Some Politics With Your Beer?

Portland, Oregon-based Jeff Alworth started his blogging career on a site devoted to ending Republican Party dominance in his state. However, Alworth realized that people needed a respite from the ugly, polarized politics of our time, so he started blogging about beer. As he puts it, “politics divide, beer unites.”

With the election of Donald Trump as president, Alworth fears that political divisions will find their way into beer bars and breweries will feel compelled to take sides. He warns that beer and politics have become entwined in the past. For example, the Sons of Liberty planned the Boston Tea Party in a tavern, and Adolf Hitler led an unsuccessful revolt from a Munich beer hall.

As for present-day America, Alworth writes:

I don’t know where we’re headed. I really don’t want to sacrifice the world of beer and the physical spaces of pubs as refuges of camaraderie and community. But we have entered a moment when it seems like everything has political valence. It is certainly conceivable that we’ll have to take sides as beery folk. I’d love this to be my last post on politics on this site for the next four years—and still hope it will be. We’ll see.

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.

Beer, Hospitals and No “Double Jeopardy”

Candida Moss, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, reminds us of Christianity’s role in bringing us beer. Catholic monks didn’t invent beer or create beer culture, but out of necessity they brewed superb ales—including Westvletern 12, which has been rated the world’s best. Centuries ago, St. Benedict instructed monks to be good hosts, and to support themselves from the fruit of their labor. Brewing beer was a way to comply with both. Originally the monks made beer as a way to avoid contracting dangerous water-borne illnesses. But in the 17th century, the Paulaner monks of Bavaria starting brewing beer especially for consumption during the Lenten fast, when eating was prohibited. The monks’ tradition lives on in the form of Starkbierzeit, Munich’s Lenten festival.

Moss adds that Christianity deserves credit for the concept of the hospital as an independent institution. Here again, the monks get credit; they started caring for the sick at their monasteries; and in Egypt, they make the health care available to monks available to all. In addition, Moss traces the Anglo-American legal concept of “double jeopardy” to the Church. In the 12th century, King Henry II of England tried to pass a law allowing his courts to try members of the clergy who had already been tried in ecclesiastical courts. Thomas a Becket, who was later made a saint, argued that there could be only one judgment for the same act. Henry took exception, and his knights murdered Becket. Afterward, the pope not only condemned Henry but also his effort to inflict double punishment on the clergy.

The Friday Mash (Neptune Edition)

One hundred and seventy years ago today, astronomers Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, John Couch Adams and Johann Gottfried Galle collaborated on the discovery of Neptune. Now that Pluto has been demoted, Neptune is the most distant planet in our solar system.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Jacksonville, Florida, where an over-eager liquor control officer charged a 17-year-old girl with the crime of underage possession of alcohol. Her offense? Moving a cup of beer on a beer pong table at a Jaguars tailgate party.

Terrorist attacks in Europe have forced Oktoberfest organizers to beef up security this year, and many would-be attendees are avoiding the celebration out of fear of an attack in Munich.

Rutgers University ended its school-sponsored football tailgate parties after athletics director Pat Hobbs was seen chugging a beer onstage. Drinking on the job is a no-no at RU.

The new season of Shark Tank begins tonight. Leading off are the inventors of Fizzics, an in-home tap that re-creates the mouthfeel and aroma of freshly-poured draft beer.

Long Island’s Blue Point Brewery is serving up history in the form of Colonial Ale. It was made using a recipe written by George Washington in a military journal in 1757.

Are you seeing less pumpkin beer on the shelves this fall? It’s because breweries overproduced it last year and demand for the style fell off. Unseasonably warm weather also hurt sales.

Finally, scientists have figured out why the foam on top keeps your beer from sloshing. The answer is “capillary action”, the same phenomenon that enables paper towel to soak up spilled milk and plants to suck up water from their roots.

The Friday Mash (High-Flying Edition)

On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, beginning the first-ever solo trans-Atlantic flight. Five years later, Amelia Earhart became the first female aviator to accomplish that feat.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in the halls of justice, where Flying Dog Ales will fund a “First Amendment Society” with the settlement money the state of Michigan paid it. The courts ruled that Michigan violated Flying Dog’s constitutional rights by denying it permission to market Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA.

The Brooklyn Brewery has signed a long-term lease under which it will build a beer garden, brewing facility, and restaurant on the site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard..

A Munich court ordered the Hofbraukeller beer hall to honor its contract to host an event hosted by a far-right political party. In 1919, Adolf Hitler delivered his first-ever political speech at the Hofbraukeller.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, soon to be the new home of the Atlanta Falcons, will have the cheapest beer in the National Football League: $5. It will also offer $3 hot dogs and $2 Coca-Colas.

Some of the biggest names in Chicago’s beer community have joined an effort to raise funds to build the Chicago Brewseum. It will serve beer made on-premises by guest brewers.

Former major-leaguer Brandon Laird, now playing for Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, won himself a year’s supply of beer after hitting a home run off the Kirin Brewery sign at the Tokyo Dome.

Finally, the Saugatuck Brewing Company wasted no time poking fun at Anheuser-Busch’s rebranding of Budweiser as “America”. Its parody beer, “‘Murica”, is brewed in a style America’s founders might describe as “Freedom,” and the process is naturally overseen by 1,776 bald eagles.

Beer….By the Numbers

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev’s latest offer to buy SABMiller: $108.2 billion.
  • Increase over A-B InBev’s initial offer: 14 percent.
  • Attendance at this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich: 5.9 million (down from 6.3 million last year).
  • Beer consumption at this year’s Oktoberfest: 7.3 million liters (down from 7.7 million last year).
  • Stolen beer mugs confiscated by Oktoberfest security: 110,000 (down from 112,000 last year).
  • Beer-to-gold ratio in 1990 (60-year peak): 227 ounces of beer = 1 ounce of gold.
  • Beer-to-gold ratio in 1970 (60-year low): 48 ounces of beer = 1 ounce of gold.
  • Increase in craft lager beer sales this year over 2014: 123 percent.
  • Increase in craft sour beer sales this year over 2014: 60 percent.
  • Craft beer’s sales growth in 2014: 17.6 percent.
  • The entire beer industry’s sales growth in 2014: 0.5 percent.
  • Settlement amount approved by the court in the Beck’s Beer deceptive-packaging litigation: $20 million.
  • Estimated number of households eligible for compensation in that litigation: 1.7 million.
  • Ohio’s current ABV cap on beer: 12 percent.
  • Its ABV cap on beer before 2002: 6 percent.
  • Beer….By the Numbers

  • Number of Oktoberfests held in Munich (including this year’s): 182.
  • Times since 1810 that Oktoberfest was canceled: 24 (reasons include war, hyperinflation, and cholera epidemics).
  • Cost of a one-liter beer at this year’s Oktoberfest: €10 ($11.34).
  • Increase in the price of beer over 2014: 3 percent.
  • Cost of a pint of ale in the UK’s cheapest university town: £2.10 ($3.20), in Durham.
  • Cost of a pint in the UK’s most-expensive university town: £5.25 ($7.90), in Surrey.
  • Bushels of American barley used to brew beer in 2014: 177 million.
  • Brewing’s share of America’s barley crop in 2014: 75.
  • Stadium with the National Football League’s cheapest beer: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, 36 cents an ounce.
  • Stadium with the NFL’s most expensive beer: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, 71 cents an ounce.
  • Average per-ounce price of beer in NFL stadiums: 46 cents an ounce.
  • Number of Ontario supermarkets that will sell beer under new provincial legislation: 450 (out of 1,500).
  • Daily sales quota for Ontario supermarkets selling beer: 279 six-packs.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev and SAB Miller’s combined share of the U.S. beer market: 70 percent.
  • A-B and SAB’s combined revenue from the U.S. beer market: $250 million a year.
  • Beer…By the Numbers

  • Bangkok’s brewery count in 2014: 20.
  • Its brewery count in 2013: 4.
  • West Virginia’s craft brewery count: 7.
  • Craft brewing’s impact on West Virginia’s economy: $118 million (46th in the nation).
  • Arrests at Oktoberfest 2014: 720 (39 fewer than at Oktoberfest 2013).
  • Lost objects at Oktoberfest 2014: 3,346 (including 2 wedding rings, a mobile cat carrier, and a German Federal Cross of Merit 2nd-class medal).
  • Founders Brewing Company’s production in 2014: 190,000 barrels.
  • Founders’ projected capacity after expansion is completed: 900,000 barrels.
  • Alcoholic content of All Day IPA, Founders’ largest-selling beer: 4.7 percent by volume.
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company’s production in 2014: almost 600,000 barrels.
  • Increase in Lagunitas’ production over the year before: 60 percent (it opened a second brewery in Chicago).
  • Dos Equis’ sales in 2013: 1.57 million barrels.
  • Increase in Dos Equis’ sales between 2008 and 2013: 116.6 percent (number-one in the nation in sales growth).
  • Most expensive beer in the National Basketball Association: 60 cents an ounce (Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland).
  • Cheapest beer in the NBA: 33 cents an ounce (Chesapeake Arena, Oklahoma City, and Phillips Arena, Atlanta).
  • Beer…By the Numbers

  • Breweries operating in the United States as of June 30: 3,040.
  • Breweries in planning in the U.S. as of June 30: 1,929.
  • Workers employed by American craft breweries: 110,273.
  • Cost of one (legal) marijuana joint in Washington State: $2.71.
  • Cost of one bottle of Bud Light in Washington State: $0.90.
  • Most overpriced beer in the National Football League: $8.50 (53 cents an ounce) at Ford Field, Detroit.
  • Average cost of a bottle of beer at a Detroit-area grocery store: 98 cents (8.2 cents an ounce).
  • Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) colleges that sell beer in on-campus stadiums: 21.
  • Publicly-owned stadiums that sell beer at FBS games: 11.
  • U.S. craft-beer exports in 2009: 46,000 barrels.
  • U.S. craft-beer exports in 2013: 282,500 barrels (about $73 million worth).
  • Number of beer tents at this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich: 14.
  • Capacity of the Schottenhamel beer tent, Oktoberfest’s largest: 10,000.
  • Nepal’s annual beer sales: 84 million bottles.
  • Number of breweries in Nepal: 6.
  • Images from Oktoberfest

    Oktoberfest, the world’s largest and most famous beer festival, kicked off yesterday with the traditional pageantry. Here’s a slideshow from Munich, courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

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