Kona Brewing Company

The Friday Mash (End of Apartheid Edition)

Twenty-five years ago today, South Africans voted overwhelmingly to end the practice of racial segregation called apartheid. The vote followed President F.W. de Klerk’s lifting of the ban on opposition parties and his release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years’ imprisonment.

And now….The Mash!

We begin near Dublin, where, if you have $29.5 million, you can be the new owner of the Guinness Beer Castle. The castle, aka Luggala, has 27 bedrooms and 18 full baths and sits on 5,000 acres of green rolling hills.

Two California drinkers have sued the maker of Kona Brewing Company’s beers. They allege that Kona falsely represented that the beers are brewed in Hawaii, when in fact they’re brewed on the mainland.

If you’re a golfer, this product is for you. “Big Beertha” looks like a driver, but functions as “the original golf beer bong”. It holds 12 ounces of liquid whose consumption can be viewed by onlookers through its clear acrylic shaft.

The Kansas City Royals have named Boulevard Brewing Company the first-ever craft beer partner of a major-league baseball team. Boulevard has been sold at Royals’ games for more than 20 years.

Last weekend at SXSW, Anheuser-Busch announced its “Bud on Mars” project. Challenges on the Red Planet include low gravity, lack of water, not enough sunlight to grow hops, and humans’ diminished sense of taste.

Shares in Japan’s big breweries could get a boost if the government follows through on revising the beer excise tax, which is based malt content. The result has been a flood of beers heavy with adjuncts like peas and soybeans.

Finally, Belgian scientists recently discovered the Trappist-1 system of possibly-habitable Earth-size planets some 40 light-years from Earth. They named the planets after monastic Trappist beers such as Rochefort, Orval, and Westvleteren.

The Friday Mash (Double Nickel Edition)

On this day in 1974, President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum speed limit to 55 miles per hour in order to conserve gasoline during the OPEC embargo. The unpopular “double nickel” stayed on the books for more than 20 years.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Hawaii, where Kona Brewing is celebrating its 21st birthday by releasing a series of Hawaii-only beers. First in Kona’s Makana series is Aina Brown Ale, brewed with taro root.

New York City’s two largest beer distributors plan to merge. The merger threatens the existence of the city’s 13,000 bodegas, which are small, mostly minority-owned convenience stores.

Craft beer is gaining ground in South Korea thanks to new laws. For years, the country’s beer market has been dominated by two large brewing companies.

A blog post by Bryan Roth delves into the economics of beer-buying decisions. Roth wonders whether price will become a bigger factor in what craft beer drinkers buy.

Outside the United States, non-alcoholic beers are growing in popularity. Reasons include anti-alcohol laws in Muslim countries, fear of a DUI arrest, and better-tasting products.

Is your local beer bar serious about beer? Thrillist’s Dan Gentile tells you what to look for. For example, bubbles on the side of your glass means the glass is dirty.

Finally, Argentina’s Andes Brewery offers a a “Message in a Bottle”. Andes bottles are imprinted with QR codes which, together with a mobile app, allow a person to record a video and assign it to a specific bottle. The recipient scans the QR code and plays the video back.

The Friday Mash (Palmetto State Edition)

On this day in 1788, South Carolina ratified the Constitution, becoming the eighth state to join the Union. The Palmetto State is home to first-rate barbecue and has miles of beautiful beaches, both of which will be fine accompaniments to a beer this holiday weekend.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Tulsa, where the pop group Hanson staged a free concert at the Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival. The beer list included Hanson’s own Mmmhops pale ale.

Dartmouth University inspired Animal House and claims to be the birthplace of beer pong. But school president Phil Hanlon thinks the partying has gotten out of hand, and vows to curb dangerous drinking on campus.

The folks at Kona Brewing Company thinks mainlanders work too hard. The brewery’s “Dear Mainlander” ads propose a new schedule: one “sad hour,” and 23 happy hours.

Jeff Baker argues that Vermont has its own distinctive style of IPA. It’s bright golden and hazy in appearance, soft in mouthfeel, dense with hop flavor and aroma, but only moderately bitter.

In Olympia, Washington, a new partnership wants to bring back brewing at the historic Tumwater complex. The complex was part of the Olympia brewery, which closed in 2003 after nearly a century of making beer.

Two entrepreneurs have opened a “brewnuts” shop in downtown Tremont, Ohio. For the uninitiated, brewnuts are “craft beer inspired donuts” that are popular with the late-night crowd.

Finally, New York City’s Irish pubs are becoming an endangered species. Bar owners can’t afford skyrocketing rent, and younger drinkers are looking for something more adventurous than Guinness, Jameson, and pub grub.

The Top 50 Breweries of 2011

The Brewers Association has released its list of the top 50 breweries (by production, not quality or reputation of beer) for 2011. And once again, Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin is out with his annotated version of the list.

As usual, expansion and consolidation have resulted in changes to the list. Newcomers include Ninkasi Brewing (#44), Blue Point Brewing (#46), Bear Republic Brewing (#47), Lost Coast Brewery (#49), and Narragansett Brewing (#50).

Breweries dropping out of the Top 50 are the Straub Brewery; Independent Brewers United, which was merged into North American Breweries; Kona Brewing Company, which is now part of the Craft Brewers Alliance; and Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom, which were combined into CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants (#40).

The Friday Mash (Dance Fever Edition)

On this day in 1374, one of the first outbreaks of St. John’s Dance swept what is now Aachen, Germany. Victims experienced hallucinations and began to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapsed from exhaustion. Manic dancing is said to have killed thousands over the span of several centuries. Moral of the story? Avoid dancing. Drink beer instead.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in St. Petersburg, Russia, where Pete Brown arrived after sailing from England to Russia aboard a ship carrying imperial stout. Brown made the trip to rekindle interest in the style.

Paul O’Connor of the Winston-Salem Journal has good news for travelers. He discovered that the Great American Beer Desert–that vast area west of Asheville, North Carolina–is shrinking

Last August, Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Company flipped the switch ona 228-kilowatt photovoltaic system, which means that the Sun will produce 60 percent of the electricity for the brewery and pub.

Charles Kenny, writing in Foreign Policy magazine, offers a politically incorrect argument: “beer in particular, and the beer industry that surrounds it, may be as good for growth as excess sobriety.”

Martyn Cornell describes, in hilarious detail, the worst beers he’s ever tasted. As bonus picks, he adds a couple of American beers from the 1990s that, he says, were not just bad but stupid to boot.

Another reason to enjoy a beer at the ballpark: your beer cup might attract a foul ball. Hey, it happened to a gentleman at Fenway Park the other night.

Finally, a pop quiz.
Q. Where is the world’s largest pub?
A. Brisbane, Australia. The historic Eatons Hill Hotel has been upgraded (at the cost of A$30 million), and has a capacity of 7,500. The hotel also has 100 tap handles, so you’ll have no problem avoiding dancing.

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