This “Top” list is a cut above the ubiquitous Internet slideshow article. Thrillist’s Andy Kryza has drawn up a list of America’s top 16 beer cities. For each city, Kryza gives a short description, along with its major breweries, beer bars, and “tradition.”
For the record, the top five are Portland (Oregon, that is; its Maine namesake ranks 14th); San Diego; Denver; Seattle; and Chicago.
Paul’s favorite line: “Like a breakdown of Jimmer Fredette’s college stats, it’s impossible to NOT talk about Asheville’s size in a conversation about its beer scene.” He loves obscure sports analogies.
On this day in 1972, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans, and Harrison Schmitt, returned to Earth. The craft’s re-entry marked the end of America’s manned lunar program. Cernan currently holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in England, where the publishers of Original Gravity, a beer-centric magazine, have put Issue #1 online, free of charge. Enjoy!
The founders of Surly Brewing Company—Omar Ansari, a first-generation American; and Todd Haug, a death-metal guitarist—have done well, both for themselves and Minnesota’s beer drinkers.
Belgian scientists have found a way to keep beer from over-foaming. They applied a magnetic field to a malt infused with hops extract to disperse its anti-foaming agent into tinier particles.
Archaeologists have concluded that Iceland’s Vikings were more interested in drinking and feasting than in pillaging. Unfortunately for them, the Little Ice Age became the ultimate party-pooper.
A pair of brothers have invented something that makes it easier to enjoy a beer while taking a shower. Their Sip Caddy is a portable cup holder that can be attached to the wall.
Lance Curran, the co-founder of Chicago’s Arcade Brewery, loves comic books so much that he had comic strips drawn on the labels of its Festus Rotgut black wheat ale.
Finally, a woman attending a Philadelphia 76ers game wound up with a lapful of beer after an errant pass knocked the cup out of her hand. The way the Sixers are playing this season, she–and every other fan–needs some beer to deaden the pain.
Last week’s Friday Mash linked a story about Black Friday beer releases. Most of those beers are stouts, and many are barrel-aged. Barrel-aged stout, in turn, was created more than 20 years ago at the Goose Island Brewing Company in Chicago. It’s called Bourbon County Brand Stout, and it’s one of the more famous beers in American brewing history.
Bourbon County was created by brewmaster Greg Hall, who has since moved on to make cider in west Michigan. To this day, Goose Island follows Hall’s recipe faithfully. It uses barrels from six or seven different bourbon distilleries. The brewery requires 3,000 barrels to age a full batch of Bourbon County and its variants. Those barrels have become hard to find because so many breweries are making their own barrel-aged beers.
Because of Bourbon County’s yeast strain, and the need to ferment the beer inside the barrels, the brewers have found it’s best to start the aging process in late summer. Changing seasons and their often-extreme climates—Goose Island’s home is Chicago–are crucial to Bourbon County’s ultimate taste. Warm temperatures makes the wood expand: beer seeps into the wood, and takes on vanilla and roasted flavors. When cold weather arrives, the wood contacts, and the bourbon is pushed out of the barrel and into the beer.
It takes at least a full year of changing seasons until the beer matures. Thus August and September are hectic months at Goose Island because brewery staff have to bottle the previous year’s batch while pouring the current year’s batch into the barrels. Just in time for Black Friday.
On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola. December is celebrated as Discovery Day on the island’s two countries, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Loudoun County, Virginia, where beer tourism is stimulating the local economy. The county has eight breweries, with 16 more in the planning stages.
Black Friday has become the number-one day for beer releases. As you’ve probably figured out, most of these beers are stouts and many of them are barrel-aged.
SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewing company, still lacks a global brand. Its launch of Pilsner Urquell was a flop, and Heineken said no to a takeover offer.
Bottles and Cans, a liquor store in Chicago, is offering an adults-only Advent calendar. It contains 25 beers, each of them to be enjoyed on the weekdays leading up to Christmas.
European Union officials want Japan to open its market to imported beers. Arcane Japanese rules, such as a ban on ingredients like coriander seeds, act as “non-tariff barriers.”
Minnesota’s Excelsior Brewing Company has brewed a saison beer with pondweed and zebra mussels. The brewery insists that “minuscule” amounts of the invasive species were added.
Finally, Shoes & Brews, a runners’ gear store in Colorado, offers an incentive to get into shape. The store, which has a liquor license and 20 taps, bases the price of your first beer on your time in an 800-meter time trial.
A century ago today, George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major-league debut. Starting on the mound for the Boston Red Sox, he defeated Cleveland, 4-3. By 1919, Ruth was moved to the outfield so he—and his potent bat—could be in the lineup every day. And the rest, as they say, is history.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Lewes, Delaware, where Dogfish Head Artisan Ales has opened a beer-themed motel. The Dogfish Inn offers beer-infused soaps, logo glassware, and pickles for snacking.
Fans attending next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis can buy self-serve beer. New Draft-Serv machines will offer a choice not only of brands but also the number of ounces in a pour.
Moody Tongue Brewing, a brand-new micro in Chicago, offers a beer made with rare black truffles. A 22-ounce bottle of the 5-percent lager carries a hefty retail price of $120.
Fast Company magazine caught up with Jill Vaughn, head brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch’s Research Pilot Brewery. She’s experimented with offbeat ingredients ranging from pretzels to ghost peppers.
