The Friday Mash (Czech Republic Edition)

On this day in 1918, Czechoslovakia came into existence. Since 1993, after the “Velvet Divorce” from Slovakia, the country is known as the Czech Republic. Different name, but the same great beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in New Jersey, the only state that bars amusement games in bars. Lawmakers are considering the “Dave & Busters Bill,” which would repeal the 55-year-old law.

Bad news for microbreweries: beer drinkers in their 20s are gravitating toward craft beer. The number one reason is that this age group is bored with the taste of mass-market brews.

They’ve risen from the dead. Schlitz, Narragansett, and four other “zombie” beers are back from “Pabst purgatory”. Interestingly, three of the six are from Greater Cincinnati.

Not everybody loves session beer. Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb thinks the idea is dumb. He insists there’s a reason why you don’t see session bourbon or session wine in stores.

Skol’s new Beats Senses beer comes in a deep-blue-colored bottle, and a Brazilian agency decided the best way to advertise it was to film a commercial underwater–which wasn’t easy.

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas features the first-ever sea-going gastropub. It will serve a variety of American craft beers, which are still hard to find aboard cruise ships.

Finally, Joe Maddon impressed sportswriters at his first press conference as the Chicago Cubs’ new manager. He held it the The CubbyBear, a ballpark bar, and treated the writers to a shot and a beer.

The Friday Mash (Istanbul Not Constantinople Edition)

The Four Lads once asked the musical question, “Why did Constantinople get the works?” Their answer: “It’s nobody’s business but the Turks’” Eighty-four years ago today, the Turks changed the city’s name to Istanbul. They also changed the name of their capital to Ankara.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Cincinnati, where Listerman Brewing Company is hosting Starkbierfest, a family-friendly version of Munich’s Lenten tradition where potent doppelbock takes center stage.

Yards Brewing Company is brewing a special beer for the popular TV show “Walking Dead.” No humans have been eaten in the brewing process, which involves smoking goat brains.

Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has installed craft beer taps at his official residence. The first keg he tapped was Silverback Pale from Wynkoop Brewing Company, which he founded.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Fortune magazine writers tried MillerCoors’s new Fortune beer and gave it a thumbs-up–and not just for its name.

While visiting Belgium, Jay Brooks discovered a new organization, the Belgian Family Brewers. Its members have been brewing for at least 50 years, and have been family-owned all that time.

Purists are up in arms about it, but three Seattle-area homebrewers have developed the PicoBrew Zymatic, a “set-and-forget” system that can be controlled from one’s laptop.

Finally, Florida craft brewers learned that campaign cash trumps free enterprise. The State Senate president admitted that he’s against legalizing half-gallon growlers because a big beer distributor is a major contributor to his party.

Cincinnati: A Mecca for Beer Tourists?

People visit the Napa Valley to taste wine, and travel to Kentucky to taste bourbon. Now Cincinnati hopes to draw beer tourists to the Over-the-Rhine Historic District. OTR, as locals call it, was founded by German immigrants in the 19th century. The neighborhood recently fell upon hard times, but gentrification is taking place.

Now a non-profit is trying to turn OTR’s Brewery District, where 18 large breweries once operated, into a tourist attraction. Three new breweries have already opened. One of them, Rhinegeist, has opened a taproom in what used to be part of the old Christian Moerlein complex. As for Christian Moerlein, the brand name is now owned by entrepreneur Greg Hardman, whose brewery not only has a taproom but plans to add a multimillion-dollar tour facility.

The Friday Mash (Leaves of Grass Edition)

On this day in 1819, Walt Whitman was born on Long Island. He is best known for his epic poem, Leaves of Grass, which he published with his own money in 1855. Whitman, who had strong political views, originally supported the temperance movement, but came to enjoy wine and Champagne later in life. Too bad craft beer hadn’t been invented yet.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Germany, where brewers are worried that extracting natural gas by “fracking” threatens the purity of the water they use to make beer.

This summer, Rachel Dean of Cincinnati will be offering guided tours of her hometown’s microbreweries. Her tours will also include tasting and sensory education.

Philly Beer Week kicks off this evening, and has ten places to drink beer in the City of Brotherly Love.

After two years of delays, the 1990s boy band Hanson finally has its own beer. It’s called–what else?–Mmmhops, and it makes a cameo appearance in the film Hangover 3.

Fat Head’s Brewery, which has gained national acclaim, will build a brewpub in Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District. It will sell local micro products as well as its own beers.

A clever German, who apparently had a lot of time on his hands, has invented a device that can open 24 beer bottles at once.

Finally, ESPN’s DJ Gallo has a remedy for the less-than-hygenic conditions found in ballparks: drink beer, which might contain enough alcohol to kill those nasty bacilli.

The Friday Mash (Thriller Edition)

Thirty years ago today, Epic Records released Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the biggest-selling album in history. It was a pioneer in using music videos as a promotional tool, and seven singles from the album reached Billboard’s top ten. If you’re thinking, “hey, wrong Michael Jackson!”, you’re our kind of blog reader.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district, where Christian Moerlein beer will be brewed in a 19th-century brewery building. Before Prohibition, Christian Moerlein was Ohio’s largest-selling brand.

