Thirteen years ago, I drove Paul to the airport, where he hopped a plane to California and headed up U.S. 101 to California’s wine country. Not to visit the wineries but to try the microbrews that, for the most part, weren’t available back home. Since then, both of us have made several trips to the San Francisco area, and the beer has gotten even better. In fact, northern California has become a craft beer destination in its own right.
Tim O’Rourke of the San Jose Mercury News recently fired up his app, enlisted a designated driver, and journeyed north along the NorCal Ale Trail. His travels began at the Marin Brewing Company in Petaluma, and wound their way up the coast to the Mad River Brewing Company in Humboldt County. Even if you’re not from California, you’ll recognize many of the breweries O’Rourke visited along the way. They’ve become that popular.
On this day in 1837, Canadian journalist and politician William Lyon Mackenzie wrote an essay calling for a rebellion against the United Kingdom. During the 1990s, the Upper Canada Brewing Company honored him with an ale called “Rebellion.”
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Hyde Park, Utah, whose heavily Mormon population voted nearly 2-to-1 to allow beer sales. The town’s mayor said it was the most emotional issue he’s ever seen.
Spain’s Catalonia has its own language, customs, and cuisine. If brewery owner Alex Padro has its way, it will soon have its own beer as well.
Sonoma County, California, the birthplace of modern craft brewing, boasts 20 craft breweries. The breweries have a significant economic impact, and have become a tourist attraction.
Heady Topper, a double IPA made by The Alchemist brewery, is so popular that the brewery’s owners had to close their retail store after neighbors complained about rowdy customers.
Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the California Route Lager. It’s a California common beer made by the New Belgium Brewing Company.
Garrett Oliver talked with the New York Times about his favorite places to drink beer in Sweden. Oliver has teamed up with Carlsberg to start The New Carnegie Brewery in Stockholm.
Finally, two men are raising funds on Kickstarter.com for The Beer Tusk, a device for those who like to “shotgun” their beers. It’s safer than a key, and less likely to make the beer backsplash.
The Anderson Valley Brewing Company website uses the phrase “bahl hornin’” to describe its products. That means “good drinking” in Boontling, the distinctive dialect spoken in the valley since before the Civil War. Its several thousand residents coined some 1,500 words–some derived from people’s names, others from twisting English nouns–and created a language that was unintelligible to outsiders.
Sadly, Boontling is on the verge of dying. The valley’s remaining speakers are getting on in years, and younger residents haven’t learned it. Its demise will leave the Anderson Valley culturally poorer. As one local resident put it, “One day it will be like if you looked out there and saw there were no more lilies, or no more oak trees.”
On this day in 1930, Don Shula was born. Shula coached the Miami Dolphins to two consecutive Super Bowl victories. The first, in Super Bowl VII, completed the first and only undefeated season in the history of the National Football League.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Ostbevern, Germany, where a hotel has created a room with a two-person bed made from a beer barrel. The barrel, which dates back to the 19th century, was used as recently as 1995.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has enlisted surviving members of The Gratetful Dead to help make its American Beauty pale ale. It’s also asking Deadheads to suggest ingredients for the beer.
Last spring’s freakishly warm weather wiped out the cherry crop in the Great Lakes region. Which explains why cherry beer has been so hard to find lately.
Iraq and Afghanistan vet Jake Voelker has launched a beer tour business. Pennsylvania Brewery Tours will run trips to breweries that are “slightly out of reach,” with Voelker providing history and color en route.
Russia begins 2013 with a new law that classifies beer as alcohol rather than food. It also puts an end to beer sales at street kiosks and 24-hour convenience stores.
With the help of the folks at Sierra Nevada, the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux have raised $7 million to restore a Trappist monastery that William Randolph Hearst shipped from Spain in the 1930s.
Finally, journalist Evan Benn sat down with Dan Kopman, the CEO of Schlafly Bottleworks, who talked about expansion, festivals, and Schlafly in cans.
Meet Mike Zislis. He’s built a beer empire in the southern California’s South Bay region near Los Angeles International Airport.
In 1989, Zislis opened the Manhattan Beach Brew Company; and together with his brother Dave, have largely remade downtown Manhattan Beach. In 1992, years later, opened a second brewpub in nearby Redondo Beach. Both establishments survived the brewpub shakeout of the 1990s. More recently, Zislis opened Rock & Brew, a restaurant and brewpub in El Segundo. His partners are Gene Simmons, the lead singer of KISS, and rock promoter Dave Furnano.
Zislis is one of the few people to admit to having brewed beer before coming of age. In fact, he got started at age 13, appropriating empty five-gallon Pepsi kegs in order to make his beer. How did he pull that off?
“I was at the orthodontist’s office and saw in Popular Science a beer kit for $15. I went to the post office and mail-ordered it and started making beer. I kind of had to convince my parents it was an algae experiment, but it was strictly for drinking reasons. By the time I was in college, I was a good brewer.”
