holiday beers

The Friday Mash (Treasure State Edition)

On this day in 1889, Montana was admitted to the Union as the 41st state. Montana, with 36 craft breweries and a population of just over one million, ranks third in number of breweries per capita, behind only Vermont and Oregon. No wonder its nickname is the “Treasure State.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in San Francisco, where a company called ReGrained is using spent grain from beer brewing to make granola bars. The bars also contain Ghirardelli chocolate and other local ingredients.

Bottle-share parties have gotten much more sophisticated over the years. Portland, Oregon, writer Lucy Burningham sampled rare beer and gourmet food at a high-end gathering in her hometown.

Why are holiday beers already on the shelves? Because early rollouts work. Sales of seasonal beers have risen by 15 percent or more in the past few years.

Cassava is the second most-consumed source of carbohydrates in sub-Saharan Africa. Multi-national breweries are buying the crop from farmers and using it to brew beer.

Japanese baseball players have their version of America’s post-game Champagne celebration: a victory beer fight in which players spray one another. The tradition dates back to 1959.

Craft beer might be the next big tourist attraction in the Tampa Bay area. Four micros have recently opened in St. Petersburg alone, and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Company has a nation-wide following.

Finally, it has been a year since Hurricane Sandy heavily damaged the Jersey Shore. Flying Fish Brewing Company’s “F.U. Sandy” beer has generated $75,000 in donations to a number of New Jersey charities.

Simply The Best

Jay Brooks at the Brookston Beer Bulletin has compiled a list of the Top 10 Fictional Beers. Ever heard of Heisler Beer? Surely you’ve seen it. Created by Independent Studio Services, it’s a prop commonly used in television and films.

Writing at, Stephen Beaumont offers an eclectic list of five favorite holiday beers. Yeah, we know the holidays are officially over, but January is a month that calls for hearty food and beer that you can pair with it.

The voters at USA Beer Trends have named Vermont’s Rock Art Brewery the Top Craft Beer Trendsetter of 2009. Runners-up included The Bruery (Placentia, CA), Dogfish Head Brewing (Milton, DE), Fullsteam (Durham, NC), and Ska Brewing (Durango, CO).

Finally, Ewan, the London-based owner of the Pubology blog, last year visited 295 different pubs last year. Seriously. After sifting though his notes, he’s posted his favorites from 2009.

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