The Friday Mash (Neptune Edition)

One hundred and seventy years ago today, astronomers Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, John Couch Adams and Johann Gottfried Galle collaborated on the discovery of Neptune. Now that Pluto has been demoted, Neptune is the most distant planet in our solar system.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Jacksonville, Florida, where an over-eager liquor control officer charged a 17-year-old girl with the crime of underage possession of alcohol. Her offense? Moving a cup of beer on a beer pong table at a Jaguars tailgate party.

Terrorist attacks in Europe have forced Oktoberfest organizers to beef up security this year, and many would-be attendees are avoiding the celebration out of fear of an attack in Munich.

Rutgers University ended its school-sponsored football tailgate parties after athletics director Pat Hobbs was seen chugging a beer onstage. Drinking on the job is a no-no at RU.

The new season of Shark Tank begins tonight. Leading off are the inventors of Fizzics, an in-home tap that re-creates the mouthfeel and aroma of freshly-poured draft beer.

Long Island’s Blue Point Brewery is serving up history in the form of Colonial Ale. It was made using a recipe written by George Washington in a military journal in 1757.

Are you seeing less pumpkin beer on the shelves this fall? It’s because breweries overproduced it last year and demand for the style fell off. Unseasonably warm weather also hurt sales.

Finally, scientists have figured out why the foam on top keeps your beer from sloshing. The answer is “capillary action”, the same phenomenon that enables paper towel to soak up spilled milk and plants to suck up water from their roots.

The Friday Mash (New Moon Edition)

On this day in 1655, scientist Christiaan Huygens discovered Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Huygens didn’t stop with astronomy, either. He also invented the pendulum clock, and published a pioneering work on games of chance.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Bavaria, where the Röhrl brewery has come under fire for allegedly placing pro-Nazi labels on one of its beers. The beer’s name in English is “Border Fence Half”, a reference to Europe’s refugee crisis.

Caught on video: A woman sitting behind the Chicago Bulls’ bench tried to find her seat. She took a tumble and hit the floor, but managed to save her beer.

The Scottish brewery BrewDog has released a beer called Clean Water Lager. All profits from that beer will go toward bring clean water to the 650 million people who currently have none.

Jay Brooks of the San Jose Mercury News has an update on Hawaii’s craft brewing industry. The Aloha State now has 15 breweries, with another eight expected to open their doors.

Indonesian entrepreneurs are capitalizing on a recent ban on convenience store beer sales by purchasing beer from distributors and delivering it to customers by motorcycle.

Global warming is affecting the brewing industry: last year’s drought took its toll on Northwest hops production. Drought also forces farmers to use groundwater, which affects the taste of beer.

Finally, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex, Samuel Adams has the highest “buzz score”. That’s not a measure of the beer’s potency; it’s the percentage of adults who’ve heard something about the brand

The Friday Mash (Vermont Edition)

On this day in 1791, Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th U.S. state. It is only one of three states that had previously been an independent republic; the others are California (very briefly, and unrecognized) and Texas (1836-45).

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where the Field Museum has teamed up with Off-Color Brewing to re-create a purple-corn beer brewed by Peruvian women a thousand years ago during the Wari Empire.

In Europe, drought conditions resulted in last year’s hop harvest being one of the worst in decades. The resulting scarcity drove up prices, which hit small breweries especially hard.

Franchised beer bars may be coming to your town. Growler USA has two locations in Oregon and North Carolina each with more than 80 taps, and plans to open ten more this year.

“Endless Slogans”, an ad for Toronto-brewed Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA, pokes fun at beer ads by mocking every ad cliche from sexual innuendos to bad puns.

A German environmental group has alleged that the country’s most popular beers violate the Reinheitsgebot because they contain trace amounts of glyphosate, an ingredient used in herbicides.

Celeste Beatty is one of the few African-American women to own a brewery. Her Harlem Brewing Company’s beers will soon go on sale at 39 Wal-Mart stores in New York State.

Finally, Anheuser-Busch InBev finds itself in “investor purgatory” after reporting disappointing earnings last week. A-B InBev’s sales are–pardon the pun–flat, and currency volatility has upped the cost of sales.

The Friday Mash (Great Gatsby Edition)

Ninety years ago today, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby, was first published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The novel about the young and mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby, painted a picture of America’s “Jazz Age,” a phrase that Fitzgerald also made popular.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Minneapolis, where Finnegans beer is celebrating 15 years of feeding the hungry. Profits from the sale of Finnegans—half a million dollars since 2000—have been used to buy fresh produce for those in need.

Four of the world’s biggest breweries announced they will disclose calorie counts of the beers they sell in Europe. Americans might soon see calories and other nutritional data on the beer they buy.

Baseball season began this week, and the New York Times’s Eric Asimov and friends marked the occasion by choosing their top ten American lagers from a field of 20.

Friday happy hour will be part of Anheuser-Busch’s interviewing process for its new marketing office in Manhattan. It’s part of an effort to find out how well candidates handle social situations.

Maine governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would require a pint of beer to contain 16 ounces. The governor says Maine’s deceptive-practices laws already protect customers from short pints.

Mark Hunter, the new CEO of MolsonCoors, told Wall Street analysts that his company will focus more on craft beer, and that it has a desire to acquire craft breweries.

Finally, Kit Lab hopes to provide homebrewers what Hello Fresh provides home cooks: exact portions of ingredients. The recipes for each kit are supplied by homebrewers, who’ll get a cut of the profits.

