Michigan

New Laws to Aid Michigan Craft Breweries

Earlier this week, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed bipartisan legislation aimed at boosting Michigan’s craft-brewing industry. With around 150 breweries and brewpubs–and many more in the planning stages–the state ranks fifth in the nation.

The newly-signed legislation doubles the amount of beer microbrewers may produce, from 30,000 barrels per year to 60,000. It allows brewpub owners to now have interest in five other pubs, up from the previous two, so long as combined production does not exceed 18,000 barrels per year. Additionally, small microbreweries produce less than 1,000 barrels of beer per year will be able to self-distribute directly to retailers under certain conditions.

The Friday Mash (Ale and Pi Edition)

Today is Pi Day, an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant. It’s celebrated today because Americans write the date as 3/14; and “3″, “1″, and “4″ are the three most significant digits of pi in decimal form. Ludwig recommends a beer, preferably a Real Ale, to go with your pi.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Boston, where Jim Koch invited survivors of last year’s Marathon bombing to his brewery, which is again brewing a special “26.2″ ale to raise funds for those injured last year.

A company in Canada plans to brew a “recovery ale” for athletes. It’s called “Lean Machine”; and it has 77 calories, 0.5 percent alcohol, and contains nutrients, antioxidants, and electrolytes.

Jonas Bronck’s Beer Company has tapped into New York tradition with an egg cream stout. An egg cream contains milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer water–but no eggs.

A Wisconsin lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create a state Beer Commission. It has the backing of the state’s breweries.

Charlie Papazian, head of the Brewers Association, has decided to discontinue the Beer City USA competition because it has “served its purpose.” Grand Rapids won last year’s competition.

investor C. Dean Metropoulos, who bought Pabst Brewing Company four years ago, is reportedly considering a sale of the company, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

Finally, John Verive, a food writer for the Los Angeles Times, explains why the classic tulip glass is the only glass you’ll need. It’s versatile, supports the beer’s head, and holds in its aromas.

The Friday Mash (Bonfire of the Vanities Edition)

On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.

Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.

In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.

In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.

Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.

Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.

Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.

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 CraftBeer.com, 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 (Chili and Frosty Edition)

No, “chili and frosty” isn’t today’s weather report. Those were once the signature items of Wendy’s restaurants, the first of which opened on this day in 1969. Founder Dave Thomas named after it after his daughter Melinda Lou Thomas, known to her family as Wendy.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Germany, where an official of the national health system infuriated psychotherapists by suggesting that a bottle of beer might be more effective than a trip to the couch.

A store in Louisville sells hand-rolled cigars seasoned with Samuel Adams beer. They combine the beer’s sweetness and maple and vanilla flavors with a spicy flavor from the tobacco blend.

In many U.S. states, anti-drunk driving groups have put an end to drive-through beer stores, but they’re still common in Mexico. Some are operated by the Modelo brewery’s parent company.

Last week, the carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford was launched. Founders Brewing Company, located in Ford’s hometown of Grand Rapids, released a special ale to celebrate.

Next February, the University of Kentucky will host a one-day seminar on the importance of beer writing to the craft beer industry. Garrett Oliver is the headline speaker.

Alan Newman, the founder of the Magic Hat Brewing Company, has gone back to basics. His Just Beer Project is a brewery that focuses on traditional beers. His first offering is a session-strength IPA.

Finally, some gift ideas for the beer lover who has everything. Paste Magazine’s ten best items made out of beer cans include a Christmas tree, a corset, and a World War I biplane.

The Friday Mash (SNL Edition)

Thirty-eight years ago today, Saturday Night Live debuted. The host was George Carlin, and the guests included Andy Kaufman, Janis Ian, and Billy Preston. The show has aired more than 700 episodes, and many of its alumni have gained fame in film, in television, and as writers.

And now…the Mash!

We begin in Hudson, Wisconsin, which has become a popular beer-run destination for Twin Cities residents. The attraction? Beers that aren’t distributed in Minnesota.

Entrepreneurs have raised $100,000 on Kickstarter to manufacture beer-brewing robots. The Brewbot, controlled from an iPhone and compatible with a kegerator, will cost around $3,200.

