Garrett Oliver

A Clever, Beer-Themed April Fool’s Prank

Today, reported that the heads of four craft-brewing pioneers–Kim Jordan (New Belgium), Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada), Garrett Oliver (Brooklyn Brewery) and Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head)–will be chipped out of Half Dome, the 9,000-foot-tall granite formation in Yosemite National Park. It also reported that the landmark will be named “Craft Dome”.

It gets better:

[I]t all started with a call from Leslie Knope a few weeks ago. Grossman says the Pawnee, Indiana, native who rose to the top of the ranks of the National Park Service was looking for a way the government could give props to the rise of small and independent brewing in America.

“She said she wanted to put a project together to honor the founding of craft brewing…Since California is the birthplace they wanted to do it at Half Dome.”

There’s also a video from Sierra Nevada’s Facebook page in which the four honorees explain the Craft Dome plan.

Well done, ladies and gentlemen. Well done.

The Friday Mash (Rebellion Edition)

On this day in 1837, Canadian journalist and politician William Lyon Mackenzie wrote an essay calling for a rebellion against the United Kingdom. During the 1990s, the Upper Canada Brewing Company honored him with an ale called “Rebellion.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Hyde Park, Utah, whose heavily Mormon population voted nearly 2-to-1 to allow beer sales. The town’s mayor said it was the most emotional issue he’s ever seen.

Spain’s Catalonia has its own language, customs, and cuisine. If brewery owner Alex Padro has its way, it will soon have its own beer as well.

Sonoma County, California, the birthplace of modern craft brewing, boasts 20 craft breweries. The breweries have a significant economic impact, and have become a tourist attraction.

Heady Topper, a double IPA made by The Alchemist brewery, is so popular that the brewery’s owners had to close their retail store after neighbors complained about rowdy customers.

Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the California Route Lager. It’s a California common beer made by the New Belgium Brewing Company.

Garrett Oliver talked with the New York Times about his favorite places to drink beer in Sweden. Oliver has teamed up with Carlsberg to start The New Carnegie Brewery in Stockholm.

Finally, two men are raising funds on for The Beer Tusk, a device for those who like to “shotgun” their beers. It’s safer than a key, and less likely to make the beer backsplash.

The Friday Mash (Chili and Frosty Edition)

No, “chili and frosty” isn’t today’s weather report. Those were once the signature items of Wendy’s restaurants, the first of which opened on this day in 1969. Founder Dave Thomas named after it after his daughter Melinda Lou Thomas, known to her family as Wendy.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Germany, where an official of the national health system infuriated psychotherapists by suggesting that a bottle of beer might be more effective than a trip to the couch.

A store in Louisville sells hand-rolled cigars seasoned with Samuel Adams beer. They combine the beer’s sweetness and maple and vanilla flavors with a spicy flavor from the tobacco blend.

In many U.S. states, anti-drunk driving groups have put an end to drive-through beer stores, but they’re still common in Mexico. Some are operated by the Modelo brewery’s parent company.

Last week, the carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford was launched. Founders Brewing Company, located in Ford’s hometown of Grand Rapids, released a special ale to celebrate.

Next February, the University of Kentucky will host a one-day seminar on the importance of beer writing to the craft beer industry. Garrett Oliver is the headline speaker.

Alan Newman, the founder of the Magic Hat Brewing Company, has gone back to basics. His Just Beer Project is a brewery that focuses on traditional beers. His first offering is a session-strength IPA.

Finally, some gift ideas for the beer lover who has everything. Paste Magazine’s ten best items made out of beer cans include a Christmas tree, a corset, and a World War I biplane.

Crimes Against Beer

Garrett Oliver walks a tough beer beat: the nation’s restaurants. And what he sees in some establishments are crimes against beer. At the top of Oliver’s rap sheet is clueless staff. He explains:

[B]eer is the only food or drink where if you go to a restaurant, the average customer knows more about the beer than the house, even if they have only 10 beers on the list. That’s a disaster. Can you imagine if you walked into a steak house and 70 percent of the customers knew more about steak than anybody who worked there?

Other perpetrators on Oliver’s list include bad or dirty glassware, overchilling, and lack of press coverage.

The Friday Mash (Wednesday Edition)

Even beer-drinking lions need time off, so he’s assembled this week’s Mash a couple of days early. Once it’s posted, Ludwig will zip up his luggage and hop into the lion limo for a long weekend. He’ll be back on Monday, relaxed and refreshed. We should all be so lucky.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Cleveland, where Mark Bona of the Plain Dealer suggests beers to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. No hard and fast rules, just general pointers.

Did you know that Garrett Oliver’s love affair with beer began with a pint in a London pub? That tidbit and others appear in an interview with Oliver in the Independent.

The Beer Bloggers Conference has compiled a list of all known beer bloggers on the planet. The total stands at 1,164. And yes, Ludwig Roars is on that list.

From the Life Imitates Art Department: The governing board of the Phoenix-area’s light-rail system has okayed beer ads on the outside of trains. Some of those trains might resemble the Coors Silver Bullet of TV ad fame.

Friday is the official kickoff of Christmas shopping season, which means it’s time to think Yuletide beers. Brandon Hernandez of San Diego magazine serves up the 12 Beers of Christmas.

Ever wonder why flies are attracted to beer? Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, have the answer: the pesky insects are attracted to glycerol, a sweet-tasting compound produced by yeasts during fermentation.

