John Holl

The Friday Mash (World Anesthesia Day Edition)

On this day in 1846, William T.G. Morton first demonstrated ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Each year the medical community honors this breakthrough with World Anesthesia Day. If ether “isn’t right for you”, we suggest having a beer instead.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Iowa City, where the informal University of Iowa “Beer Band” has suspended itself—at least for the time being—after townspeople complained abou X-rated song lyrics.

Beer author John Holl interviewed Dr. Chris White, the founder of yeast provider White Labs. Topics include sour beer, brewer education, and White’s new facility in North Carolina.

Chicago restaurateur Rick Bayless is introducing genuine Mexican-style beers. He’s opened a brewpub, and has also formed a brewing partnership with Constellation Brands .

Years ago, graphic designer Harvey Shepherd fell in love with beer packaging. He’s turned his avocation into the recently-published Oh Beautiful Beer: The Evolution of Craft Beer and Design.

Business consultant Chip Martella has good news and bad news for craft brewers. The dreaded industry shakeup has arrived, but a scrappy craft brewer can still succeed in this environment.

Carla Jean Whitley of details the revival of brewing in Alabama. Now that lawmakers have eased many Prohibition-era restrictions, the state’s brewery count has risen to 28.

Finally, declining sales of American light beer have forced breweries to rethink their advertising strategies. Their new ads will stress product quality, and will carry more woman-friendly messages.

The Friday Mash (Ponderosa Edition)

Fifty-five years ago today, the first episode of the television show Bonanza premiered on NBC. The show, which starred Lorne Greene and Michael Landon, ran for 14 seasons and 430 episodes, second only to Gunsmoke as the longest-running western of all time.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Crested Butte, Colorado, where residents are hopping mad over a clandestine deal to let Anheuser-Busch turn their ski town into a living Bud Light commercial.

John Holl asked some of his fellow beer writers, “if beer were invented today, what would it look like?” The answers may surprise you.

Heavy late-summer rains in Montana and Idaho have ruined much of the barley crop. A disappointing barley harvest could translate into higher beer prices next year.

Are you ready for some football? The folks at Thrillist are, and they’ve picked a local beer for each of the National Football League’s 32 teams.

Add chili pepper-infused beers to the list of craft brewing trends. USA Today’s Mike Snider reviews some popular chili beers, including one made with extra-potent ghost peppers.

Raise a glass to Jake Leinenkugel, who is retiring as the brewery’s CEO. According to a hometown journalist, Leinenkugel has earned a place in craft brewing history.

Finally, Marc Confessore of Staten Island showed us how not to pair food and beer. He got caught trying to sneak four cases of Heineken and 48 packages of bacon out of a grocery store.

Anchor Brews Its First IPA

After 43 years of making beer, the Anchor Brewing Company is finally brewing an IPA. That statement might not make sense, but John Holl, writing in All About Beer magazine, sets the record straight: “the golden amber cascade hop-forward ale first introduced in 1975 has won gold medals in the IPA category in beer contests, but the bottle doesn’t say IPA and it’s not always referred to the style when discussed in the brewery.”

Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, who bought the brewery from Fritz Maytag in 2010, decided to launch Anchor IPA as part of its effort to keep up with the times. The task of brewing the new ale was given to veteran brewmaster Mark Carpenter, who told Holl, “I wanted a beer that I would like to drink.” The beer would not be as heavily hopped as San Diego-style IPAs, and uses non-traditional hop varieties—including an experimental hop that imparts a fresh peach flavor—along with established varieties.

The Friday Mash (Vast Wasteland Edition)

Forty-three years ago today, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton Minow delivered his famous “Vast Wasteland” speech in which he decried “totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in the Shaab Valley in Jordan, where Yazan Karadsheh has launched his country’s first microbrewery. The brewery is called Carakale, after an indigenous mountain cat.

A mobile beer garden is coming to Milwaukee County’s parks this summer. The tables, glassware, and of course, the beer, will be provided by Sprecher Brewing Company.

In Portland, Oregon, Fred Eckhardt’s many friends celebrated his 88th birthday last weekend with two dozen big special beers from breweries from throughout the region.

