3) Modelo Especial. The latter brand has posted double-digit sales growth for the past 17 years.

    Curious about those bubbles in your beer? Don Russell, a/k/a Joe Sixpack, has 16 things to know about foam.

    Finally, Rob Dunn of Scientific American magazine, has written an intriguing blog post titled “Strong Medicine: Drinking Wine and Beer Can Help Save You from Cholera, Montezuma’s Revenge, E. Coli and Ulcers”.

    A Beer Blogger on “Enemy Turf”

    Jordan St. John, a Canadian blogger with strong opinions about the brewing industry, got an invite from MolsonCoors to to tour its giant plant outside Toronto. He was surprised to discover that he’d been booked on a “grand tour,” led by the brewmaster, brewery manager, and director of packaging development. He soon discovered that the brewery wasn’t the Death Star incarnate.

    Naturally, St. John’s favorite employees were the brewing staff. He said: “I can’t hate these guys. I respect them too much. They do what I’m learning to do, and they do it well….I can’t praise the beers, but I can praise the brewers.”

    St. John offers a helpful hint. If you’re on a macrobrewery tour and get asked “what do you expect to get out of this tour?”, tell your hosts: “Brewing is basically brewing on any scale and that most of the guys who do it are probably pretty much the same guys, doing it for the same reasons.” It worked for him.

    The Friday Mash (Let it Snow Edition)

    On this day in 1887, the world’s largest-ever snowflakes–15 inches wide and eight inches thick–fell on Fort Keogh, Montana. It is not known what the people who saw those flakes were drinking at the time, but was probably a lot stronger than Big Sky Moose Drool.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in our home state of Michigan, which now has 85 breweries. Bell’s Beer, the biggest of them all, doubled its sales in 2010, and is planning further expansions in the years to come.

    The Baltimore Sun’s Eric Maza brings up to date on local brewery tours. He mentions Delaware’s new a Wine and Ale Trail.

    Some things don’t change. Ron Pattinson has posted on his Shut Up About Barkley Perkins blog a story about drunken young Brits wreaking havoc while overseas. The story was written in 1843, in an Indian newspaper. Guess what they were drinking?

    David Jensen, who hosted Session #47, serves us a round-up of beer blogger cooking with beer. The Scotch eggs with beery mayonnaise sounds tasty.

    According to Thomas and Carol Sinclair, the authors of a history of agriculture, humans lived on a diet of bread and beer for thousands of years. The downside? Vitamin deficiencies, cognitive impairment, high infant mortality, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

    Greg Kitsock hopes the popularity of black IPA will get beer lovers interested in dunkels. Kitsock reviews a number of dark lagers, domestic and imported.

    A trip to the local dog park got beer writer John Holl thinking about dogs in beer advertising, and whether his beloved Pepper has a chance at stardom.

    America’s Ten Best Brewery Tours

    Yesterday we brought you the world’s worst beers. Today, we atone for it by accentuating the positive. We’ve learned that’s editors have compiled a list of America’s ten best brewery tours.

    Heading the list is InBevA-B’s Budweiser brewery in St. Louis. The home of the Clydesdales is followed by Samuel Adams (Boston); Coors (Golden, Colorado); Lakefront (Milwaukee); Jacob Leinenkugel (Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin); Stone (Escondido, California); Terrapin (Athens, Georgia); Harpoon Brewery (Boston); New Belgium (Fort Collins, Colorado); and Boulevard (Kansas City, Missouri).

    Maryanne and Paul checked the list, and discovered that they haven’t been to five of these breweries. Looks like they’ve got work to do.

    VIP Brewery Tours in Today’s NYT

    Have you ever bought a VIP ticket to a beer festival? If so, you’re ahead of the trend. The concept has spread to microbreweries, which offer VIP guests a hands-on brewing experience. John Holl, writing in the Sunday New York Times travel section, fills us in on “brew-your-own” travel.

    John can also be found at Beer Connoisseur magazine.

    The Friday Mash

    Here are a few stories that caught our attention this past week:

    Anchor Brewing is part of Travel + Leisure magazine’s Ten Coolest Factory Tours slideshow, along with Louisville Slugger bats, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and Gibson guitars….Mario Rubio of the Examiner went beer hunting in west Sonoma County, and has a slide show to share with his readers…. Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin was in the same locale, visiting the Russian River Brewery, which is “All Hopped Up for the Cure,” as in a cure for breast cancer….And in case you haven’t seen the video yet, a 125-pound black bear invaded a grocery store in Hayward, Wisconsin, and headed straight to the beer cooler. The video prompted some amusing speculation on what brand of beer was the animal looking for?

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