Entrepreneur Steve Young has developed beer’s answer to Keurig. His Synek draft system uses cartridges of concentrated beer which, when refrigerated, keep for 30 days.
Brewbound magazine caught up with Russian River Brewing Company’s owner Vinnie Cilurzo, who talked about Pliny the Elder, quality control, and possible future expansion of the brewery.
Finally, cue up the “final gravity” puns. Amateur rocketeers in Portland, Oregon, will launch a full keg of beer to an altitude of 20,000 feet. Their beer of choice? A pale ale from Portland’s Burnside Brewery.
On this day in 1911, board game mogul Milton Bradley passed away. His eponymous company—Ludwig’s been waiting to use that word–brought us The Game of Life, along with the ever-popular Yahtzee and Twister.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Utah, where state liquor regulators are cracking down on festivals put on by for-profit groups. One potential casualty of the new policy is Snowbird Ski Resort’s Oktoberfest celebration.
Gilley’s, the Texas honky-tonk made famous in the film Urban Cowboy, closed in 1989. However, a local brewery is making Gilley’s blond ale. A number of retailers in the Houston area carry it.
The Gun, a London pub, recently hosted an all-unfiltered beer festival. “Spring Haze” featured 30 beers from local micros. Fans contend that unfiltered beer not only tastes better, but is healthier.
Craft brewers have invaded Bavaria, the last bastion of brewing tradition. The newcomers’ offerings include Belgian-style wheat bock, a strawberry ale, a Baltic porter, and of course, IPAs.
Now that grilling season is here, scientists suggest that you marinate your meat in beer, which inhibits the development of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that have been linked to cancer.
Taco Bell’s parent company’s is working on a new spinoff chain called the U.S. Taco Company & Urban Taproom, which will serve craft beer as well as beer milkshakes to pair with menu items.
Finally, Two Brothers Brewing Company has created a beer for Chicago’s Field Museum. The white IPA is called “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a name once given to museum collections.
On this day in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated. Can you name the other railroads on the Monopoly board? Time’s up. They’re the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading Railroad, and the Short Line.
We begin in Brazil, where the Polar brewery has an invention that will make it easier to converse in bars. It’s a beer cooler that cuts out GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, and 4G signals.
California’s drought could make your Lagunitas IPA will taste different. The Russian River, which provides Lagunitas with its water, is drying up, and brewery might have to find another source.
Beer was the headline ingredient in last Sunday’s “Chopped” competition on the Food Network. The show, with Stone Brewing Company’s Greg Koch as a judge, airs again on Sunday evening.
Higher zymurgical education awaits in the form of Joshua Bernstein’s new book, The Complete Beer Course. It contains a series of “classes” devoted to families of beers.
On Tuesday, when he was in Chicago to announce the award of a federal manufacturing grant, President Obama put in a plug for Goose Island Brewing Company’s “superior beer.”
A Korean romantic comedy in which the female lead makes chimek to celebrate winter’s first snow has Chinese viewers clamoring for the dish, which is Korean for “fried chicken” and “beer.”
Finally, a gathering of 490 Yelp members at Santa Anita Race Track might set a new Guinness record for beer tasters. We hope they bet on Ambitious Brew, who won the $100,000 Sensational Star stakes race.
- Nitrogen’s share of the pressurizing gas in a typical “nitro” beer: 70 percent.
- Carbon dioxide’s share: 30 percent.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev’s share of the U.S. beer market: 47.6 percent.
- Its share of Canada’s beer market: 40.6 percent.
- Estimated annual growth in IPA production: 36 percent in 2012.
- Consecutive years that IPA has been the most-entered category at the Great American Beer Festival: 13.
- India pale ales entered at this year’s Great American Beer Festival: 252.
- Breweries competing in this year’s Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers in Chicago: 86.
- Beers entered in the competition: 214.
- Breweries competing in this year’s International Beer Competition in Tokyo: 450.
- Countries represented in that competition: 14.
- Boston Lager’s share of Samuel Adams sales in 1998: 60 percent.
- Boston Lager’s share in 2011: 24 percent.
- Alcoholic content of Snake Venom, the strongest-ever beer: 67.5 percent.
- Alcoholic content of Armageddon, the previous record holder: 65 percent.
On this day in 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr., of the Baltimore Orioles played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking a 56-year-old record set by Lou Gehrig. Ripken’s streak ended at 2,632 games, a record that many fans think will stand for all time.
And now…the Mash!
We begin in Auburn, Alabama, where fans of the visiting Washington State Cougars drank Quixote’s Bar dry, forcing it to close four hours early. Unfortunately, WSU lost the game, 31-24.
San Diego’s Museum of Man has an exhibit titled “BEERology”, which runs until next summer. Erin Meanley of San Diego magazine reviews it.
People have gotten married at the Great American Beer Festival, but this year, St. Arnold Brewing Company will have a wedding chapel on the festival floor.
Italy’s latest culinary invention is a beer that can be spread like chocolate cream. There’s no American distributor–yet–but the UK’s Selfridges will ship it to you for $51.
For years, big breweries have argued that mergers lower prices. However, researchers have found that the 2008 merger creating MolsonCoors resulted in a short-term price spike.
Drinking Buddies, starring Olivia Wilde, is a romantic comedy about craft brewery workers. It was shot at Revolution Brewing, and other Chicago microbrews make cameo appearances.