The Friday Mash (James Dean Edition)

Sixty-one years ago today, James Dean was killed in a traffic crash in California. He was 24 years old. Dean became the first actor to earn posthumous Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, for playing Cal Trask in East of Eden and Jett Rink in Giant.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Denver, where Brent Doeden aka “Captain Earthman” suffers from inoperable brain cancer. Doeden, who’s been vending beer at Colorado Rockies baseball games since the franchise’s inception, is a cult figure at Coors Field.

Wil Fulton of Thrillist.com makes the case for why flip cup is a better drinking game than beer pong. One advantage: it’s easier to cheat, which—like in Monopoly—is an integral part of the game.

The Michelada is one of Mexico’s popular new drinks. It consists of beer, lime juice, spices, sauces, and other ingredients in a salt-lined glass. It has some similarity to a margarita.

To combat “flagship fatigue”, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will release three new ales next year: Sidecar Orange Pale Ale, Tropical Torpedo, and Golden IPA.

Los Angeles has light rail transportation, and you can spend a day pub-crawling along the Red Line, which runs from Union Station to North Hollywood.

Candidates aren’t the only ones running negative ads this fall. Miller Lite responded to a Bud Light spot with this slogan: “Bud Light says raise one to right now so why not raise the right one?”

Finally, ultra-runner Karl Meltzer set a new record for running the length of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail: 44.9 days, 22 hours 38 minutes. His routine on the AT included ending the day with a couple of brews. Meltzer celebrated the end of his trek with a pepperoni pizza and—you guessed it—a beer.

Why Some Breweries Avoid Distributors

For a start-up brewery, Denver is a challenging market. The area is not only awash in breweries, but demand has driven up the price of cans. This has caused some small breweries to adopt a different business model: bypass packaging altogether, and sell fresh beer only to the immediate neighborhood. Breweries that adopt this model avoid the expense of buying a canning or bottling line, hiring sales personnel, and hiring a distributor. And they have the option to package if market conditions change.

Breweries that sell directly to customers enjoy a greater return on investment. They have more freedom to experiment with beer styles, and brewery owners contend that their product is fresher than the packaged variety. Many have won a devoted following in their neighborhoods. Small breweries have even created their own beer festival, called Festivaus. It attracts more than 60 Denver breweries, and a crowd of over 2,000 attendees.

In two decades, Denver’s craft brewing industry has come full circle. In 1994, when Great Divide Brewing Company opened, it faced stiff competition from four nearby brewpubs; and, at the time, a brewery that opened a taproom was expected to operate it as a restaurant. Instead, Great Divide packaged its beer and didn’t open a taproom for 13 years.

Best Cities for Beer Drinkers

What is America’s best beer city? SmartAsset.com compiled a list based on five criteria: total number of microbreweries and brewpubs; number of micros and brewpubs per capita; the breweries’ average Yelp score; number of bars per capita; and the average price of a pint of draft beer.

The number-one city—Portland—is somewhat surprising because it’s the one in Maine. What tipped the scales in favor of the “other Portland” was its brewery density: one for every 3,882 residents. Rounding out the top ten: Asheville; Portland, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Denver; Seattle; Wilmington, North Carolina; Missoula, Montana; Pittsburgh; and Cincinnati.

Blair Schiff of KUSA-TV in Denver suggested the the most beer-friendly cities have gloomy weather. However, that doesn’t explain why the Mile High City ranks fifth despite having 300 sunny days per year.

America’s Top Beer Cities

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.

GABF Myths: Debunked

The Great American Beer Festival opens tomorrow, and the folks at Paste magazine have addressed the top ten myths about the event. For those who’ve been to GABF, some of the myths are obvious: volunteers don’t know about the beer they’re pouring; Saturday night’s session is a drunken frat party; and if you don’t have a ticket, there’s nothing for a beer drinker to do in Denver.

Paste also tries to set the record straight about gold medals: “A gold medal means that a particular entry perfectly meets the standard for that style–period. In the 2013 competition, Anheuser-Busch InBev won a gold medal in the American-Style Lager or Light Lager category for Budweiser Select, a technically well-done brew, but not exactly something a craft-beer aficionado would seek out.”

But one myth is true: the Silent Disco is hilarious to watch.

The Friday Mash (Emoticon Edition)

On this day in 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons, :-) and :-( , on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System. So now you know who to blame.

And now….The (emoticon-free) Mash!

We begin in Israel, where Itsik Levy named his brewery “Isis” after an Egyptian goddess. Now that the Islamic State is using that name, Levy said—tongue in cheek—that he’s considering “a massive lawsuit” against it.

D’oh! Australian regulators ordered Woolworth’s to stop selling Duff beer because the brand’s association with The Simpsons made it too appealing to would-be underage drinkers.

Scientists say that the fastest way to chill beer is to pour plenty of salt into a bucket of water, then add ice, and then drop in the beer. It’ll be cold in 20 minutes or less.

For Ohio to get Stone Brewing Company’s second brewery, lawmakers will have to raise the ABV cap. Some of Stone’s ales exceed the current 12-percent cap and thus can’t be brewed in Ohio.

Britain’s Prince Harry celebrated his 30th birthday by downing a beer at the Invictus Games. He has good reason to celebrate: now that he’s 30, he inherits $17.4 million from his mother, the late Princess Diana.

The Beer Geeks are returning to this year’s Great American Beer Festival. They’re a corps of 3,000 volunteers who are trained by the Brewers Association to tell festival-goers more about the beers they’re sampling.

Finally, Beverage Grades, a Denver company that analyzes the content of beer and wine, offers a “Copy Cat” app which tells where you can find beer with similar tastes to those you like.

