Fort Collins

The Friday Mash (Tool Time Edition)

On this day in 1960, Dr. Jane Goodall saw chimpanzees creating tools in a national park in Tanzania. It was the first time anyone had seen animals do that, and it exploded the long-standing belief that humans were the only species capable of tool-making.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Norcia, Italy, where last week’s earthquake destroyed the historic Basilica of St. Benedict. Sixteen years ago, American monks acquired the basilica and set up a brewing operation to raise funds for its restoration.

Last year’s freakishly warm winter grabbed the attention of hops farmers in Washington State’s Yakima Valley. Fearing that global warming will bring on more such winters, they’re looking for ways to use less water growing the hops and less energy drying them.

An Israeli start-up called Glassify is selling beer glasses with an embedded microchip in the base. The chip can link to a smartphone app and send demographic information back to breweries, while offering consumers product promotions in return.

Texas authorities are looking for Achilles Salazar, a forklift operator who stole 719 twelve-packs of Dos Equis beer—$90,000 worth—from the distributor he worked for. A law-enforcement officer described the size of the heist as “most unusual”.

In Colorado, a driverless truck delivered a load of beer from Budweiser’s Fort Collins brewery to Colorado Springs. The truck was operated by Otto, a company owned by the ride-sharing company Uber.

Long Root Ale is the first beer to use kernza, the trade name for a type of wheat that originated in Asia. Because kernza is a perennial, it’s easier on the environment because farmers don’t have to plow up their land and re-plant the crop every year.

Finally, ten years after the Big Buck Brewery in Auburn Hills, Michigan, closed its doors, a local beer distributor bought the 50-foot-tall bottle that stood outside the establishment. It will be be transported to the distributor’s headquarters and repainted as a Bud Light bottle.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Average price of a 1/3-liter draft beer in Lausanne, Switzerland: $17.60 (highest in the world).
  • Average price of a 1/3-liter draft beer in New York City: $9.22.
  • Average price of a 1/3-liter draft beer in Bratislava, Slovakia: $2.80.
  • Average cost of a pint of beer in 2016: $3.99.
  • Average cost (adjusted for inflation) of a pint of beer in 1952: $5.93.
  • Craft beer’s sales growth in the first half of 2016: 6 percent.
  • Imported beer’s sales growth in the first half of 2016: 6.7 percent.
  • Grams of carbohydrates in a bottle of Michelob Ultra: 2.6.
  • Grams of carbohydrates in a bottle of Bud Light: 6.6.
  • Pounds of spent grain produced by New Belgium Brewing at its Fort Collins, Colorado, brewery: 73 million.
  • Spent grain’s share of brewery by-products: 85 percent.
  • Style categories in this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition: 96.
  • Estimated number of beers expected to be entered in this year’s GABF competition: 7,000.
  • Beers to be poured at this weekend’s Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival: 1,107.
  • Breweries that will pour at the MBG Summer Beer Festival: 125.
  • Spain’s Hidden Beer History

    Jonathan Carlyon, a professor at Colorado State University, had a friend from Spain who was spending a year in Fort Collins. At first the friend drank only wine, but Carlyon introduced him to the local craft beer. That experience, along with CSU’s creation of a fermentation studies program, led the professor to study the beer of ancient Spain.

    The beer, called Caelia, was brewed extensively in Iberia from around 3,000 B.C. until the Romans conquered the peninsula and made wine the beverage of choice. It was a lightly-carbonated drink, made by women using a fermentation process similar to that of bread-making. Carylon describes the beverage as “like a beer juice, compared to the beer made today”.

    Carylon found literary references to beer in everything from the Bible to accounts of the Roman Empire’s difficulty conquering an ancient Spanish city of Numancia. Before every battle against the Romans, the Numancians drank Caelia, contributing to the Romans’ view of them as ferocious fighters. (Tired of the heavy casualties they were taking, the Romans laid siege to Numancia and starved its inhabitants.)

    Thanks to the Romans, Spain is considered a “wine country.” However, craft beer has won a following there. As for Carylon, he’s working with the CSU fermentation program to re-create Caelia in Fort Collins.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Beers entered in this year’s National Homebrewers Competition: 8,172.
  • Increase over last year: 45 percent.
  • Craft breweries in Texas: 98.
  • Their production (including Spoetzl Brewing Company) in 2013: 833,191 barrels.
  • Increase over the year before: 17.3 percent.
  • Full Sail Brewing Company (Hood River, Oregon) production in 2013: 115,000 barrels.
  • States where Full Sail products are distributed: 31.
  • Alcoholic content of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA: 18 percent ABV.
  • Average retail price of a bottle of 120 Minute IPA: $8.
  • Strains stored in Britain’s National Collection of Yeast Cultures: more than 4,000.
  • Brewing yeast strains at the National Collection: 800.
  • Breweries represented at the first Colorado Brewers’ Festival in Fort Collins in 1990: 11.
  • Breweries represented at this year’s festival: more than 50.
  • Percent of underage drinkers who admit to binge-drinking: 44.
  • Percent of underage drinkers who binge-drink Bud Light: 13.5.
  • The Friday Mash (Smokey the Bear Edition)

