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, 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, 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.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Pubs’ share of Ireland’s beer consumption: 67 percent.
  • Ireland’s annual beer consumption: 4.02 million barrels.
  • Beer’s share of Ireland’s alcohol consumption: 47 percent (wine is second, with 27 percent).
  • Economic impact of the Great American Beer Festival on Denver’s economy: $7 million.
  • GABF revenue from ticket sales: $2 million.
  • Alcoholic content of Armageddon, the world’s strongest beer: 65 percent.
  • Price of a single bottle of Armageddon: $52.
  • Price of a single bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias: $190.
  • Beer tax increase proposed by the French government: 160 percent.
  • Expected increase in the price of a beer after the tax hike: 20 percent.
  • Imports’ share of France’s beer market: 30 percent.
  • Calories in a pint of British session ale: 170.
  • Calories in a pint of orange juice: 256.
  • Homebrew shops in existence in the U.S. in 1929, when Prohibition was in force: 25,000.
  • Estimated U.S. homebrew production in 1929: 22.6 million barrels.
  • The Friday Mash (Teddy Ballgame Edition)

    On this day in 1960, Hall of Famer Ted Williams hit a home run in his final at-bat at Fenway Park. His performance was chronicled in John Updike’s essay, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”, one of the best-ever pieces of American sportswriting.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Ted Williams’s hometown of San Diego, where the first Craft Beer Debate recently took place. At issue: whether the city should build a publicly-financed stadium.

    As Maine goes, so goes the nation? The state’s beer production has jumped by 50 percent since 2009. By the way, Maine’s largest brewery is Allagash Brewing Company.

    Our Drink Locally award goes to beer blogger Pierre Lachine, who has pledged to drink only Ontario beer for the next year.

    An e-petition calling for a review of Britain’s beer tax has gotten more than 100,000 signatures, enough to trigger a possible House of Commons debate on how the tax is calculated.

    Denver mayor Michael Hancock got a crash course in brewing at the Denver Beer Company. The beer he helped make, a pumpkin ale, will debut at next month’s Denver Beer Fest.

    The topic for The Session #68 has been announced: it’s Novelty Beers. Tiffany, who blogs at 99 Pours, will host the discussion; and, as always, you’re welcome to join.

    Finally, Ken and Steph Newbury of St. Peters, Missouri, turned their wedding reception into a beer festival. They stocked the bar with many of Ken’s favorite micros, many of which were brewed in-state.

    Best Bars for Canned Craft Beer

    According to, more than 600 craft beers from over 200 breweries are sold in cans, and there is a growing number of bars that specialize in these beers. Their staff has chosen 15 “cantastic” establishments, including a bar attached to the Oskar Blues Brewery, which was one of the first to can its beer.

    CraftCans’ choices also include the Full Circle Bar in Brooklyn, New York, which features several Skee-Ball alleys; a bar inside the Whole Foods Market in Chandler, Arizona; and the Star Bar, which is within walking distance of Denver’s Coors Field.

    The Secret of Denver’s Success

    Why has Denver become a beer Mecca? A New York Times story about Denver’s microbreweries (there are 18 in the city, with another 15 in the planning stages) identified several factors, including a storied brewing culture (Colorado’s governor once owned a brewpub), a youthful population, and strong “buy local” sentiment.

    One of the biggest reasons for craft brewing’s success in Colorado is the state’s legal environment. Breweries can, and enthusiastically do, self-distribute; and a law banning supermarkets from selling beer stronger than 3.2 percent has helped independent liquor stores, many of which stock a wide variety of local micro products. As one brewery owner put it, “Any way we can think of to sell beer, we’re allowed to do that in Colorado.”

    The Friday Mash (Dr. Seuss Edition)

    On this day in 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born. His imagination gave us characters like the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. To honor the good doctor, Ludwig suggests a dinner of green eggs and ham. With a glass of ale, of course.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Denver, where J. Wilson, the Iowa man who lived on a diet of doppelbock last year during Lent, was named Beerdrinker of the Year at Wynkoop Brewing Company.

    It’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for The Session. Matt Robinson, who blogs at Hoosier Beer Geek, hosts the discussion titled What Makes Local Beer Better?. Feel free to join in.

    Job fair alert: New Zealand’s Boundary Road Brewery is looking for 500 “beer intellectuals” to evaluate its new IPA. Applicants must be at least 18 and and demonstrate “a sound knowledge of beer.”

    Not only have traditional ales made a comeback, but traditional pub games like darts, skittles, and dominoes are returning to British pubs.

    This was bound to happen: a reality show featuring a brewers’ competition. “The Next Great American Brewer” is produced by Main Gate Visuals, which also worked on the “Top Chef” and “Project Runway” series.

    Calling Sam Calagione. Construction workers in Ecuador discovered a tomb, dating to pre-Inca days, which contained a previously unknown species of yeast used to brew chicha.

    Finally, in Germany, a waiter identified only as “Martin D.” spilled five glasses of beer on the back on Chancellor Angela Merkel. Fortunately, Merkel was a good sport about it.

    Denver’s Beer Culture

    The Denver-New England NFL playoff game is about to kick off. Regardless of whether the Broncos win or lose, their city is home to an amazing beer culture, which is introduced by this video from Visit Denver:

    John Hickenlooper: The Accidental Brewer

    It’s impossible to separate beer and politics. But if you’re John Hickenlooper, you can make them complement one another. A feature story in the Grand Junction Sentinel explains how a pink slip turned out to be a ticket to craft-brewing fame which, in turn, might land him in the governor’s mansion in a few months.

    In 1986, Hickenlooper was working a geologist on Colorado’s West Slope. However, collapsing energy prices led his employer, Buckhorn Petroleum, to lay off 150 employees.

    Out of a job, Hickenlooper turned to plan B: making beer in Denver. Even there, craft brewing was a small-time undertaking at the time. City zoning laws confined breweries to the Lower Downtown area. At least rent was cheap.

    Hickenlooper’s timing was perfect. A few years after he started brewing, Major League Baseball came to Denver, and his brewpub was right down the street from the ballpark. Soon Wynkoop Brewing Company became one of the nation’s largest brewpubs.

    Starting a brewery entails plenty of interaction with government officials, which gave Hickenlooper another idea: why not run for office? After all, he could bring a business owner’s perspective to public service. He was elected mayor of Denver, and is now the Democratic candidate for governor.

    Time out for trivia: According to Hickenlooper, even though craft breweries provide only about five percent of the nation’s beer, they account for over 50 percent of all the brewery jobs.

    Sunday “See the USA” Travel Supplement

    See the USA. Even if you don’t drive a Chevrolet.

    Let’s begin in Cincinnati, where you can toast the Reds, drink to forget the Bengals, or both. And if the weather is nice, you can do so in one of the city’s beer gardens.

    The New York Times uncovered this gem: Brew York, New York, which keeps New Yorkers abreast of beer happenings in the city’s 8,000 or so licensed establishments.

    If your travel plans include Colorado, think about buying a copy of The Beer Drinker’s Guide To Colorado by Mike Laur. Breweries are springing up so fast in the state (there are now well over a hundred) that Laur just released the fourth edition of his book.

    Speaking of Colorado, if you’re going to the Great American Beer Festival, P.J. Hoberman of The Hop Press profiles 15 establishments within a three-mile radius of the festival venue.

    Finally, is I-84 in Oregon the ultimate Ale Trail? Jeff Alworth of counted seven breweries on the route (plus two more across the Columbia River in Washington State) in towns whose combined population is well under 100,000.

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