The Friday Mash (Carnegie Hall Edition)

On this day in 1891, Music Hall in New York City—later known as Carnegie Hall—staged its grand opening and first public performance. The guest conductor that day was none other than Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

And now (cue up the music)…The Mash!

We begin in Bozeman, Montana, where Amy Henkle’s Happy Dog Beer Company is brewing “beers” for dogs. They don’t contain alcohol or hops; instead they’re a supplement to be poured on top of regular dog food.

Thirty-five years ago, Knoxville hosted a World’s Fair. Several city residents have teamed up to brew a beer celebrating the fair. It will be available through October, when the fair closed.

Sacramento Bee correspondent Blair Anthony Robertson wonders why new breweries price their beer at world-class levels. High prices result in disappointed customers and ruins the brewery’s goodwill.

If you hold bottled beer by its base, you’re holding it wrong. You should hold it by the neck to prevent the beer from getting warm—just as you should hold a wine glass by the stem.

When a Finnish brewery released a 100-pack of its beer, rival brewery Nokian Panimo one-upped it with a 1,000-pack of Kaiseri beer. To buy one, you need 2,160 euros ($2,350)—and a truck.

Researchers in the UK have found that beer is a more effective pain reliever than generic Tylenol. Having three or four beers—resulting in a BAC of .08—reduces pain by up to 25 percent.

Finally, today is Cinco de Mayo. The Chicago Tribune’s Josh Noel prepared for it by drinking Mexican beers in an effort to find out why they’ve become so popular. The answer is a “complex mix of demographics, marketing, history and nostalgia”.

The Friday Mash (World Elephant Day Edition)

Today is the sixth annual World Elephant Day, an observance created by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark. Its purpose is to increase awareness of these animals’ urgent plight.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Beaver, Pennsylvania, where local officials want to stop a restaurant from selling beer-infused waffles. The restaurant has a license to sell beer, but some believe the waffles abuse the privilege.

Oh no! A shortage of pumpkin puree might endanger this year’s pumpkin beer releases. The culprits are unprecedented demand and drought conditions in pumpkin-growing regions.

Vice.com’s Ilkka Siren, who grew up in Finland, went home to get better acquainted with sahti, a temperamental—and much-misunterstood style—that Finns have homebrewed for centuries.

History buffs in Golden, Colorado, want to convert the Astor House hotel into a beer museum with brewing classes, tastings, food and beer pairings, and a look at Colorado brewing history.

Defying the Standells’ song “Dirty Water”, six Massachusetts and brewing beer from the banks of the River Charles. The water is treated, of course.

Craft beer is getting more expensive, for a variety of reasons: costlier raw materials, such as hops and water; higher wages; and bigger utility bills.

Finally, Alabama’s craft brewers are crying foul over a proposed regulation that would require brewers to collect the name, address, age, and phone number from anyone who buys carry-out beer. The rule is aimed at enforcing the state’s limit on purchases.

Beer Without Hops? Yes, It Exists.

Today’s beer drinkers take for granted that the ingredients in their pint will include hops. The rise of India pale ale, craft beer’s signature style, has moved hops even more into the spotlight. Breweries are making their beer with new varieties of hops, and some breweries have become known for their IBU-heavy products.

However, some brewers are bring back beer styles that aren’t brewed with hops. Centuries ago, hops simply weren’t available in some parts of the world; the climate wasn’t suitable to growing them, and the cost of importing them was prohibitive. James Sheehan, a homebrewer from England, introduces us to three varieties of unhopped beer.

The Vikings brewed spruce beer, which was found to ward off scurvy on long voyages, and the British Navy prescribed it as well to its seamen. Spruce beers were also brewed in America because hops were scarce. Benjamin Franklin, for one, brewed his own version, which was entirely molasses-based.

For millennia, Northern Europeans have brewed gruit beers, which used a variety of herbs along with honey and fruit. The ancient Scots are known for brewing their beer with heather, which imparts a flavor more like hops than spruce.

Perhaps the oddest unhopped beer of all is sahti, a style that originated in Finland so long ago that metal vessels hadn’t yet been introduced to the brewing process. The ancient Finns heated large rocks in a fire, then threw the blazing rocks into a barrel of mash water. The resulting beer had a roasted taste from caramelized malt, along with a gin-like taste from juniper leaves.

What Does 170-Year-Old Beer Taste Like?

Five years ago, divers off the coast of Finland found beer and Champagne preserved underwater inside a 170-year-old shipwreck. Being naturally curious, scientists wanted to know what the beer tasted like. When they sampled the beer, they found it foul-smelling and sour—so sour they couldn’t tell how it was originally meant to taste.

So the scientists subjected the beer to chemical analysis using the latest technology. The machinery cut through their the beers’ awful taste and revealed their molecular structure.

A56 and C49 turned out to clearly be different beers. C49 was much hoppier and thus more bitter. An analysis of yeast-derived flavor compounds—basically the stuff that gives beers its fruity and floral notes—also revealed rose and sweet apples flavors that were high in A56. C49 had a higher concentration of flavor compounds for green tea.

Some flavor differences may be because of how beer was brewed differently in the 19th century. For example, A56 contained much more of a compound called furfural, which is possibly the result of mash being heated over an open fire. Both beers, even when they were fresh, were also more sour than your average modern brew. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that brewers learned how to keep acid-producing bacteria out of beer. Until that breakthrough, pretty much all beer, including A56 and C49, was sour beer.

It’s only a matter of time—far less than another 170 years—before some brewery tries to reverse-engineer these beers and put them on the market.

The Friday Mash (Lion in Winter Edition)

On this day in 1152, King Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of medieval Europe’s most powerful women. Their turbulent marriage was the subject of James Goldman’s play The Lion in Winter, which was made into a film starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn in 1968.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Finland, where scientists are trying to re-create a beer brewed in the 1840s. Bacteria from the golden-colored beer were found in a ship that went to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

New Zealander Katrina Hayman won’t apologize for drinking beer backstage at a Bride of the Year competition. She says the controversy never would have happened had she sipped wine instead.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a group of homebrewers in the area have formed The High Five Co-op Brewery. Now comes the hard part: navigating the legal and administrative hurdles.

Author Rob Kasper takes us back half a century and explains how brought major league baseball to Baltimore. The Lone Ranger’s silver bullet plays a role in this fascinating story.

In 1963, brewer Alfred Heineken and architect John Habraken designed a house made of Heineken bottles. They used “World of Beer” bottles, which lent themselves to construction.

On his Pencil and Spoon blog, Matt Dredge wonders whether it is possible to pair hoppy beers and hot and spicy foods.

Finally, Burnside Brewing Company apologized for giving the name “Kali-ma” to an ale flavored with Indian spices and hot peppers. Kali, a four-armed goddess, is revered by Hindus.

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