The Friday Mash (Sultan of Swat Edition)

A century ago today, George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major-league debut. Starting on the mound for the Boston Red Sox, he defeated Cleveland, 4-3. By 1919, Ruth was moved to the outfield so he—and his potent bat—could be in the lineup every day. And the rest, as they say, is history.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Lewes, Delaware, where Dogfish Head Artisan Ales has opened a beer-themed motel. The Dogfish Inn offers beer-infused soaps, logo glassware, and pickles for snacking.

Fans attending next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis can buy self-serve beer. New Draft-Serv machines will offer a choice not only of brands but also the number of ounces in a pour.

Moody Tongue Brewing, a brand-new micro in Chicago, offers a beer made with rare black truffles. A 22-ounce bottle of the 5-percent lager carries a hefty retail price of $120.

Fast Company magazine caught up with Jill Vaughn, head brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch’s Research Pilot Brewery. She’s experimented with offbeat ingredients ranging from pretzels to ghost peppers.

Entrepreneur Steve Young has developed beer’s answer to Keurig. His Synek draft system uses cartridges of concentrated beer which, when refrigerated, keep for 30 days.

Brewbound magazine caught up with Russian River Brewing Company’s owner Vinnie Cilurzo, who talked about Pliny the Elder, quality control, and possible future expansion of the brewery.

Finally, cue up the “final gravity” puns. Amateur rocketeers in Portland, Oregon, will launch a full keg of beer to an altitude of 20,000 feet. Their beer of choice? A pale ale from Portland’s Burnside Brewery.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Events at this year’s Chicago Beer Week: 550.
  • Establishments hosting events at this year’s CBW: more than 350.
  • Breweries in Chicago: 25, plus five in the planning stages.
  • Breweries in the state of Illinois: 81, plus around 30 in the planning stages.
  • Countries to which American beer was exported last year: 107.
  • America’s beer exports to Mexico, the number-one market: 1.3 million barrels.
  • America’s beer exports to Canada, the number-two market: 750,000 barrels.
  • Per-acre cost of a 500-acre aroma hops farm: $30,000 to $40,000.
  • Annual yield from a 500-acre hop farm: 1 million pounds
  • Pounds of hops in an average barrel of national-brand beer: 0.2.
  • Pounds of hops in an average barrel of craft beer: 1.25.
  • Microbrewery openings in the U.S. in 2013: 304.
  • Brewpub openings in the U.S. in 2013: 109.
  • Hispanics’ projected share of the U.S. drinking-age population in 2015: 15 percent.
  • Their projected share in 2045: 25 percent.
  • The Friday Mash (Cream City Edition)

    On this day in 1846, Juneautown and Kilbourntown, Wisconsin, combined to form the city of Milwaukee. One of Milwaukee’s nicknames is “Cream City,” given in the late 19th century when millions of cream-colored bricks were made there.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Northlake, Illinois, where Bill Diamond, a train conductor at a distribution plant, is protecting beer from the polar vortex, which has driven temperatures well below beer’s freezing point.

    Ever heard of the Andy-Oza Line? Created by Andy Sparhawk of, it’s the average ABV of the beer on tap at your local beer bar, divided by 5.9%, the average ABV of American craft beer.

    These cases are getting more common. Illinois’ Rockford Brewing Company filed a trademark suit against Michigan’s Rockford Brewing Company. Both claim to they were the first to use the name.

    Beer, then whiskey. MillerCoors is rolling out Miller Fortune, a golden lager that gives off a taste of bourbon. It’s aimed at 21- to 27-year-old men, who have gravitated to spirits in recent years.

    Heretic Brewing Company responded to California’s new growler law by providing customers with the most detailed instructions we’ve ever seen for keeping growlers clean.

    What did James Grant, a New Zealand doctor, do when a shark attacked him? He drove off the shark with a knife, stitched up his wounds, and went to the pub for a beer with his friends.

    Finally, umami is a savory flavor at the heart of Japanese food. Now there’s a beer to pair with it. It’s called Wazen, which will be released this spring by Suntory, the Japanese beverage company.

    The Friday Mash (World Tourism Day Edition)

    Today is World Tourism Day, which was created by the United Nations in 1970. This year’s theme is “Tourism and Water.” If you can’t make it to Munich, where some kind of a beer festival is going on, Ludwig recommends that you take a trip to your local brewery and order a beer–which, of course, is more than 90 percent water.

    And now…the Mash!

    We begin in Bloomington, Illinois, the home of Beer Nuts. The first batch of the snacks–made with just four ingredients–was created 60 years ago by Jim Shirk, whose family still owns the company.

    In Texas, a homebrewer recently got a nasty surprise: brewer’s yeast in his intestines caused him to spontaneously brew beer and get him drunk without warning.

    A Reddit user who goes by “psychguy” explained why experienced drinkers prefer strong beer: it’s a combination of “taste fatigue” and peer pressure.

    Was Jesus a beer drinker? Did He really turn water into beer at Cana? Stasia Bliss of the Las Vegas Guardian-Review cites historical and biblical evidence which points in that direction.

    Savvy beer shoppers are finding bargains at their local Wal-Mart. found a Los Angeles-area store that sold Coors and Tecate at just pennies over cost.

