Cigar City Brewing

The Friday Mash (Night at the Opera Edition)

Fifty years ago today, the Metropolitan Opera House opened at Lincoln Square in Manhattan. The opening-night performance was the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber.

And now…The Mash!

We begin on ESPN College GameDay, where Sam Crowder held up a sign last Saturday asking Vemmo users to send him beer money. Within hours, more than 2,000 people contributed.

BBC correspondent Stephen Evans hopped a flight to make a beer run…all the way to Beijing. His Chinese friends had made a trip to the border to acquire “forbidden” Taedonggang beer, which is brewed in North Korea.

Here’s a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had. It’s a beer mug that won’t block your view of the TV when you’re drinking.

Pork roll aka Taylor ham, a New Jersey breakfast favorite, is now a beer ingredient. Flying Fish Brewing Company has released Exit 7 Pork Roll Porter as part of its “Exit Series”.

Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing has rolled out a beer honoring the stereotypical “Florida Man”. The label for this beer, a double IPA, depicts a man wrestling an alligator—and winning.

Beer is more expensive than ever at NFL stadiums, but there’s one consolation: you can now buy craft beer from breweries that Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors recently acquired.

Finally, Nebraska liquor regulators have banned homebrewers from beer festivals. Because homebrewers aren’t licensed, there’s no assurance that they meet health and sanitation standards.

The Friday Mash (Stanley Cup Edition)

On this day in 1892, Lord Stanley, Canada’s former Governor-General, pledged to donate a silver challenge cup to the best hockey team in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups, nine more than the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Silver Bay, Minnesota, where the city council banned a local microbrewery’s products from the municipal liquor store after the brewery opposed against taconite mining in the area.

Hops have been used in folk medicine for centuries. Today’s scientists have been working on harnessing hops’ anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

Releases draw big crowds of beer geeks. Unfortunately, some of them behave badly, pushing and shoving, cutting in line, and abusing breweries on social media when the beer runs out.

The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the brewing industry is picking up, and now craft breweries are taking one another over. Recently, Oskar Blues Brewery has bought Cigar City Brewing.

Tom Osborne and Mike Robb appeared on the television show Shark Tank to pitch The Beer Blizzard, a freezable product that fits on the bottom of a beer can, keeping it colder longer.

A craft brewery in London is attacking the problem of food waste by salvaging heels from bread loaves. The heels—which normally go to waste—are made into a beer called Toast Ale.

Finally, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione says he got his first taste of the beer business waiting tables at a Manhattan bar. That inspired Calagione to buy a homebrewing kit. On a whim, he added overly ripe cherries…and the rest is history.

New Pricing Structure for Dark Lord Day 2016

Tickets for this year’s Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds Brewing Compay, will set you back $200. The reason? Three Floyds has switched to all-inclusive pricing. It’s a concept inspired by Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing, which had been plagued by large crowds and disappointed attendees at recent release parties for its Hunaphu’s Imperial Stout.

Those who buy a ticket for Dark Lord Day will be given a four-pack of Dark Lord Imperial Stout, plus a bottle of a Dark Lord variant; admission to the afternoon festival, which features beer from dozens of breweries; a tote bag; and $40 worth of food and drink vouchers. Three Floyds hopes that the new system will shorten lines and make life easier for festival staff.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday.

A Victim of Its Own Success

Release parties can be a great way for a brewery to draw attention to their flagship products. Sometimes, however, a party can be the victim of its own success. Joey Redner, the owner of Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, has a cautionary tale to tell.

For the past five years, Cigar City has hosted Hunaphu Day, which celebrates the release of Hunaphu’s Imperial Stout. Last year, it drew a big crowd that blocked entrance to neighboring businesses. To avoid a recurrence, the brewery made this year’s Hunaphu Day a ticketed event. The tickets, which cost $50 each, sold out. However, thousands of party-crashers showed up, preventing ticket-holders–one of whom drove 18 hours–from getting any Hunaphu.

Redner apologized for what happened, and tried to make it up to Hunaphu lovers by offering free beer in his tasting room the next day. He also decided to get out of the release party business, telling, “This year they got WAY around my pitiful efforts. I am acknowledging defeat. That was the last Hunahpu Day. The beer will go into distribution next year and hopefully spread out among many accounts it will get to consumers more fairly.”

The Friday Mash (Boston Tea Party Edition)

On this day in 1773, a group of colonists called the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships and threw their cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. The Sons of Liberty were led by none other than Samuel Adams, whose smiling face nowadays adorns millions of bottles of ale and lager.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Quebec, where a number of breweries have gotten into barrel-aged beer. Some of their best, and strongest, offerings are now available for Christmas celebrations and gift-giving.

Need something to do on Sunday? Deborah Braconnier of Yahoo! Sports, who calls herself a life-long Denver Broncos fan, proposes a Tim Tebow drinking game.

The Pacific Northwest supplies most American-grown hops, but entrepreneurs elsewhere in the country, like Jeff and Bonnie Steinman of Plainwell, Michigan, are growing their own.

Cigar City Brewing decided not to use Winston Churchill on the label of its barleywine, even though it could legally do so in Florida, because the British statesman’s descendants objected.

Which craft brewery had the most creative packaging this year? Brian Stechschulte of All Over Beer, says it’s the 21st Amendment Brewery, whose four-packs for Allies Win the War look like a newspaper from 1945.

Will the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company open a second brewery in North Carolina? The brewery isn’t saying, but local media report that it’s meeting with local officials.

Finally, if you need an excuse to bring home some beer, the Beer Mapping Project has declared tomorrow National Growler Day.

The Friday Mash (Io Saturnalia! Edition)

In ancient Rome, December 17 marked the beginning of Saturnalia, a week-long celebration of pleasures of the flesh. Christian leaders incorporated it into the church calendar to encourage pagans to convert; and declared its final day, December 25, to be Jesus’s birthday. The converts celebrated the new Christmas holiday, and carried on the “eat, drink, and be merry” tradition that continues to this day. So what are you waiting for?

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Anaheim, California, where Noble Ale Works is about to start operations. It’ll be ideal for sports fans, as the brewery and tasting room are within walking distance of Angels Stadium and the Honda Center.

Craft brewers have definitely attracted the attention of television producers. A Tampa film company, whose credits include celebrity animal expert Jack Hanna and National Geographic’s popular “Swamp Men” series, is developing a new reality show featuring Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing.’s Jon Zemke sat down to talk with Mike Plesz, owner of Rochester Mills (Michigan) Brewing Company. They talked about sustainability, historic preservation, community building, and, of course, craft beer.

Are you a beer blogger? If so, save these dates: May 20-22 in London, England; and August 19-21 in Portland, Oregon. The Beer Bloggers Conference homepage will keep you updated.

Many modern-day India pale ales are potent beverages, but Ron Pattinson (Shut Up About Barkley Perkins) says that wasn’t always the case.

Beer as medicine? When Pomona, California, went dry in 1901, city fathers exempted alcohol for medicinal purposes. Guess what? Residents flocked to the doctor’s office for a “prescription.”

Finally, Naomi Farley of the UK News Reporter says now is the time for all Englishmen (and Englishwomen) to do their duty and switch from wine, 99 percent of which is imported, to beer, 90 percent of which is brewed in England.

Note: There will be no Friday Mash on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve because Ludwig insists on spending quality time with his pride. The Friday Mash will return on January 7.

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