The Friday Mash (Epiphany Edition)

Today, Christians celebrate The Feast of the Epiphany. In Louisiana, this means Carnival season is underway. The local tradition is to bake King Cakes; and the person who finds the doll in his or her slice must bake the next cake.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in France, where the Benedictine monks at the 1,367-year-old Abbey of Saint-Wandrille are back in the business of brewing. They’re the country’s only producers of truly monastic beer.

In an interview with Paste magazine, 21st Amendment Brewery’s Nico Freccia talked about the fine art of naming beers, and how the brewery’s odd names has become mainstream.

When Tim Kliegl turned 65, he celebrated in unusual fashion—namely, by running a mile, and trying a new beer, every day for an entire year. And he’s got the notes to prove it.

Staffers at Amazon.com’s Christmas party in Dublin were treated to a special beer from local micro Metalman Brewing. Grainne Walsh, Metalman’s founder, once worked as an engineer at Amazon.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended lowering the DUI threshold to .05 percent, and a Utah lawmaker wants his state to be first. The current threshold in all states is .08.

Rick Astley, whose song “Never Gonna Give You Up” was part of a popular Internet prank, plans to “roll” out a beer. The lager, which will be brewed by Mikkeller, has yet to be named.

Finally, the The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company will celebrate its 150th anniversary by joining forces with the famous Hofbräu München. The amber-colored, Marzen-style will be introduced in April.

Meet The Bjergso Brothers

Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine ran an article titled A Fight is Brewing, by Jonah Weiner. It is about Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso and Mikkel Borg Bjergso, who are identical twins who both entered the brewing business–and who can’t stand each other’s company.

The name Mikkel might sound familiar. That is because he’s the founder of Mikkeller, the brewery named after him. It’s called a “phantom brewery” because it contracts out 100 percent of its production. The business model allows him to turn out a wide variety of beers–well over 100 last year–and to be creative in his selection of ingredients. Jeppe, too, owns a phantom brewery. It’s based in Brooklyn, and you might already have guessed its name: Evil Twin. One of Evil Twin’s beers is called Bozo, a not-too-subtle dig at super-high-gravity beers made by people like his brother.

But the brothers’ feud isn’t the main focus of the article. Weiner followed the brothers on their brewery travels in both the U.S. and the Continent. The highlight was Brouwerij Boon, where Weiner and Mikkel met owner Frank Boon, the man credited with saving the lambic style.

The Friday Mash (High Finance Edition)

On this day in 1782, the Bank of the United States opened for business. It was the nation’s first central bank and one of the original companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. So if you’re at a bar, pay for your next pint with a $10 bill. It bears the picture of Alexander Hamilton, who persuaded Congress to create the bank.

And now…The Mash!

We begin with the best New Year’s resolution we’ve seen. Mike Battaglia of Ypsilanti, Michigan, promised “to drink more beer and better beer and support the local breweries.”

Farewell, Brickskeller, hello Bier Baron. The famous Washington, D.C., beer bar reopened last week with a new name and owner. Coming soon: a new beer menu; higher-quality food, with an emphasis on house-made items.

A fan of the football team Borussia Dortmund was awarded free beer for a year by a Dortmund hotel bar after he managed to plant a Dortmund flag atop the stadium of arch-rival Schalke 04.

Science builds a better mousetrap beer stein. The Steins of Science use the latest technology to keep your beer cold longer. They’ll also empty your wallet: list price is $340.

Eric Asimov of the New York Times assembled a tasting panel to sample an assortment of dunkels. Gösser Dark earned top honors, with Lakefront Eastside Dark in second place.

British beer drinkers may soon have an alternative to the pint, which was mandated by an act of Parliament in 1698. One possibility is the schooner, which holds about two-thirds of a pint.

Finally, James Laber of MadeMan.com has compiled a list of the world’s strangest beers. The strangest of them all? It’s Beer Geek Brunch, by Denmark’s Mikkeller, which contains the droppings of civets.

The Friday Mash

Our weekly feature: all the news that’s fit to blog!

The Beer Blog interviewed Mike Pellegrino, the author of Jersey Brew, The Story of Beer in New Jersey. We had to lead off with this story: Maryanne and Paul are the authors of Michigan Breweries and they both grew up in the Garden State.

After a six-year run, Jeff at Stonch’s Beer Blog has called time on his blogging. That’s the bad news. The good news is that The Gunmakers, the Clerkenwell (London EC1) pub he fell in love with and eventually bought, is very much alive and well.

Mikkeller, which The Danish Beer Enthusiasts elected that country’s best brewery in 2008, likes to “seek and explore new limits.” Not satisfied with brewing Denmark’s most potent beer, the brewery is in the process of brewing a beer with the theoretical IBU at 1,000. We can’t wait to read the reviews of this one.

Finally, CNNGo.com reports on an emerging beer culture in Shanghai. Several intrepid craft brewers are already doing business, and last month the Brewers Association sent over a delegation to spread the word about American craft beer.

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