On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, beginning the first-ever solo trans-Atlantic flight. Five years later, Amelia Earhart became the first female aviator to accomplish that feat.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in the halls of justice, where Flying Dog Ales will fund a “First Amendment Society” with the settlement money the state of Michigan paid it. The courts ruled that Michigan violated Flying Dog’s constitutional rights by denying it permission to market Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA.
The Brooklyn Brewery has signed a long-term lease under which it will build a beer garden, brewing facility, and restaurant on the site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard..
A Munich court ordered the Hofbraukeller beer hall to honor its contract to host an event hosted by a far-right political party. In 1919, Adolf Hitler delivered his first-ever political speech at the Hofbraukeller.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, soon to be the new home of the Atlanta Falcons, will have the cheapest beer in the National Football League: $5. It will also offer $3 hot dogs and $2 Coca-Colas.
Some of the biggest names in Chicago’s beer community have joined an effort to raise funds to build the Chicago Brewseum. It will serve beer made on-premises by guest brewers.
Former major-leaguer Brandon Laird, now playing for Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, won himself a year’s supply of beer after hitting a home run off the Kirin Brewery sign at the Tokyo Dome.
Finally, the Saugatuck Brewing Company wasted no time poking fun at Anheuser-Busch’s rebranding of Budweiser as “America”. Its parody beer, “‘Murica”, is brewed in a style America’s founders might describe as “Freedom,” and the process is naturally overseen by 1,776 bald eagles.
On this day in 1989, the Cedar Point amusement park opened Magnum XL-200, the first 200-plus-foot-tall roller coaster. Tomorrow, the park will unveil its 17th coaster: Valravn, the tallest, longest, and fastest of its kind in the world.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in eastern Quebec, where convenience stores were mobbed by New Brunswick residents after a court struck down that province’s law against bringing liquor across the border. Beer is almost twice as expensive in N.B. than in Quebec.
In Wisconsin, three fishing buddies pulled up a six-pack of Budweiser cans that, according to Anheuser-Busch, are more than 60 years old. Unfortunately, the cans were empty.
First “beard beer”, now this. Australia’s 7 Cent Brewery is using yeast from brewers’ belly-button lint to brew a special beer for an upcoming festival.
British regulators take short pints seriously. So seriously that they brought a pub owner before the local magistrate for serving a pint that was six teaspoons less than a full pint.
Broadway actors Mark Aldrich and Jimmy Ludwig are launching a series of beers based on Broadway shows. Their first is “Rise Up Rye”, inspired by the hit musical Hamilton. Rye was the mainstay grain of colonial American brewers.
On June 2, the Asheville Tourists baseball team will take the field as the “Beer City Tourists”. It’s the team’s way of honoring the city’s brewing community—and taking part in Asheville Beer Week.
Finally, Taedonggang beer, from North Korea’s state-owned brewery, has turned up in stores in some Chinese cities. It’s high-quality beer, but its price—a 22-ouncer costs the equivalent of more than $3 U.S.—is too high for the average Chinese consumer.
During Super Bowl 50, Anheuser-Busch Inbev ran an ad called “Not Backing Down”, in which it asserted that making Budweiser is “NOT A HOBBY.”
Gary Glass, the director of the American Homebrewers Association, wasted no time firing back at A-B. His post on the AHA’s blog, contained this rebuttal:
The hobby of making beer is usually done in small batches at home by passionate beer lovers. Budweiser is made in massive automated factories (not what I would consider “brewed the hard way,” as suggested by a Budweiser ad aired during last year’s Super Bowl)—it’s actually about as far from a hobby as you can get. As homebrewers, we brew beer because we love beer with full flavor and by brewing beer ourselves we can hone in on the flavors we like most. And beyond that we can experiment and create new beer flavors that no one has tried before. Budweiser is the antithesis of homebrew: beer that’s made to be as light in flavor as possible and to never change.
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.
On this day in 1886, pharmacist John Pemberton first sold a carbonated beverage named “Coca-Cola” as a patent medicine. Pemberton, a wounded Confederate veteran who became addicted to morphine, developed the beverage as a non-opium alternative.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Rochester, New York, where North American Breweries is putting Genesee beer, Genesee Cream Ale, and Genesee Ice in retro bottles. The packaging hearkens back to the 1960s, the heyday of the “Genny” brand.