    On this day in 1944, Smokey the Bear made his debut. He has appeared on radio programs, in comic strips, and in cartoons. The federal government, which owns the rights to Smokey, has collected millions in royalties and used them to educate people about forest fire prevention.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, where booze is a no-no and the young and fashionable are gravitating to alcohol-free beer.

    If you missed the Beer Bloggers Conference, New Orleans writer Nora McGunnigle has a full report. She was impressed by the welcome given by local brewers Sam Adams and Harpoon.

    The Princeton Review has released its list of top party schools, and the University of Iowa is ranked first, followed by UC Santa Barbara, Illinois, West Virginia, and Syracuse.

    The summer has been cold and wet in much of the country, but weather doesn’t fully explain light beer’s drop in popularity. A growing number of drinkers are getting tired of its taste.

    Fort Collins, Colorado’s “other” major craft brewery is the Odell Brewing Company. Although it’s the nation’s 33rd-largest, and about to get much bigger, it remains a low-key operation.

    The U.S. Postal Service hopes to get badly-needed revenue by shipping beer and other alcoholic beverages. First, Congress has to repeal a 1909 law making it illegal to send booze by mail.

    Finally, Martyn Cornell, The Zythophile, serves up five facts about India pale ale you might not have known. Fact number one: a century and a half ago, people drank their IPA ice-cold.

    The Friday (Sour) Mash

    On this day in 1790, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, an American clergyman named Elijah Craig produced the first batch of whiskey distilled from corn. What better excuse to have a beer aged in a bourbon barrel?

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Cambridge, England, where the city’s first Bitcoin transaction recently took place. Andrew Bower bought a pint of beer at The Haymakers for just over 0.02 Bitcoins, or £1.55.

    Can’t find a bottle opener? S.E. Smith of Networx.com to the rescue. He has 16 ways to open a beer bottle without one–and without damaging your teeth.

    Japanese craft brewers might get a boost from their government’s decision to weaken the yen in an effort to stimulate the economy. A weak yen means higher prices for imported brands.

    Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of the nation’s top beer destinations. For your enjoyment, the staff at FermentedlyChallenged.com has compiled a three-day guide to the city’s breweries and bars.

    If you’re in the lower deck at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, listen for Mark Reiner, the singing beer vendor. He sings his personalized spiels to the tune of pop songs any fan would recognize.

    Crikey! Residents of a Melbourne, Australia, suburb discovered their cellphones weren’t working. The problem? Radio waves emitted by a neighbor’s beer fridge.

    Finally, craft beer returns to television this fall. The new Esquire Network will air a show titled “BrewDogs” starring James Watt and Martin Dickie, the founders of–you guessed it–BrewDog.

    The Friday Mash (Pliny the Elder Edition)

    On this day in 79 B.C., Mount Vesuvius erupted, wiping out the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing more than 15,000 people. Its most famous victim was Pliny the Elder, the naturalist whose writings about hops earned him recognition from the Russian River Brewing Company. The brewery’s renowned double IPA bears his name.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Morgantown, the home of West Virginia University, which has reclaimed the number-one spot in the Princeton Review’s ranking of top party schools. WVU also ranks first in the “Lots of Beer” category.

    You can’t win ‘em all. Olympic athlete Nick Symmonds came up six seconds short of the world record for running the Beer Mile, in which contestants chug a beer before the race and at each quarter mile.

    Australian scientists have found that feeding brewer’s grain to cows can reduce their methane emissions by at least 15 percent. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and cows burp up a lot of it.

    With this beer I thee wed? Many couples are substituting craft beer for Champagne toasts at their wedding receptions. Their beer selections often honor the states the bride and groom come from.

    Visitors to Fort Collins, Colorado, can now spend the day beer touring on a bicycle. There are six breweries located along three miles of trails, along with a “bike library” that will rent you one.

    Boxed wine has been on store shelves for years, but will drinkers buy beer in square bottles? Heineken is experimenting with them.

    Finally, a 1940 ad for Schaefer Bock Beer, which looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, inspired the Village Voice’s Eric Sundermann to write a beery version of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

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