The Friday Mash (Wall Street Journal Edition)

On this day in 1889, the first edition of the Wall Street Journal was published. With a total of 2.4 million print and digital subscribers, the Journal is the largest newspaper in the United States by circulation.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in the Bay Area, where David Kravets of Ars Technica magazine reviews Heineken’s new “Brewlock” technology. Brewlock consists of a rubbery bladder that holds the beer inside a plastic centrifuge. Compressed air pumped into the centrifuge forces out the beer before air can mix with it.

In Ephraim, Wisconsin, beer is legal for the first time since 1853, when it was founded by Norwegian Moravians. Efforts to overturn the beer ban failed in 1934 and 1992.

The mayor of Zaragoza, Mexico, says there’s no water for consumption by its residents. He blames Constellation Brands’ brewery, which uses the water to brew Corona and brands of beer.

A Microsoft recruiter messaged a “bae intern”, inviting him or her to an Internapalooza after-party with “noms”, “dranks”, and “Yammer beer pong tables”. A company spokesperson called the message “poorly worded”.

The “world’s oldest payslip,” which dates back 5,000 years, reveals that some laborers in ancient Mesopotamia opted to be paid in beer for their work.

After Wales made it to the semifinals of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, Budweiser celebrated the team’s success by treating every Welsh adult to a beer.

Finally, Matt Cunningham is growing hops and barley on his farm, a big step toward a beer brewed with all Ohio ingredients. Sounds perfect for Ohio State football games, where beer will be sold stadium-wide this fall.

The Friday Mash (T and A* Edition)

* No, it’s not what you think. Get your minds out of the gutter!

On this day in 1927 the Ford Motor Company ended production of the Model T automobile, which sold 16.5 million models beginning in 1909. Production of its successor, the Model A, began five months later.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Philadelphia, whose city parks will become venues for “pop-up” beer festivals this summer. “Parks on Tap” will send beer and food trucks to the parks; there will also be live music and games.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is introducing a 100-plus-year-old Mexican beer, Estrella Jasilico, to the U.S. market to compete with Corona. Mexican beer imports to the U.S. rose by more than 14 percent.

Whale vomit is the latest icky ingredient in beer. Australia’s Robe Town Brewery used it to make Moby Dick Ambergris Ale. Medieval doctors used ambergris; today, it’s an ingredient in perfume.

Before the Cuban Revolution, La Tropical was the country’s oldest beer. Miami businessman Manny Portuondo plans to bring the brand back to life, this time on the other side of the Florida Straits.

Carnival Cruise Lines’ biggest ship, Carnival Vista, is the first cruise ship to have an on-board brewery. Brewmaster Colin Presby sat down with USA Today to talk about what he’s serving.

The Phillips Brewery in British Columbia has responded to drones by recruiting bald eagles to drop-deliver beer. Budweiser executives must be asking themselves, “Why didn’t we think of this?”

Finally, chemists at the Complutense University of Madrid have created an app that can tell you when a beer has too much of a “stale” flavor. The disk and app look for furfunal, a polymer that imparts a cardboard taste to over-aged beer.

Today’s Debate Topic: Is Your Beer Overrated?

Deadspin’s Will Gordon, who writes about adult beverages, has decided to rattle a few cages with his list of 18 overrated beers. He cautions that “overrated” beers aren’t necessarily bad, but “they’re not as good as their ubiquity on reputable beer menus or their cult status will have you believe.”

After going after obvious targets like Blue Moon, Killian’s Red, and Corona, Gordon ventures into more dangerous territory. He calls Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale “generic strong ale overdosed with vanilla,” and complains that Magic Hat, the makers of #9, “seems to be more interested in marketing than brewing.” He pooh-poohs the idea of waiting in line to buy Heady Topper, which is “only marginally better than Dogfish Head 90 Minute,” and dismisses North Coast Old Rasputin as “not as transcendent as its reputation suggests.”

Gordon’s most intriguing comment is about your local brewery’s flagship ale. He says, “In most cases, the beer that put a brewery on the map way back when—even if way back when was two years ago—has since been surpassed in-house. They may need to keep the sales workhorse around to keep the ship afloat, but the brewers themselves know that they’ve gotten better at their craft since creating that first hit recipe.”

At last count, Gordon’s article has attracted nearly 1,000 comments.

The State of Beer in America

John Tierney of The Atlantic looked at America’s “Beer World”, and summed it up this way: “It’s a world in which up is down, little is big, and there’s no Blue Moon on the horizon.” He goes on to say, “It’s a world in which old standbys are faltering (case sales of Miller High Life were down almost 10 percent in 2013 from the prior year). Mexican labels are dominant (Corona, Modelo, and Dos Equis, account for three of the top four imported beers). And a craft-beer company founded only 20 years ago is coming on strong (”Bartender, pour me a Lagunitas”).”

Tierney makes an interesting point about craft beer’s still-small share of the market. For the most part, these brands haven’t found their way into convenience stores and gas stations, which account for a large fraction of the nation’s beer sales.

Imported From America

It’s raged on for decades: the debate over whether it matters where a beer is brewed. During the 1970s, Anheuser-Busch filed a complaint with the government, accusing Miller Brewing company of not disclosing that Lowenbrau was brewed in Texas. Years later, Boston Beer Company ran into a storm of criticism after it contract-brewed Samuel Adams.

The latest round in the debate nvolves several famous imports that are now brewed in the United States. Fosters,”Australian for beer,” is made in Texas; Red Stripe, “The Taste of Jamaica,” comes from La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Beck’s, whose label says “Bremen, Germany,” will soon be brewed in St. Louis. Why has production been moved to here? Several reasons: shipping costs are lower, brewers are less exposed to a falling dollar, and there’s excess brewing capacity in the States.

But not everyone is jumping on the made-in-America trend. Heineken is readying an ad campaign that stresses its Amsterdam origin, and the brewers of brands such as Corona and Modelo Especial believe that Hispanics prefer beer that is brewed in Mexico.

The Friday Mash (”No Problem” Edition)

On this day in 1962, Jamaica won its independence from England. Even though the island has fewer than three million people, it’s given us Bob Marley, jerk seasoning, Blue Mountain coffee, and of course, Red Stripe beer.

And now…The Mash!

Beer snobbery could save your life. Seriously. James Yaeger, an American geologist working in Afghanistan, foiled an attempt to assassinate him because he didn’t like Corona–which happened to be laced with battery acid.

Ninety bucks a bottle? That’s the asking price for a bottle of Foster’s Crown Ambassador Reserve. Even Queen Elizabeth II has a bottle in her cellar.

All you need is love beer. After putting considerable thought into the subject, John Fortunato of CraftBeer.com offers beer pairings for Beatles tunes.

A brewpub in Turkey? Pelle Stridh tells us about one of them, the Red Tower Brewery in the coastal town of Alanya.

Is “Nano” the future of beer? Angelo, writing at Brewpublic.com, looks into his crystal ball and sees tiny neighborhood brewpubs.

Did you know that the Alaska State Fair has an official beer? It’s Kassik’s Cream Ale, brewed on the Kenai Peninsula.

Finally, Ludwig insisted that we run this story. The best beer in Wales is poured at The Lion Inn, a 16th-cenury pub in Trellech.

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