PYT, a burger joint in Philadelphia, is now serving a burger topped with a Pabst Blue Ribbon-filled wonton. It’s designed to explode hot beer in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, so many new breweries have opened in recent months that the city can make a good argument that it’s now Canada’s craft beer capital.

Chicago’s DryHop Brewers has collaborated with the Lincoln Park Zoo to brew “I’m Not a Raccoon”, a red saison that checks in at 6% ABV. Proceeds will be donated to the Red Panda Wish List Fund.

Finally, beer writer John Holl went to the Bud Light Hotel in Las Vegas, which was “designed to be the ultimate fusion of sports and music.” Holl was amazed at Bud Light fans’ brand loyalty.

The Friday Mash (HP Edition)

A hundred years ago today, David Packard, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, was born. In 1938 Packard and William Hewlett went into business together. They established their company in a garage, with an initial investment of $538. Today, HP’s market capitalization is more than $33 billion.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Rochester, New York, where the Genesee Brewery will hold a grand opening ceremony tomorrow for its new brewhouse and pub. There will be a free concert, brewery tours, and tastings.

The latest in Stackpole Books’ Breweries series is Massachusetts Breweries, by John Holl and April Darcy. Gary Dzen of reviews the book.

British scientists have found that the shape of your beer glass may determine how fast you drink. Subjects with curved glasses took a third less time to finish their beer than those with straight glasses.

Players on Spain’s national soccer team, which won their second straight European championship this summer, were given their weight in beer by the Cruzcampo brewery, a team sponsor.

Obama’s homebrew honey ale recipes got good reviews overall, but Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer has question for the president: why aren’t you using American-grown hops?

Cold War-era scientists prepared a paper titled “The Effect of Nuclear Explosions on Commercially Packaged Beverages.” They concluded that canned beer stood up quite well to a nuclear bomb blast.

Finally, it’s Week 1 of the National Football League season. Evan Benn and Sean Z. Paxton of Esquire magazine suggest a craft beer pairing for all 32 NFL teams. And Ludwig reminds us that the Detroit Lions are still undefeated in regular-season play.

The Friday Mash (Blues and Brews Edition)

Eighty-five years ago today, blues guitarist B.B. (short for “Blues Boy”), King was born in Mississippi. Rolling Stone magazine ranked King the third-greatest guitarist of all time, adding that he influenced nearly electric blues guitarist who followed him. The blues lend themselves to beer drinking, which is why there are dozens of blues-themed beer festivals on our calendar.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Konopkivka, Ukraine, where a health spa offers therapeutic beer baths–one of many unconventional treatments available in town.

The business website 24/ has a list of “eight beers Americans no longer drink”. All of them are macrobrews that have suffered a significant loss of market share.

Beer writer John Holl recently contributed to a Wall Street Journal article on heartland travel, offering a craft beer and pub grub trip that takes in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison.

Here’s a new way to recycle beer cans. Jerry Stone of the Discovery Channel shows how an empty can will boost your wi-fi signal. Don’t try this after drinking.

If you’ve got a winning Powerball ticket lying around, cash it immediately, then buy some of the world’s most expensive beers.

Why did the creators of “The Simpsons” call that beer “Duff”? Ex-Guns ‘N Roses bassist Duff McKagan claims that he inspired its name.

Finally, British beer drinkers have good reason to sing the blues. A study shows that since 1987, the price of a pint has risen much faster than prices in general.

The Friday Mash (New Albion Edition)

On this day in 1579, Sir Francis Drake landed on the coast of what is now northern California. He called the land “New Albion” and claimed it for England. Four centuries later, Jack McAuliffe resurrected the name New Albion as the name for his microbrewery. It only lasted five years, but it changed American beer forever.

And now…The Mash!

We begin near Aix-en-Provence, France, a region we nowadays associate with wine. Scientists have also found evidence that the locals brewed beer 2,500 years ago.

The Heights in Houston, Texas, is the home of Live It BIG’s Beer Camp. Nicholas L. Hall of the Houston Press came home a happy camper, thanks to all the great beer he sampled.