    If M.C. Escher were a glassblower, he might have come up with this: a glass designed to hold two different beers at the same time. The Dual Beer Glass holds two 1/3-pint portions of beer.

    Professor Hong Luo at the Unviersity of Buffalo says the key to a good pour is avoiding that “glugging” sound produced by a low-pressure area formed when beer is poured too fast.

    Finally, Scientific American magazine has awarded the IgNobel Prize in Psychology to the scientists who studied “self-beer goggles”: people who’ve had a few are more likely to consider themselves attractive.

    Beer in the Legislatures

    These items caught Ludwig’s attention:

    In Indiana, the state’s convenience store association has gone to court to overturn a state law that prohibits them from selling cold beer. Liquor stores are the only sellers allowed to do so.

    Beer is back on the agenda North Carolina. A bill that would allow grocery stores, restaurants, and other retailers to sell and refill growlers passed the House by a wide margin.

    Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly have passed a bill that would require Anheuser-Busch to divest itself of a minority interest in a Chicago-based distributor.

    The Friday Mash (Robbie Burns Edition)

    Today is the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns. It is the traditional day to honor him with a Burns supper, which typically includes haggis, Scotch whisky, and the recitation of Burns’ poetry, and closes with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Rosemont, Illinois, where America’s fourth Hofbrauhaus had a soft opening in the city’s new entertainment district. The other HB locations are Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, and Newport, Kentucky.

    The Canadian humor magazine Bite has created a zodiac-like infographic, “What Your Beer Style Says About You.” (Hat tip: Jay Brooks.)

    Two cheers for the three-tier system. According to the New America Foundation’s Barry Lynn, distributors are protecting craft beer from the dominance of the nation’s brewing duopoly–at least for now.

    Why is beer more likely to go skunky in clear bottles? It’s because light reacts with hop alpha acids to produce a compound similar to one found in a skunk’s defense spray.

    On Tuesday Harpoon Brewing, the nation’s eighth-largest craft brewer, will open a $3.5 million beer hall in Boston. It’s located just blocks from Boston Beer Company’s Jamaica Plain facility.

    If you haven’t been able to get limited-release beers,’s Jim Galligan offers tips from the pros. For starters, you should cultivate a relationship with a good beer store in your area.

    Finally, Matt Austin, a grad student at Cardiff University, found some interesting parallels between the way Vikings drank in mead halls and the way today’s British college athletes drink.

    The Friday Mash (CNN Edition)

    On this day in 1980, the Cable News Network debuted. After an introduction by Ted Turner, the husband and wife team of David Walker and Lois Hart anchored the network’s first newscast.

    Travel tip: if you’re going to Toronto this summer, do not refer to that enormous tower on the lakefront as the “CNN Tower.” Every Canadian within earshot will give you a dirty look.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Colorado, where the owners of Oskar Blues hope to operate a “beer train” between their Longmont and Boulder locations.

    Sara Dickerman of the New York Times updates us on San Diego’s craft beer scene. San Diego County has more than 50 breweries, and many of the area’s beers can be found far from California.

    India and Pakistan fought three major wars in the 20th century, but beer might bring them closer together. Pakistan’s Murree Brewery will start selling its lager to India for the first time since the two countries were partitioned in 1947.

    In Grayslake, Illinois, four hockey fanatics are starting a brewery. All Light the Lamp Brewery beers–for example, Sin Bin Stout–will have hockey-themed names.

    Tuscany is known the world over for its wine but even there, craft beer is making inroads. The region has more than 30 craft breweries, plus a number of bars that specialize in local beer.

    The term “dive bar” gets a new meaning, thanks to a bar inside a fully functional submarine. The sub recently took guests to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

    Finally, Martyn Cornell, The Zythophile, identifies some endangered beer species, including some that are critically endangered in his native Britain.

    Capital Capsules

    In many states, the legislature is in session. Some of their work will affect craft beer lovers.

    The “Surly bill” is now law in Minnesota. No, it doesn’t mandate nice behavior. It allows craft breweries to sell beer by the pint on premises. And Brooklyn Center’s Surly Brewing Company is just one brewery that plans to take advantage of it.

    Free the Hops, Alabama’s craft beer advocacy group, is on the verge of a partial success this year. The Brewery Modernization Act will make it easier to open a brewpub in the state and allow microbreweries to open tasting rooms. The governor said that he will sign it.

    Ohio lawmakers are considering whether to raise the ABV cap on beer to 18 percent from its current 12 percent.

    Connecticut lawmakers have given final approval to the creation of a Connecticut Beer Trail.

    A bill introduced in the Michigan House would allow homebrew tastings at licensed breweries and brewpubs for activities such as club meetings and competitions.

    And a new Illinois law that allows small brewers to self-distribute has gone into effect. However, the law doesn’t provide much relief to brewpubs, which must establish a production brewery in order to self-distribute their product.

    Unfortunately, not all is rosy on the legislative front. In Wisconsin, small brewers are up in arms over proposed legislation that would prevent breweries from owning distributorships. Backers of the legislation include MillerCoors, the Wisconsin Beer Distribution Association, the Tavern League of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Grocers Association.

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