Ry Beville’s love of craft beer has developed into an occupation. Beville, a native of Virginia, publishes Japan’s only bilingual craft beer magazine, the Japan Beer Times.

John Hall is stepping down as CEO of Goose Island Beer Company, along with COO and founding member Tony Bowker. The Chicago-based brewery will continue to brew Goose Island’s “Vintage Series.”

Deb Carey, the president of New Glarus Brewing Company, was invited to the White House to discuss small business-related issues. She traded beer with the president: two bottles of her Serendipity ale for three bottles of White House Honey Ale.

Can you get a couple of sixers in Iraq? Yes, provided you find a shopkeeper who sells it “under the counter”…and leave the store before attracting attention.

Rogue Ales is rolling out a “novel” beer: White Whale Ale, made with a few pages from a copy of Moby Dick. The beer, an IPA, honors Portland, Oregon, bookseller Michael Powell.

Finally, tomorrow is Zwanze Day. Thirty-six select locations around the world–16 in the U.S.–will be pouring Cantillon Zwanze, a rhubarb lambic.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2012

The Friday Mash (Hurray for Hollywood Edition)

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.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Days until Cincinnati’s Christian Moerlein Lager House opens: 4.
  • Cost of building the Lager House: $10 million.
  • U.S. retail beer sales in 2011: $98 billion.
  • Change from 2010: Up 2 percent.
  • Bars per 10,000 people in the United States: 1.54.
  • Bars per 10,000 in Wisconsin: 5.88.
  • Wisconsin’s rank in bars per capita: 3rd (behind North Dakota and Montana).
  • Number of quasi-governmental Beer Stores in Ontario: 437.
  • Breweries in the consortium that own the Beer Store monopoly: 3.
  • Dollar value of beer sold by Beer Stores: C$2.6 billion (2009, the latest year available).
  • Alcoholic content of Black Label Big 10 beer (sold in Canada): 10.1 percent.
  • Size of a bottle of Big 10: 40 ounces.
  • Cost of a 40-ounce bottle: C$5.
  • People employed by the U.S. beer industry: 1.8 million.
  • Total U.S. beer industry payroll: $71.2 billion.
  • The Friday Mash (Standard Time Edition)

    On this day in 1883, American railroads replaced sun-based local time with four time zones, which survive to this day. Time zones have strange boundaries, which often divide states in two, because they once connected railroad stations in major cities. But wherever you live, it’s Ludwig Standard Time. Which means it’s time for a beer.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Chesterfield, England, where the local constabulary caught 19 wanted criminals with a sting operation that offered them a crate of free beer.

    Our friend Lew Bryson, who began the “Breweries” series published by Stackpole Books, is now going on television. His new series, “American Beer Blogger,” is a half-hour series dedicated to all facets of the craft beer market.

    Christian Moerlein was the first person inducted into Cincinnati’s Beer Barons’ Hall of Fame. It’s located at the brewery named for Moerlein, which will open on the riverfront in February.

    Did you miss this year’s Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas? The annual celebration, which began 50 years ago, has grown into a ten-day, German-themed “Salute to Sausage.”

    In Pnomh Penh, Cambodia, national brands Anchor and Angkor have been joined by newcomer, Kingdom Pilsner. Kingdom brews a Continental lager adapted to local tastes.

    Session #58 has been announced. Its theme is, appropriately enough, A Christmas Carol–you get the idea–and it will be hosted by Phil Hardy of Beersay.

    Finally, a Phoenix-based company has come out with a beer made for dogs. Bowser Beer is non-carbonated, contains no hops, and (sorry, Ludwig) is non-alcoholic.

    The Friday Mash (Friendly Confines Edition)

    One hundred and fifty years ago today, William Wrigley, Jr., was born. Wrigley owned Catalina Island; the Wm Wrigley Jr. Company, the maker of chewing gum; and the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs still play–unfortunately, quite badly–in the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Cincinnati, where Opening Day is next April 6. However, the Moerlein Lager House, which is near the ballpark, will get a two-month head start on the Reds. It will serve eight mainstay beers, plus a rotating monthly special.

    Just in time for the Great American Beer Festival, Laura Bly of USA Today takes us along the Colorado Beer Trail. Her article has bonus video of the Boulder Beer Bus.

    When Pope Benedict XVI visited Germany, a brewery in Berlin made a “Papst Bier” in his honor. Before serving the beer, brewery staff “ensouled” it with Gregorian chants played on a ghetto blaster.

    British bloggers Boak and Bailey report that their country’s breweries have gone through the archives to find pre-1970s beer recipes to re-introduce to a new generation of drinkers.

    What do Denver’s food trucks and breweries have in common with the oxpecker birds and zebras? As Billy Broas of explains, each gains an advantage from cooperating with the other.

    From the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Department, a Washington, D.C. resident had to apologize for bringing a case of beer to the firefighters who put out a blaze in his house. The firefighters didn’t drink the beer while on duty, but still face disciplinary action.

    Finally, Detroit fans toasting the playoff-bound Tigers have a new place to raise a glass: Tashmoo, a pop-up beer garden that features a rotating lineup of Michigan-brewed micros.

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