The Friday Mash (Oxford Edition)

Today is the 800th anniversary of the granting of a royal charter to the University of Oxford. Alumni include 26 British Prime Ministers, including current PM David Cameron; many foreign heads of state, including President Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar; and 27 Nobel laureates.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kalamazoo where, for $19, you can take part in a craft beer walking tour. Participants will meet brewery staff; learn about the city’s brewing history; and, of course, sample some beer.

Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors will post their beers’ ingredients online. This comes after a blogger called “the Food Babe” claimed that some beers contained high-fructose corn syrup and other additives.

Brian Dunn, the founder of Great Divide Brewing Company, sat down with Eater magazine and talked about his 20 years in Denver, what urban brewing is like, and the whereabouts of the Yeti.

Move over, bacon beer. The latest food-in-your-beer trend is peanut butter and jelly. Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery offers a PB&J beer called “No Crusts.”

Purists think beer has no place in a yogic lifestyle, but yoga classes are popping up in breweries. Post-practice beer makes made yoga more social, and persuades men to take it up.

When you travel abroad, what do you get when you ask for “one beer, please”? Not only will the brand and style depend on the country you’re in, but so will the size of your serving.

Finally, any in the beer community maintain that brewing is an art form. Don Tse, writing in All About Beer magazine, agrees. His article explores the close relationship between fine beer and fine art.

The Friday Mash (SNL Edition)

Thirty-eight years ago today, Saturday Night Live debuted. The host was George Carlin, and the guests included Andy Kaufman, Janis Ian, and Billy Preston. The show has aired more than 700 episodes, and many of its alumni have gained fame in film, in television, and as writers.

And now…the Mash!

We begin in Hudson, Wisconsin, which has become a popular beer-run destination for Twin Cities residents. The attraction? Beers that aren’t distributed in Minnesota.

Entrepreneurs have raised $100,000 on Kickstarter to manufacture beer-brewing robots. The Brewbot, controlled from an iPhone and compatible with a kegerator, will cost around $3,200.

All aboard! The Sacramento River Train, which runs between West Sacramento and Woodland, California, offers three-hour-long beer tours with beer from local breweries.

A bill in the Michigan legislature would require bars that advertise “pints” to serve 16 ounces of beer. Some bar owners fear that they’ll have to buy new glassware to comply with the law.

In Portland, Oregon, 12 bottles of “Dave” sold for $2,000 each at the Hair of the Dog Brewery. These rare bottle, which date back to 1999, are the world’s most expensive and, according to brewer Alan Sprints, have aged well.

Michal Bodzianowski, a sixth-grader from Colorado, will be the first person to experiment with brewing in space. His class has designed a beer-in-microgravity experiment for the International Space Station.

Finally, if you’re in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, look for The Beerliner. The 1974 refurbished bus, equipped with beer taps and a commercial kitchen, belongs to the North by Northwest brewpub in Austin, Texas.

The Friday Mash (Belgian Edition)

On this day in 1830, the Kingdom of Belgium declared its independence from The Netherlands. Since then, Belgium has acquired quite a reputation for its beer.

And now…the Mash!

We begin in Florida, where the Jacksonville Jaguars offered free beer to fans who bought tickets to their game against the Colts. The Jags lost, and the free beer didn’t help attendance.

Raise the price of beer and people drink less of it, right? Not at Oktoberfest, where per capita consumption went up even though the price of beer rose much faster than the rate of inflation.

According to Zoosk.com, people who drink microbrews are more likely to have one-night stands. They’re also more likely to prefer outdoor adventures on a first date.

Beer and books? Yes, please. Atomic Books and Red Emma’s, two independent bookstores in Baltimore, plan to serve beer along with their hardcovers, paperbacks, and comic books.

The Esquire Network’s lineup of shows includes Brew Dogs, which stars James Watt and Martin Dickie of Scotland’s BrewDog brewery. Their first episode was filmed in San Diego.

Fast Company magazine has prepared an infographic contrasting the effects of beer and coffee on the human brain. Did you know that beer (in moderation) makes you more creative?

Finally, if you’re going to the Great American Beer Festival, take note: the Ritz-Carlton in Denver is offering 75-minute “ex-beer-iences”, either a massage or a pedicure with Great Divide beer.

The Friday Mash (”States You Never Heard Of” Edition)

On this day in 1784, delegates from eight counties in what was then western North Carolina voted to secede from the state and form the independent Republic of Franklin. The tiny republic, which was denied statehood by Congress, lasted only four years.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in St. Martin, Austria, where the Hofstetten brewery has resurrected a beer brewed in the town’s castle in 1720. The beer contains emmer as well as barley and wheat.

Big brewers are having second thoughts about Russia, whose beer market has gone flat thanks to high taxes, a ban on late-night and kiosk sales, and other restrictions.

If you couldn’t get a ticket to this year’s Great American Beer Festival–it sold out in just 20 minutes–the Denver Post has a calendar of other beer events in town around festival time.

Here’s a way to get your brand noticed. A brewery in Dayton, Ohio, calls itself the Toxic Brewing Company, and its logo is a skull and crossbones. Local bars are clamoring for the brew.

Good news for athletes: when electrolytes are added, beer can hydrate you faster. The bad news: the hydration comes at the expense of alcohol content.

The “beer wars” are on again. Anheuser-Busch has filed a complaint with the Council of Better Business Bureaus over Coors’s claim that it has “the world’s most refreshing can.”

Finally, TheBleacherReport.com reviews new products that allow football fans to sneak alcohol into the stadium. They include iPhone look-alikes, booze-filled “binoculars,” and fake beer bellies.

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