All aboard! The Sacramento River Train, which runs between West Sacramento and Woodland, California, offers three-hour-long beer tours with beer from local breweries.

A bill in the Michigan legislature would require bars that advertise “pints” to serve 16 ounces of beer. Some bar owners fear that they’ll have to buy new glassware to comply with the law.

In Portland, Oregon, 12 bottles of “Dave” sold for $2,000 each at the Hair of the Dog Brewery. These rare bottle, which date back to 1999, are the world’s most expensive and, according to brewer Alan Sprints, have aged well.

Michal Bodzianowski, a sixth-grader from Colorado, will be the first person to experiment with brewing in space. His class has designed a beer-in-microgravity experiment for the International Space Station.

Finally, if you’re in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, look for The Beerliner. The 1974 refurbished bus, equipped with beer taps and a commercial kitchen, belongs to the North by Northwest brewpub in Austin, Texas.

A Dark and Dirty Job…

but someone had to do it. John Gonzalez, a travel and entertainment writer for MLive.com news site, spent much of this month visiting Michigan breweries. His travels took him to 38 of the state’s more than 130 breweries (and, in case you’re wondering, yes, he did have a designated driver).

Gonzalez, with the help of his colleagues from MLive.com, filed stories–complete with video–from the breweries they visited. If your beer travel itinerary includes Michigan, Ludwig highly recommends that you bookmark the site, gas up the car, and hit the road.

The Friday Mash (Dance Fever Edition)

On this day in 1834, French artist Edgar Degas was born. Degas was famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with dancers, who accounted for more than half of his works.

And now (cue up the dance music)….The Mash!

We begin in Oak Park, Michigan, where City Council legalized beer and wine sales by the drink. The city voted itself dry in 1945.

No, it’s not your imagination. Mosquitoes love to attack beer drinkers Just one beer could make you more attractive to those pesky insects.

The way the Chicago Cubs are playing, their fans need a few cold ones. Fortunately, there’s an army of beer vendors to serve them. Wrigley Field ranks first in the major leagues for beer sales.

Now that Hogwarts graduates are old enough to drink something stronger than butterbeer, Foodbeast.com has come up with Harry Potter beers they wish were real.

According to the Washington Post, the nation’s capital is becoming a craft beer Mecca. One reason: D.C.’s liquor laws allow bars to buy directly from the brewery.

Comic-Con is underway in San Diego, and Stone Brewing Company has teamed up with actor, author and homebrewer Wil Wheaton to make a pecan-laced imperial stout for the event.

Finally, Redhook Ale Brewery and a Seattle-area micro are celebrating Washington State’s legalization of marijuana with Joint Effort Hemp Ale. Its tap handle looks like a giant yellow bong.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Czech Republic’s world ranking in per capita beer consumption: 1st.
  • Its world ranking in per capita consumption of all alcohol: 2nd (behind Moldova).
  • Total votes cast this year for “Beer City USA”: Exactly 50,000.
  • Percent of votes cast for Grand Rapids, Michigan: 54.
  • Percent of votes cast by residents of Michigan: 58.3.
  • Value of U.S. craft beer exports in 2012: $49.1 million.
  • Percent increase over 2011: 72.
  • Size of Britain’s brewing industry: £16.5 billion ($24.8 billion).
  • Number of breweries in Britain: over 1,000.
  • Microbreweries’ share of the British beer market: 1.6 percent.
  • Estimated combined value of the Budweiser and Bud Light brands: $20.3 billion.
  • Increase in those brands’ value over last year: 28 percent.
  • Price increase of a “sub-premium” beer since last year: 6.8 percent.
  • Price increase of a Pabst Blue Ribbon since last year: 11.5 percent.
  • Average cost of a PBR at a bar: $2.67.
  • Grand Rapids, Asheville Defend “Beer City” Title

    As you probably recall, last year’s voting for “Beer City USA” wound up a tie between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Asheville, North Carolina. This year, Grand Rapids is trying to win the title outright, and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau has gotten into the get-out-the-vote act. Asheville isn’t sitting on its laurels, either. It recently staged a special Beer City music video, complete with an elaborate dance sequence.

    By the way, voting is now underway for Beer City USA. The polls close Friday night.

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