What is “the mysterious Australian Ale”? Martyn Cornell, the Zythophile, concludes that it was most likely “No. 3 grade” Burton Ale, a sweetish, high-gravity beer exported to Australia during the late 19th century.

Dan, who blogs at The Full Pint, runs down the current trends in craft beer. Topping the list: 750ml corked and caged bottles.

Charlie Papazian revs up his time machine and travels back to 1980, where he unearths a Zymurgy magazine article about the Boulder Brewing Company. It’s part of the Small Breweries Revive series at

In New York City, bars are earning the Good Beer Seal. Participating establishments must be independently owned, have 80 percent of its beer consist of craft domestics or special imports, employ a knowledgeable staff that’s committed to presenting beer properly.

Finally, Session #53 has been announced. This month’s host is John Holl, and he’d like to hear from about Beer Redemption–that is, beers that with which you once had a bad experience, but later came to appreciate.

Wandering Indiana

With the Indianapolis 500 on tap tomorrow, it’s a good time to turn our attention to Indiana–and its growing craft beer industry. There are more than 30 breweries in the state, and John Holl and Nate Schweber, the authors of Indiana Breweries, have been to all of them. Recently they were guests of morning anchor Julia Moffitt of Indianapolis’ WTHR-TV. You can watch the video:

The Friday Mash (STP Edition)

On this day in 1923, auto racing figure Andy Granatelli was born. Granatelli and his brothers modified engines for Indy cars, but Andy is best known for being the spokesman for STP oil and gasoline treatment products during the 1960s. The product’s logo was everywhere, and the “STP is the racer’s edge” jingle still reverberates inside the brains of millions of American males.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Cullman, Alabama, which since 1977 has hosted a beer-free Oktoberfest. That tradition is about to go by the boards: last November, voters lifted prohibition.

Time flies when you’re having fun. Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog is hosting Session #50, “How Do They Make Me Buy The Beer?” Comments are welcome, and Alan has a few thoughts to get you started.

John Holl, whose book Indiana Breweries is now in print, was featured on New York’s WNBC-TV, where he brought out a selection of high-alcohol beers. Well before noon.

Planning a beer trip to Seattle? Sam Kettering of Seattle Weekly has a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to help you navigate the city.

Ashley Rouston, “The Beer Wench,” wants to find out which breweries are tops in social media. And she’s asking for nominations.

Natalie Hill, a British photographer, posted a beautiful Cantillon slide show on

Finally, Trudeau Corporation has invented a bottle opener that catches the cap. The video is worth watching for the cheesy music alone.

The Friday Mash (Let it Snow Edition)

On this day in 1887, the world’s largest-ever snowflakes–15 inches wide and eight inches thick–fell on Fort Keogh, Montana. It is not known what the people who saw those flakes were drinking at the time, but was probably a lot stronger than Big Sky Moose Drool.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in our home state of Michigan, which now has 85 breweries. Bell’s Beer, the biggest of them all, doubled its sales in 2010, and is planning further expansions in the years to come.

The Baltimore Sun’s Eric Maza brings up to date on local brewery tours. He mentions Delaware’s new a Wine and Ale Trail.

Some things don’t change. Ron Pattinson has posted on his Shut Up About Barkley Perkins blog a story about drunken young Brits wreaking havoc while overseas. The story was written in 1843, in an Indian newspaper. Guess what they were drinking?

David Jensen, who hosted Session #47, serves us a round-up of beer blogger cooking with beer. The Scotch eggs with beery mayonnaise sounds tasty.

According to Thomas and Carol Sinclair, the authors of a history of agriculture, humans lived on a diet of bread and beer for thousands of years. The downside? Vitamin deficiencies, cognitive impairment, high infant mortality, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Greg Kitsock hopes the popularity of black IPA will get beer lovers interested in dunkels. Kitsock reviews a number of dark lagers, domestic and imported.

A trip to the local dog park got beer writer John Holl thinking about dogs in beer advertising, and whether his beloved Pepper has a chance at stardom.

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