Dead Guy Ale?

When was the first batch of beer fermented in Europe? No later than around 4400 B.C., according to researchers at the University of Barcelona. Fourteen years ago, at a cave southwest of Barcelona, the researchers discovered four human skeletons, along with part of a cup in which evidence of oxalate and and barleycorn was found. One skeleton, of a middle-aged male, was accompanied by various burial goods, including a two-handled drinking vessel. It’s believed that beer might have been part of the death ritual.

The Friday Mash (”What’s Up, Doc?” Edition)

On this day in 1940, The Wild Hare, a Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies production, was released. The eight-minute cartoon, which was nominated for an Academy Award, depicted Elmer Fudd pursuing the much smarter Bugs Bunny.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in London, Ontario, whose minor-league baseball team, the Rippers, folded after being refused permission to sell beer. Ironically, the Rippers played their home games at Labatt Park.

While much of America is suffering from drought, torrential rains in northern Europe have slowed the maturation of grain crops. The forecast is for higher grain prices and, ultimately, more expensive beer.

The iconic “R” sign, placed atop Rainier Brewing’s Seattle brewery in 1953, will be re-lit at the Museum of History and Industry. The brand’s owners are also bringing back the Grazing Rainiers, those mythical beer bottles with legs.

Jim Galligan, drinks correspondent for MSNBC.com, offers five reasons why you should brew your own beer.

The brewery staff at Budweiser has been experimenting with small-batch beers. Once they dedide on which three of the original 12 beers are the best, they’ll package them in special six-packs to be sold at retail this fall.

The Travel Channel serves up its list of top seven beer destinations. Instead of the usual suspects, their picks are up-and-coming places you might not have thought about.

Finally, the Bad Training Regimen Award goes to Tyler Bray, a quarterback at the University of Tennessee. Bray decided to limber up his throwing arm by lobbing beer bottles at parked cars.

The Friday Mash (Autumnal Equinox Edition)

Just after 5:00 this morning, Eastern time, the autumnal equinox took place; and you probably missed it. Ludwig is willing to forgive you for being such a sleepyhead, but on one condition: that you have a seasonal beer this evening. Being German American, he recommends an Oktoberfest.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Melanie Gravdal gave her townhouse extra curb appeal by offering $1,000 in beer at the bar across the street to the person who buys it.

In the Pittsburgh area, two breweries are trying to revive Fort Pitt Beer. Problem is, there’s only one trademark and both breweries claim it.

Did you miss Zwanze Day? If so, add it to your 2012 calendar. That’s the day a special lambic from Cantillon gets released at 21 sites world-wide, ten of them in the U.S.

Some experts think declining beer consumption is aggravating Europe’s economic woes. When people drink less, bars and restaurants let workers go.

Goodbye to all that. Britain’s Good Food Guide has banned the word “gastropub”, which it finds unpalatable in these tough economic times.

In Seattle, the Redhook Ale Brewery celebrated its 30th birthday in style with an 80s concert starring Tom-Tom Club, The Psychedelic Furs, and Devo.

Finally, “Joe Sixpack,” who calls Philadelphia America’s best beer-drinking city, also thinks his hometown’s bratwurst can’t be beat. Especially, Ludwig adds, during football season.

Beer…By the Numbers

Annual beer sales in the European Union: over €110 billion ($155 billion).
Percent of European-brewed beer that is exported: 17.
Average price of a case of beer at a supermarket $20.34.
Annual sales of private label beer at supermarkets: $23.6 million.
These beers’ share of the beer market: .086 percent.
Cost of a beer at a West Virginia football game this fall: $6.
Division I schools, besides West Virginia, that sell beer in the stands: 19.
Germany’s per capita beer consumption last year: 102 liters per year.
Its annual per capita beer consumption 20 years ago: 141 liters.
Coors Light’s sales growth from 2009 to 2010: plus 1.1 percent.
Budweiser sales growth over the same period: minus 7.3 percent.
Projected size of this year’s Canadian barley crop: 7.7 million tons.
Average crop over the past five years: 9 million tons.
Unofficial maximum ABV for “session beer” in Britain: 4% (ABV).
Unofficial maximum in the U.S.: 4.5% or 5%, depending on who you ask.

The Friday Mash (Princeton Tiger Edition)

On this day in 1746, the College of New Jersey, later renamed Princeton University, received its charter. The school has a long list of famous alumni, including Presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson. Princeton has also made sports history. In 1869, the Tigers faced Rutgers in the first-ever intercollegiate football game. Tailgating followed in short order.

And now…the Mash!

The worst industrial accident in the history of British brewing happened in 1814. Martyn Cornell, “The Zythophile,” explains how it happened.

European brewers are facing a tough environment. Not only is the population aging, but there’s talk of higher taxes and new restrictions on marketing.

At this year’s Baltimore Beer Week, Duff Goldman, the Ace of Cakes tapped the first firkin. It was Loose Cannon Hop-3 IPA.

According to Joe Sixpack, “pre-Prohibition beer” is overrated: it’s no better, and no more “authentic,” than what is available today.

The Metro Times’s Michael Jackman and his friends went on an all-day craft beer crawl in metro Detroit, and Jackman remained sober enough to write an account of it.

Finally, an item from the Life Imitates Art Department. Kimmo Wilska, a Finnish news anchor, was fired after drinking beer on the air. Wilska’s been compared to the fictional Ron Burgundy.

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