Sad news from North Carolina. Dustin Canestorp, a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps, has closed his Beer Army Combat Brewery. He blames state franchise laws that effectively tie a brewery to a distributor for life.
Executives of the nation’s big breweries are getting worried about the amount of discounting going on. The beers you’re most likely to find on sale include Bud Light, Budweiser, and Shock Top.
Craft beer has been susceptible to “the next big thing” mentality. According to Allen Park of Paste magazine, trends that “have more than overstayed their welcome” include waxing bottles, session IPAs, and adjuncts.
Craft brewers are scrambling to comply with a little-known provision of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” which requires breweries and restaurants to disclose nutritional information, including the caloric content of their beers.
City officials aim to make Toronto the world’s craft beer capital. Measures include creating a craft brewery culinary trail and lowering regulatory barriers to brewery start-ups.
Finally, a growing number of craft breweries are making their recipes available to the public. Some, such as Russian River Brewing Company and Rogue Ales, are working with supply shops to develop kits for homebrewed versions of their beers.
Sixty years ago today, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it would defend Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem, Howl, against obscenity charges. Two years later, a California Superior Court judge ruled that the poem was of “redeeming social importance” and thus not obscene.
And now.…The Mash!
We begin in Rhode Island, where Intuit, the tax software company, teamed up with a local brewery to brew a beer for accountants only. It’s called CPA IPA, and it’s just in time for tax season.
Thomas Hardy’s Ale, lovingly described by the author in The Trumpet Major, is set to return after a 16-year absence. Interbrew, an Italian company, is looking for a suitable contract brewer, and has sent a preview edition to beer writers.
It’s been called “the women’s libation movement.” Women around the world are challenging beer-related stereotypes, especially sexist brand names and ads that feature young, half-naked women.
British researchers have found that while most people’s alcohol consumption peaks during young adulthood, frequent drinking becomes more common in middle and old age, especially among men.
Five thousand years ago, Tel Aviv was a party town for expats. At a downtown construction site, archaeologists found fragments of large ceramic basins used by Egyptians to brew beer.
Griffin Claw Brewing Company will release a batch of Beechwood Aged Pumpkin Peach Ale. It’s a pointed retort to Budweiser’s “Brewed the Hard Way” Super Bowl ad poking fun at craft beer.
Finally, The “Bottle Boys,” who play music with beer bottles, have joined forces with the Budapest Art Orchestra to play a medley of epic movie themes including those from Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones.
Anheuser-Busch, whose products have steadily lost market share in recent years, aired a Super Bowl ad titled “Brewed the Hard Way, which made fun of craft beer and the people who enjoy it. The craft beer community wasted no time firing back.
One of the best critiques came from Jim Vorel, Paste magazine’s news editor. He led off by telling his readers that he’d been to the Budweiser Research Pilot Brewery and met the people who work there.
Vorel then opened fire on “Brewed the Hard Way”. A few of his comments:
- “So, what if right after we say it’s not to be fussed over, we IMMEDIATELY trumpet the fact that it’s beechwood aged, something that roughly 1% of our target demographic understands?”
- “Please, if at all possible, try not to taste our beer. If you’re able to disable your gag reflex and just pour it straight down your gullet and into your stomach in one fell swoop while bypassing the taste buds altogether, that would be ideal.”
- “Anheuser is literally mocking the consumers of the COMPANIES THEY NOW OWN. Honestly, how devastating is that for the Elysian brewing team? Your owners think your customers are pretentious hipsters. These are the people who own your business.”
Finally, Vorel notes that the “pumpkin peach beer” A-B made fun of in the ad, and which a company executive called “a fabricated, ludicrous flavor combination,” is being brewed by a company that A-B is in the process of buying. About that he says, “We’re at Irony Defcon 1, people.”
This blog has run a host of stories about the success of craft beer and the people who brew it. However, as Benjamin Dangl of CommonDreams.com explains, there are disturbing developments in the “macrobrew” sector and involving Anheuser-Busch InBev in particular.
A-B InBev owns almost half of the US beer market, and the top four companies have a 78-percent market share—in spite of there being more breweries in the United States than at any time in history. The result of consolidation is less competition and higher prices. And, in the case of A-B InBev, poorer-quality beer. Dangl notes that the company abandoned Budweiser’s traditional and much-advertised “beechwood aging” to save money—and that discerning drinkers have noticed the decline in quality.