Finally, the Michigan Wolverines take on arch-rival Ohio State on Saturday. We hope these beer-chugging grannies will be partying with the tailgaters in Ann Arbor.

The Friday Mash (Veterans Day Edition)

On this day in 1918, the Allied nations and Germany agreed to an armistice that effectively ended World War I. November 11, originally known as Armistice Day, became a legal holiday in the U.S. in 1938. It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. A good reason to buy a veteran a beer as a thank-you for serving our country.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Toronto, where Black Creek Historic Brewery’s One Mile Beer was pronounced a success. It was brewed using technology from the mid-19th century when there was no electricity, refrigeration, stainless tanks, or bottling plants.

Have you heard of the other St. Louis brewery with Busch in its name? It’s called the William K. Busch Brewing Company, and its eponymous founder is the great-grandson of Adolphus Busch.

Is that special guy on your Christmas list a beer lover and a bibliophile? Evan Benn can help you. His column in Esquire magazine names the new beer bibles every man should read.

Don’t cry in your beer, Argentina. The tap list at a Peronist restaurant in Buenos Aires–yes, there really is one–includes “Evita”, “17 de Octubre”, “Montoneros” and “Doble K,” the latter honoring the husband and wife who each served as Argentina’s president.

Growlers. Ludwig’s staff, Maryanne and Paul, love them. In fact, they literally wore one out. So they were surprised to learn that Garrett Oliver hates growlers.

Sante! Men’s Health magazine assembled a slideshow of America’s best new canned beers. Fun fact: Indianapolis owns the distinction of having two of its breweries’ products on the list.

Finally, Honda’s upgrade to Asimo, its stair-climbing robot, enables it to recognize faces and voices, and even pour drinks. Since Honda also makes cars, we hope Asimo can recognize people who’ve had too many–and take away their keys.

Garrett Oliver on Beer, Good and Bad

Earlier this month, Gothamist magazine sat down with Garrett Oliver, whose many hats include editing the recently-published Oxford Companion to Beer. The conversation quickly took an interesting turn when Oliver talked about his own article on adulterated beer. He said that in England, during the mid-19th century, there was a good chance that your pint of porter was laced with a drug that could render you senseless. Nothing personal; breweries weren’t slipping you a Mickey; the adulterant was a cheaper intoxicant than malt.

Oliver also named the worst beer he’s ever had: a Vietnamese beer called Saigon, which in turn reminded him of the awful lager served him in East Berlin a few years before the Berlin Wall fell. That led him to observe, “Boy, Communism is certainly bad but I didn’t know it was so bad that it could even make Germans produce terrible beer.”

But don’t get the wrong impression. Oliver spent most of the interview talking about good beer: the revival of artisanal brewing in America, what a “craft brewery” is, and how good beer is part of the same trend that brought better food to American dinner tables. And, for those inclined, he offers the perfect food pairing for traditionalists who like a beer at 10 in the morning.

The Friday Mash (KFC Edition)

On this day in 1890, Harland Sanders was born. At the age of 40, Sanders started cooking chicken dishes for travelers who stopped at his gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. His secret recipe became Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel was bestowed on him by the state. Oh, and KFC pairs well with beer, especially at tailgate parties.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Provo, Utah, the home of Brigham Young University. It’s the last place you’d expect to buy a beer on Sunday, but city fathers are considering them.

San Diego has become a major beer destination. The city’s mayor, Jerry Sanders, thinks it’s your civic duty to support your local breweries.

What beers were poured at the first Great American Beer Festival in 1982? Some of the names might surprise you–or, if you’re of a certain age, might bring back memories.

In case you missed it, Nancy Keates of the Wall Street Journal profiled Tonya Cornett, the brewmaster at Bend Brewing Company.

“Join me in a pint?” You can do that–sort of–at Del Mar Race Track, which sports a gigantic glass of Newcastle Brown Ale that creates the illusion a person is swimming in it.

Beer education–the classroom variety–has come to dozens of American colleges. Don Russell, a/k/a Joe Sixpack, says the courses are so popular that custom-written term papers are available online.

Finally, beer is an ingredient in many restaurant meals. Food writer Mark Bittman of the New York Times paid a visit to Garrett Oliver to learn more.

Garrett Oliver and the Iron Chef

This evening, brewer and bon vivant Garrett Oliver will team up with Philadelphia restaurateur Jose Garces (perhaps you’ve seen him on Iron Chef) to present a beer dinner at Garces’ Chifa Restaurant. It’ll be a six-course, chocolate-themed dinner.

Bryan Kolesar, who blogs at The Brew Lounge, had a rare opportunity to sit down with both gentlemen. Topics included the upcoming Oxford Companion to Beer, edited by Oliver; Garces’s taste in beverages, what beers he finds most versatile, and the possibility of a “house beer” in the future; and Oliver’s most memorable beer dinner out of the 700 or so he’s hosted.

Mr. Oliver Goes to Washington

This evening, the National Geographic Society and The Brickskeller will hold their annual beer seminar. For the fifth year running, Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver will host the event, which was begun by none other than Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter. This topic of year’s seminar is “New Beers of Scandinavia.”

In case you haven’t gotten your hands on a ticket (the event is sold out), Tammy Tuck of the Washington City Paper has a story about her interview of Oliver.

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