Los Angeles

The Friday Mash (James Dean Edition)

Sixty-one years ago today, James Dean was killed in a traffic crash in California. He was 24 years old. Dean became the first actor to earn posthumous Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, for playing Cal Trask in East of Eden and Jett Rink in Giant.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Denver, where Brent Doeden aka “Captain Earthman” suffers from inoperable brain cancer. Doeden, who’s been vending beer at Colorado Rockies baseball games since the franchise’s inception, is a cult figure at Coors Field.

Wil Fulton of Thrillist.com makes the case for why flip cup is a better drinking game than beer pong. One advantage: it’s easier to cheat, which—like in Monopoly—is an integral part of the game.

The Michelada is one of Mexico’s popular new drinks. It consists of beer, lime juice, spices, sauces, and other ingredients in a salt-lined glass. It has some similarity to a margarita.

To combat “flagship fatigue”, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will release three new ales next year: Sidecar Orange Pale Ale, Tropical Torpedo, and Golden IPA.

Los Angeles has light rail transportation, and you can spend a day pub-crawling along the Red Line, which runs from Union Station to North Hollywood.

Candidates aren’t the only ones running negative ads this fall. Miller Lite responded to a Bud Light spot with this slogan: “Bud Light says raise one to right now so why not raise the right one?”

Finally, ultra-runner Karl Meltzer set a new record for running the length of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail: 44.9 days, 22 hours 38 minutes. His routine on the AT included ending the day with a couple of brews. Meltzer celebrated the end of his trek with a pepperoni pizza and—you guessed it—a beer.

Why Golden Road Agreed to Be Acquired

Last fall, when Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing, critics of the deal characterized Golden Road as a “built to sell” operation. They pointed out that for a new brewery, it was unusually big, both in production and distribution area.

Tony Yanow, one of Golden Road’s founding partners, says the “built to sell” rumors are untrue. He contends that being acquired wasn’t discussed until after A-B made an offer, which was too good to turn around. A-B gave the brewery “a really good valuation”, and promised to keep its employees on the payroll with opportunities for advancement.

The fast-changing craft beer industry was another reason to agree to the deal. Yanow said, “In a world where the amount of shelf space is not growing, but the number of breweries is growing so quickly, it’s a fight to get your beer [into major retailers],” He added that the challenges will grow as the industry consolidates and the big players strengthen their grip on distribution networks and retail accounts.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Pabst Blue Ribbon’s sales increase from 2008 to 2009: 20.3 percent.
  • PBR’s sales increase from 2013 to 2014: 3.8 percent.
  • Percent of craft beers released in 2013 that were “high ABV” (above 6.5): 25.
  • Percent of craft beers released in 2001 that were high ABV: 7.
  • Square feet added to the Colorado Convention Center for this year’s Great American Beer Festival: 90,000.
  • Expected attendance at this year’s GABF: 60,000.
  • Breweries expected to pour at this year’s GABF: More than 800.
  • Breweries taking part in this weekend’s Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival: 103.
  • Beers these brewers will pour: 923.
  • Total production of Statewide Pale Ale, a beer benefitting the New York State Brewers Association: 100 barrels.
  • Breweries collaborating in making Statewide Pale Ale: 10.
  • Breweries currently operating in Los Angeles: More than 50.
  • Breweries operating in Los Angeles in 2011: 15.
  • Size of Mexico’s beer market, in U.S. dollars: 20 billion.
  • Craft beer’s share of that market: 1 percent.
  • The Friday Mash (DNA Edition)

    On this day in 1953, Francis Crick and James D. Watson published a paper in the British journal Nature that described the double helix structure of DNA. The ability to sequence and manipulate DNA is a key to the biotechnology industry, and modern medicine in general.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in the Willamette Valley, where the nation’s first hop and brewing archive was recently at Oregon State University. The valley, on the 45th parallel, has ideal hop-growing conditions.

    Jay Brooks dusted off a 1947 issue of Look magazine, in which writer Don Wharton asks readers “What Kind of Drinker Are You?”. He describes 11 categories, and most of us fall into at least one.

    Brewing carries a “white men with beards” stereotype, but Los Angeles is home to a growing Latino brewing community. LA Weekly profiles several craft cerveza breweries in the area.

    Summer is coming, and that means session IPAs. The trend started last year with Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA, and other breweries have jumped in with their own versions.

    And when those hot days of summer arrive, you might want one of these: The Beer Glass Froster by from Hammacher Schlemmer, which will frost your glass in ten seconds.

    Flying Dog Ales is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Old Bay seasoning with a spicy summer ale called Dead Rise. It’s named after the boats used by Chesapeake Bay crabbers.

    Finally, Martyn Cornell, the Zythophile, asks whether micropubs–establishments with Real Ale and no electronic distractions–are a passing fad or the future of British watering holes.

    100 Best Beer Bars

    Already? Draft magazine is out with its annual list of America’s 100 best beer bars. Seventeen establishments are new to this year’s list. Four of the newcomers are in San Diego County, which continues to solidify its position in the top tier of American beer cities; and three cities with very different beer cultures–Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles–each have two establishments making their first appearance in the Top 100.

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