And a highly successful brewer.
Seventy-five years ago today, The Hobbit was published. Author J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration for his classic fantasy from the pints of ale he drank in the Rabbit Room at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Founders’ “Stout Season” is underway. The brewery has three million bottles of Breakfast Stout ready for distribution.
Remember Asahi Super Dry beer? Hirotaro Higuchi, the brewery’s president who launched the beer in 1987, has passed away. Super Dry made Asahi Japan’s top-selling brewery.
Chris Hansen, who wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle, bought beers for everybody at F.X. McRory’s to celebrate a favorable vote for a new arena in the Emerald City.
People in Madison, Wisconsin, love their beer, but some residents are up in arms over beer ads on city buses.
How do you celebrate becoming the first person to run the length of Australia’s 5,330-kilometer (3,312-mile) Bicentennial Trail? If you’re Richard Bowles, who accomplished that feat, you order a beer.
Since 1885, steam-powered “Skunk” trains have chugged through California’s Mendocino County. Once a year, Lagunitas Brewery takes over the train for a friends-and-family outing through redwood country.
Finally, Nicholas Kuznetz set out to answer a burning question: How cold does a can of Coors Light have to get before the mountains turn blue?
In 1752, the British Empire–which then included the American colonies–adopted the Gregorian calendar. This was done because the old Julian calendar over-estimated the length of a year by 11 minutes–a discrepancy that added up over the centuries. So September 2 was followed by September 14, putting the calendar back in sync with the seasons.
Ludwig’s calendar says it’s Friday, which means it’s time for…The Mash!
We begin in Traverse City, Michigan, where Pastor Brian Berghoef of the Watershed Church leads theological discussions at the Right Brain Brewery. Berghoef says, “Some of the most important moments in the history of the church took place in the pub.”
One event on tap at Toronto Beer Week is a brewing competition for beer writers. Each participating writer was paired with a local brewery, and helped develop a recipe and brew the beer.
In Smithsonian magazine’s blogs, Alastair Bland leads his readers on an unofficial tour of northern California breweries.
The Griffin, a pub in Warmley, England, has a loyal patron. A very loyal patron. Arthur Reid has been a regular there since he became old enough to drink, 72 years–and 30,000 pints ago.
Darla Guillen, a Houston journalist, spent a day pouring beer at a brewery booth at a festival in Galveston. Her stint left her with a greater appreciation for festival-goers’ beer sophistication.
Evidently, R2D2 has found gainful employment after Star Wars. He was spotted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, dispensing beer to tailgaters at the Washington-LSU football game.
Finally, did you know that in 1809, President James Madison proposed a national brewery and a cabinet-level Secretary of Beer? It was part of his program for protecting the domestic beer market.
On this day in 1923, the iconic “Hollywood” sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, California. It originally read “Hollywoodland ” the name of the housing development it advertised. The four last letters disappeared when the sign was renovated in 1949.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Livermore, California, where the First Street Alehouse has more than 6,000 beer cans on permanent display. It’s North America’s largest collection, assembled over 36 years by local resident David Goett.
The world premiere of “The Cincinnati Beer Story”, a documentary chronicling the history of beer-making in the that city, will take place at Mecklenburg Gardens in Cincinnati. Several members of the film team are scheduled to speak.
A power outage caused by last week’s freak windstorm resulted in part of Port City Brewing Company’s beer being fermented at a higher-than-planned temperature. The Virginia-based brewery decided to release it as a California common beer called Derecho Common.
Evan Rail updates us on London. Once derided as Britain’s worst beer town, it has experienced a revival, with over 20 breweries in operation and several more on the way.
Call it “glass-roots politics.” Lobbying by beer lovers and media coverage prodded Alabama’s liquor regulators to rescind their ban on Founders Dirty Bastard and Backwoods Bastard.
Regents of the University of Minnesota voted to allow beer sales at TCF Stadium, the home of the Golden Gophers’ football team. The way that team has been playing, fans need a few to get them through the game.
Finally, Ben Davidson, a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders who starred in a Miller Lite commercial with John Madden and Rodney Dangerfield, passed away at the age of 72.
Nowadays, you can find a variety of high-quality beer almost anywhere in the country. According to Ken Grossman, the co-founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, you can thank northern California. In an interview with Will Hawkes of the Independent, Grossman credited the region’s free-thinking culture, which give birth to both the Summer of Love and Silicon Valley, for good American beer. Grossman explains:
“It was an advantage for us to be here. I’ve often wondered, you know, if Anchor hadn’t been in San Francisco, and New Albion hadn’t started in Sonoma, and if we hadn’t started here, would the craft world have got as much traction as it did? In Northern California, with the culture of good wine and food and things that are not mainstream–I think that helped kick-start things. I don’t think if we’d have been in Kansas, for example, it would have been the same. That’s not to say craft beer wouldn’t be here today, but it probably wouldn’t have happened as fast.”