On this day in 1819, Walt Whitman was born on Long Island. He is best known for his epic poem, Leaves of Grass, which he published with his own money in 1855. Whitman, who had strong political views, originally supported the temperance movement, but came to enjoy wine and Champagne later in life. Too bad craft beer hadn’t been invented yet.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Germany, where brewers are worried that extracting natural gas by “fracking” threatens the purity of the water they use to make beer.
This summer, Rachel Dean of Cincinnati will be offering guided tours of her hometown’s microbreweries. Her tours will also include tasting and sensory education.
Philly Beer Week kicks off this evening, and SeriousEats.com has ten places to drink beer in the City of Brotherly Love.
After two years of delays, the 1990s boy band Hanson finally has its own beer. It’s called–what else?–Mmmhops, and it makes a cameo appearance in the film Hangover 3.
Fat Head’s Brewery, which has gained national acclaim, will build a brewpub in Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District. It will sell local micro products as well as its own beers.
A clever German, who apparently had a lot of time on his hands, has invented a device that can open 24 beer bottles at once.
Finally, ESPN’s DJ Gallo has a remedy for the less-than-hygenic conditions found in ballparks: drink beer, which might contain enough alcohol to kill those nasty bacilli.
On this day in 1930, Don Shula was born. Shula coached the Miami Dolphins to two consecutive Super Bowl victories. The first, in Super Bowl VII, completed the first and only undefeated season in the history of the National Football League.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Ostbevern, Germany, where a hotel has created a room with a two-person bed made from a beer barrel. The barrel, which dates back to the 19th century, was used as recently as 1995.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has enlisted surviving members of The Gratetful Dead to help make its American Beauty pale ale. It’s also asking Deadheads to suggest ingredients for the beer.
Last spring’s freakishly warm weather wiped out the cherry crop in the Great Lakes region. Which explains why cherry beer has been so hard to find lately.
Iraq and Afghanistan vet Jake Voelker has launched a beer tour business. Pennsylvania Brewery Tours will run trips to breweries that are “slightly out of reach,” with Voelker providing history and color en route.
Russia begins 2013 with a new law that classifies beer as alcohol rather than food. It also puts an end to beer sales at street kiosks and 24-hour convenience stores.
With the help of the folks at Sierra Nevada, the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux have raised $7 million to restore a Trappist monastery that William Randolph Hearst shipped from Spain in the 1930s.
Finally, journalist Evan Benn sat down with Dan Kopman, the CEO of Schlafly Bottleworks, who talked about expansion, festivals, and Schlafly in cans.
American consumers are driven by the lowest price–a marketing approach pushed relentlessly by companies such as Wal-Mart. But author David Sirota sees a different approach. He points out that beer consumers are choosing quality over cheap, mass-produced American beer:
Produced through the macrobrews’ low-price, high-volume process, they don’t contain high-quality ingredients, they don’t contain much alcohol and, thus, they simply don’t taste good. Knowing this, the macrobrews have logically designed their marketing campaigns to focus on everything (the can, the type of people who drink it, the logo, etc.) but the actual product. Indeed, if there’s one ubiquitous reference that macrobrewing companies make to the beer itself, it’s usually one telling you how cold the beer is or should be–a temperature that, quite deliberately, helps hide just how bad the beer actually is.
By contrast, craft brewers, which are mostly independent small and medium-size businesses, know they can’t compete on a volume. They therefore promote quality and diversity.
Sirota believes that the David-versus-Goliath competition goes beyond the brewing industry, In the years to come, in a variety of products, consumers will choose between China’s “Wal-Mart” model–low prices, cheap labor–and Germany’s “craft brew” model–high quality and high performance.
Today is Bird Day, established in 1894 by a Pennsylvania school superintendent named Charles Babcock. It was the first holiday in the United States dedicated to the celebration of birds. With that in mind, the highest-ranked beer on BeerAdvocate.com with a bird name is Duck Duck Gooze, brewed by The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Brevard, North Carolina (whose state bird is the cardinal), where Oskar Blues will build a brewery and restaurant. It will be up and running by the end of this year.
Will Germany take the “pub” out of public transit? Alcohol-fueled rowdiness on trains in Berlin and other cities has lawmakers pondering a ban on alcohol consumption on mass-transit systems.
Craft beer, brought to you by bicycle? Portland, Oregon’s Old Town Brewing Company will soon deliver its products by pedal power. Its sister company, Old Town Pizza, has been delivering pies by bike for some time.
This sounds impossible, but McLean’s magazine reports that several Canadian campus pubs lose money selling beer to students.
Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason told employees that the company–which recently raised $700 million in an initial public offering–needs to “grow up.” He made that remark while swigging from a bottle of beer.
A recent blog post by Alan McLeod touched off a spirited discussion about reviewing bad craft beer. The bad brew falls into two categories: badly-made beers, which are now rare; and “bad-idea” beers, about which opinions differ.
Finally, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates Mexico’s victory over French invaders at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Jay Brooks reminds us that Mexico’s traditional beer style is Vienna lager.
They spoke a different language, and weren’t computer-literate, but the people who lived in Germany more than 2,500 years ago had more in common with us than you might think. A team led by archaeologist Bettina Arnold concluded pre-Roman Celtic people engaged in “competitive feasting”. In other words, people who wanted to move up the social and political ladder tried to outdo one another by dressing to impress and throwing parties with free alcohol. Arnold’s researchers also discovered another similarity between then an now: the upper classes preferred wine–they either traded for grape wine or made mead from honey–and snubbed beer as “the barbarian’s beverage.” Which goes to show that some things never change.
On this day in 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born. His imagination gave us characters like the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. To honor the good doctor, Ludwig suggests a dinner of green eggs and ham. With a glass of ale, of course.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Denver, where J. Wilson, the Iowa man who lived on a diet of doppelbock last year during Lent, was named Beerdrinker of the Year at Wynkoop Brewing Company.
It’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for The Session. Matt Robinson, who blogs at Hoosier Beer Geek, hosts the discussion titled What Makes Local Beer Better?. Feel free to join in.
Job fair alert: New Zealand’s Boundary Road Brewery is looking for 500 “beer intellectuals” to evaluate its new IPA. Applicants must be at least 18 and and demonstrate “a sound knowledge of beer.”
Not only have traditional ales made a comeback, but traditional pub games like darts, skittles, and dominoes are returning to British pubs.
This was bound to happen: a reality show featuring a brewers’ competition. “The Next Great American Brewer” is produced by Main Gate Visuals, which also worked on the “Top Chef” and “Project Runway” series.
Calling Sam Calagione. Construction workers in Ecuador discovered a tomb, dating to pre-Inca days, which contained a previously unknown species of yeast used to brew chicha.
Finally, in Germany, a waiter identified only as “Martin D.” spilled five glasses of beer on the back on Chancellor Angela Merkel. Fortunately, Merkel was a good sport about it.
A pint of beer costs almost twice as much in Greece, whose economy is faltering, than it does in Germany. Beer is also considerably more expensive in Rome and Madrid than it is in Berlin. All of these places are in the euro zone, so why the difference in prices?
Ed Conway, an economics writer at Britain’s Sky News, maintains that differences in efficiency explain part of the price disparity. (Taxes, supply and demand, and licensing laws also affect price.)
Conway points out that Greece has a less productive economy–in other words, it costs more to produce one unit of economic output–than Germany. That was also true when the euro was created, which means that countries like Germany that joined the euro zone committed themselves to subsidize less-productive nations.
Beer grabbed the attention of CBS’s “Early Show,” which featured White House Honey Ale, the first beer brewed by an American president, along with a sampling of German beers just in time for Oktoberfest: