Homebrewing

The Friday Mash (Stanley Cup Edition)

On this day in 1892, Lord Stanley, Canada’s former Governor-General, pledged to donate a silver challenge cup to the best hockey team in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups, nine more than the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Silver Bay, Minnesota, where the city council banned a local microbrewery’s products from the municipal liquor store after the brewery opposed against taconite mining in the area.

Hops have been used in folk medicine for centuries. Today’s scientists have been working on harnessing hops’ anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

Releases draw big crowds of beer geeks. Unfortunately, some of them behave badly, pushing and shoving, cutting in line, and abusing breweries on social media when the beer runs out.

The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the brewing industry is picking up, and now craft breweries are taking one another over. Recently, Oskar Blues Brewery has bought Cigar City Brewing.

Tom Osborne and Mike Robb appeared on the television show Shark Tank to pitch The Beer Blizzard, a freezable product that fits on the bottom of a beer can, keeping it colder longer.

A craft brewery in London is attacking the problem of food waste by salvaging heels from bread loaves. The heels—which normally go to waste—are made into a beer called Toast Ale.

Finally, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione says he got his first taste of the beer business waiting tables at a Manhattan bar. That inspired Calagione to buy a homebrewing kit. On a whim, he added overly ripe cherries…and the rest is history.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Vietnam’s beer production in 2015: 2.89 million barrels.
  • Increase over 2014: 4.7 percent.
  • Amount of beer exported by Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar in 2015: 765,000 barrels.
  • Increase over 2014 exports: 10.5 percent.
  • Countries to which Budweiser Budvar is exported: 73.
  • British pub count in 1982: 67,800.
  • British pub count in 2015: fewer than 54,000.
  • Alaska’s brewery count: 26, with 5 in planning.
  • Brewery openings in Alaska in 2015: 5.
  • Average price of a pint of bitter in Great Britain: £3.10 ($4.40 U.S., for a 20-ounce pint).
  • Average price of a pint of lager in Great Britain: £3.26 ($4.63 U.S.).
  • States where homebrewing is illegal: 0 (Alabama and Mississippi were the last two to legalize, in 2013).
  • States where breweries can’t sell pints on premises: 2 (Georgia and Mississippi).
  • Value of legal marijuana sold in the U.S. in 2015: $3.5 billion.
  • Value of beer sold in the U.S. in 2015: $101 billion.
  • The Friday Mash (Mac Edition)

    Thirty-two years ago today, Apple Corporation introduced the Macintosh, which popularized the mouse and the graphical user interface. The introduction came in the form of the famous “1984” television commercial during Super Bowl XVIII.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Michigan, where Founders Brewing Company, having filed the necessary paperwork, can once again sell Breakfast Stout with a baby on the label.

    In the UK, health officials now recommend that men drink no more than six pints of beer per week. They also warn that drinking any amount of alcohol can cause health problems.

    Paste magazine introduces you to seven “ridiculous, but kind of awesome” beer gadgets. They include a CO-2 injection system for growlers and a bottle that imparts an oak taste.

    New laws in a number of states have encouraged “farm-to-keg” breweries, which make and serve beer using ingredients grown on site. These breweries operate much like wineries.

    Did you get a drone for Christmas? AC Shilton of Outside magazine explains how can you train your new toy to fetch and deliver your beer.

    In Australia, Quentin Tarantino was presented with a six-pack of Victoria Bitter in cans specially designed to honor him. He was joined onstage by actors Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson.

    Finally, the Craft Brewers Alliance plans to distribute Kona beer in Brazil. It cited “the great synergies between Hawaiian and Brazilian culture, with their amazing beaches and strong water lifestyles.”

    Best and Worst Beer Presidents

    Shortly before the 2008 election (more about that in a moment), beer writer Rick Lyke wrote a column about the best and worst beer presidents. The folks at All About Beer, where the column originally appeared, tweeted it earlier today in honor of Presidents Day.

    Heading the “Best Beer Presidents” list is Franklin D. Roosevelt, who campaigned against Prohibition. He’s joined by Jimmy Carter, who signed a bill legalizing homebrewing; James Madison, who promoted beer as a healthier alternative to hard liquor; and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom brewed their own. Barack Obama, who won the 2008 election, revived the tradition of homebrewing in the White House.

    Warren G. Harding, who supported Prohibition but flouted the law in private, tops the “Worst Beer Presidents” list. Others on the list include Rutherford B. Hayes, whose wife, “Lemonade Lucy” Hayes, banished alcohol from the White House; George H.W. Bush, who doubled the excise tax on beer; Woodrow Wilson, who was against Prohibition but failed to stop it; and Abraham Lincoln, who signed legislation creating the federal beer tax to raise revenue during the Civil War.

    A Vestige of Prohibition Ends

    Today, Mississippi became the 50th state to legalize homebrewing, 35 years after President Jimmy Carter signed a bill lifting the federal prohibition and 80 years after repeal of Prohibition.

    Jim Koch, who, like many commercial brewers, started by brewing his own, offered the following comment: “This activity that used to be illegal everywhere has created 100,000 jobs in the last 30 years and probably encouraged the responsible consumption of flavorful beer.”

    Feel free to celebrate a legal milestone with a tall cold one.

    When Homebrewing is Outlawed…

    Meet Keith Blackwood, America’s least probable criminal. He’s a self-styled libertarian, a cigar aficionado, and “somewhat of a foodie.” He’s also an assistant prosecuting attorney in Mobile County, Alabama.

    Unfortunately, Blackwood is a admitted homebrewer who happens to live in what will soon be the last state to repeal homebrew prohibition. Even more unfortunately, Blackwood made the mistake of tweeting about it. Eventually, his homebrewing came to the attention of his boss, Ashley Rich. She told an AL.com reporter that Blackwood was “disciplined,” but wouldn’t specify what the punishment was.

    The Friday Mash (Buy Low, Sell High Edition)

    Forty-two years ago today, the NASDAQ stock exchange was founded by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Once the home of lowly over-the-counter stocks, it’s now the exchange where companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are traded.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Britain, where health officials would like the beverage industry to disclose the number of calories in their products. They hope that people will drink less to avoid getting fat.

    Add the Morrow Royal Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada, to your list of beer landmarks to visit. It’s made from recycled beer and liquor bottles–more than half a million of them.

    The latest environmentally-friendly innovation is The Crafty Carton, a paper growler that holds one quart of beer and, according to Foodbeast.com, is suitable for origami.

    Here’s a beer pairing we’ve never seen before. Dr. Greg Zeschuk, a video game industry veteran and craft beer aficionado, chooses the right beer style for the genre of game you’re playing.

    World of Beer, which serves craft beer in a tavern-like setting, could be coming to your town. The chain has 36 locations in 11 states, and company CEO Paul Avery wants to take it nationwide.

    Glyn Roberts, The Rabid Barfly, unleashes a rant about people who decide to go on the wagon during January, which is the quietest time of the year for British pubs.

    Finally, will this be the year that Alabama and Mississippi finally legalize homebrewing? They’re the only two states where it remains illegal.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Pubs’ share of Ireland’s beer consumption: 67 percent.
  • Ireland’s annual beer consumption: 4.02 million barrels.
  • Beer’s share of Ireland’s alcohol consumption: 47 percent (wine is second, with 27 percent).
  • Economic impact of the Great American Beer Festival on Denver’s economy: $7 million.
  • GABF revenue from ticket sales: $2 million.
  • Alcoholic content of Armageddon, the world’s strongest beer: 65 percent.
  • Price of a single bottle of Armageddon: $52.
  • Price of a single bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias: $190.
  • Beer tax increase proposed by the French government: 160 percent.
  • Expected increase in the price of a beer after the tax hike: 20 percent.
  • Imports’ share of France’s beer market: 30 percent.
  • Calories in a pint of British session ale: 170.
  • Calories in a pint of orange juice: 256.
  • Homebrew shops in existence in the U.S. in 1929, when Prohibition was in force: 25,000.
  • Estimated U.S. homebrew production in 1929: 22.6 million barrels.
  • The Friday Mash (”What’s Up, Doc?” Edition)

    On this day in 1940, The Wild Hare, a Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies production, was released. The eight-minute cartoon, which was nominated for an Academy Award, depicted Elmer Fudd pursuing the much smarter Bugs Bunny.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in London, Ontario, whose minor-league baseball team, the Rippers, folded after being refused permission to sell beer. Ironically, the Rippers played their home games at Labatt Park.

    While much of America is suffering from drought, torrential rains in northern Europe have slowed the maturation of grain crops. The forecast is for higher grain prices and, ultimately, more expensive beer.

    The iconic “R” sign, placed atop Rainier Brewing’s Seattle brewery in 1953, will be re-lit at the Museum of History and Industry. The brand’s owners are also bringing back the Grazing Rainiers, those mythical beer bottles with legs.

    Jim Galligan, drinks correspondent for MSNBC.com, offers five reasons why you should brew your own beer.

    The brewery staff at Budweiser has been experimenting with small-batch beers. Once they dedide on which three of the original 12 beers are the best, they’ll package them in special six-packs to be sold at retail this fall.

    The Travel Channel serves up its list of top seven beer destinations. Instead of the usual suspects, their picks are up-and-coming places you might not have thought about.

    Finally, the Bad Training Regimen Award goes to Tyler Bray, a quarterback at the University of Tennessee. Bray decided to limber up his throwing arm by lobbing beer bottles at parked cars.

    Why Homebrewing Matters

    The next time your friend tells you about the beer he–or she–is brewing, listen up. According to Dave Conz, a professor at Arizona State University, homebrewing leads to innovation and is good for the soul as well.

    Professor Conz links the Prohibition-era ban on homebrewing to the consolidation of America’s brewing industry and the dominance of light lager. Once the ban was lifted in 1978, the number of breweries began to grow again, and most of them were founded by DIY homebrewers. (Conz also points out that while Germany’s Reinheitsgebot ensured uniformity and quality, it stifled innovation by prohibiting brewers from trying other ingredients. Belgium, which never had such a law, brews an astounding variety of beers.)

    Conz also maintains that DIY activities, such as homebrewing, provide an outlet from the daily grind and a sense of satisfaction, make people more self-reliant, and provide an alternative to our consumer culture. It’s a good way to make friends, too.

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