Today, Christians celebrate The Feast of the Epiphany. In Louisiana, this means Carnival season is underway. The local tradition is to bake King Cakes; and the person who finds the doll in his or her slice must bake the next cake.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in France, where the Benedictine monks at the 1,367-year-old Abbey of Saint-Wandrille are back in the business of brewing. They’re the country’s only producers of truly monastic beer.
In an interview with Paste magazine, 21st Amendment Brewery’s Nico Freccia talked about the fine art of naming beers, and how the brewery’s odd names has become mainstream.
When Tim Kliegl turned 65, he celebrated in unusual fashion—namely, by running a mile, and trying a new beer, every day for an entire year. And he’s got the notes to prove it.
Staffers at Amazon.com’s Christmas party in Dublin were treated to a special beer from local micro Metalman Brewing. Grainne Walsh, Metalman’s founder, once worked as an engineer at Amazon.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended lowering the DUI threshold to .05 percent, and a Utah lawmaker wants his state to be first. The current threshold in all states is .08.
Rick Astley, whose song “Never Gonna Give You Up” was part of a popular Internet prank, plans to “roll” out a beer. The lager, which will be brewed by Mikkeller, has yet to be named.
Finally, the The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company will celebrate its 150th anniversary by joining forces with the famous Hofbräu München. The amber-colored, Marzen-style will be introduced in April.
Roger Barber, the owner of a British winery, can market his sparkling wine as “Champale”. Barber persuaded British trademark authorities that his product’s name wasn’t confusingly similar to French Champagne. French Champagne growers argued that “champ” was the common familiar term for their product, but Barber countered that in England, “champ” was short for champion.
You might be asking yourself, what is a story about wine doing on a beer blog? Because in America, “Champale” doesn’t mean what Barber thinks it means. The American version is a malt liquor that debuted in 1939. Readers of a certain age might remember getting a quick buzz—and an awful hangover—from drinking it. Champale, which has had a succession of owners, is still available, and now comes in four flavors.
At FiveThirtyEight.com, Mona Chalabi crunched the numbers from the World Health Organization to find out which countries are home to the biggest drinkers.
The WHO data confirm some stereotypes; for example, France ranks number one in per capita wine consumption, with 370 servings per year. But there were big surprises, too. Namibia ranks first in beer consumption, with 376 servings per person per year—more than 10 percent higher than Germany; and Grenada tops the list of spirits-drinking countries, with 438 servings per person per year.
Americans drink more beer—249 servings per person per year–than any other alcoholic beverage. However, American drinking preferences have fluctuated over the years. Grain shortages during World War II forced Americans to try rum from the Caribbean (fortunately, creative bartenders developed new cocktails such as the Hurricane); and after World War II, vodka became popular—and it remains the nation’s favorite hard liquor.
As for beer, it was less popular during the 19th century because innovations such as refrigeration, bottles, and cans hadn’t come into wide use, and the beverage wasn’t as easy to transport and store as it is today.
When Maryanne and I first visited the Continent 20 years ago, friends advised us to “drink beer in beer countries, drink wine in wine countries.” France definitely qualifies as a wine country, but today, you can find good beer in that county’s capital. Really good beer.
In today’s Daily Beast, Jeff Campagna describes a recent beer expedition to Paris. His first stop was the city’s 18th Arrondissement, where Brassere de la Goutte d’Or (in English, “drop of gold”) is making craft beer, some of which uses ingredients bought in local markets. According to Gouette d’Or’s brewer, Thierry Roche, the French are no strangers to locally-brewed beer, despite two world wars and industry consolidation. Roche believes the time has come for Parisians to take up this tradition again.
On this day in 1386, the University of Heidelberg opened in Germany. The school is best known as the setting of The Student Prince, but it has a centuries-long tradition of independent thinking, and today is one of the world’s leading research universities.
And now…the Mash!
We begin in Dallas, where Southern Methodist University is considering selling beer at sporting events. Ironically, the Methodist Church has been front and center in America’s temperance movement.
The first-ever craft beer logo appeared on a car in a NASCAR race. Dale’s Pale Ale was one of the sponsors of Landon Cassill’s car at last weekend’s Dollar General 300 in Charlotte.
After a 20-plus-year absence, Yuengling beer will return to Massachusetts next spring. The brewery pulled out of the Bay State in 1993 because production couldn’t meet demand.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has collaborated with the Grateful Dead to brew “American Beauty.” It’s a pale ale made with purely American ingredients, including a secret one….No, guess again. It’s granola.
Sixty percent of the beer poured in Portland, Oregon, is brewed in-state. Craft brews have become so popular in that city that even many “dive” bars boast a wide selection of local products.
Boak and Bailey take us to a French city that’s steeped in beer culture. Strasbourg, which is the home of the European Parliament, was part of Germany until 1918.
Finally, that beer you’re drinking might be brewed someplace else than where you think. For example, Red Stripe is brewed in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the former home of Rolling Rock, which is now brewed in New Jersey.
France has always been an target of stereotypes, one of which is that the French don’t drink beer. Raymond Duyck, who heads Brasserie Duyck, is fighting that stereotype. He’s taken the lead in founding French Craft Brewers, which aims to improve the reputation of French beer.
Brasserie Duyck, which is located in France’s Nord Pas de Calais, specializes in the region’s biere de garde style (perhaps you’ve tried the brewery’s Jenlain beer). World War II, industry consolidation after the war, and the dominance of mass-produced lagers killed off most of the region’s 2,000 breweries. Brasserie Duyck was one of the survivors and it’s growing. Now Raymond is working on gaining his family-owned brewery a following outside France.
On this day in 1579, Sir Francis Drake landed on the coast of what is now northern California. He called the land “New Albion” and claimed it for England. Four centuries later, Jack McAuliffe resurrected the name New Albion as the name for his microbrewery. It only lasted five years, but it changed American beer forever.
And now…The Mash!
We begin near Aix-en-Provence, France, a region we nowadays associate with wine. Scientists have also found evidence that the locals brewed beer 2,500 years ago.
The Heights in Houston, Texas, is the home of Live It BIG’s Beer Camp. Nicholas L. Hall of the Houston Press came home a happy camper, thanks to all the great beer he sampled.
What is “the mysterious Australian Ale”? Martyn Cornell, the Zythophile, concludes that it was most likely “No. 3 grade” Burton Ale, a sweetish, high-gravity beer exported to Australia during the late 19th century.
Dan, who blogs at The Full Pint, runs down the current trends in craft beer. Topping the list: 750ml corked and caged bottles.
Charlie Papazian revs up his time machine and travels back to 1980, where he unearths a Zymurgy magazine article about the Boulder Brewing Company. It’s part of the Small Breweries Revive series at Examiner.com.
In New York City, bars are earning the Good Beer Seal. Participating establishments must be independently owned, have 80 percent of its beer consist of craft domestics or special imports, employ a knowledgeable staff that’s committed to presenting beer properly.
Finally, Session #53 has been announced. This month’s host is John Holl, and he’d like to hear from about Beer Redemption–that is, beers that with which you once had a bad experience, but later came to appreciate.