New York State

The Friday Mash (Drop the Puck! Edition)

On this day in 1875, the first-ever organized indoor game of ice hockey was played in Montreal. It featured two nine-member teams whose lineups included local college students. Instead of a ball, which was customary in outdoor games, the players used the ancestor of the modern hockey puck.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where White Sox fans are rooting for their team to draft Clemson first baseman Seth Beer. Their campaign includes hashtags with excruciatingly bad puns on Beer’s name.

Uinta Brewing Company is packaging its Golden Ale—a beer meant to be enjoyed outdoors—in cans bearing images of our national parks. Yosemite National Park will be the first to appear on a can.

Budapest’s Mad Scientist Brewery has a deal for you. Adopt a dog from a local animal sanctuary, and the brewery will send you home with a case of its beer—even if your new best friend doesn’t drink.

Asbury Park Brewery’s logo is inspired by the city’s famous Convention Hall. And fittingly for “Springsteen Country”, all of its owners have a connection to the music business.

A New York State lawmaker wants to allow municipalities to establish “recreation zones”, within which it would be legal to carry open containers of alcohol sold by bars and restaurants.

Cathay Pacific Airlines has added something new to its beer menu: Betsy, a beer brewed to be enjoyed at 35,000 feet, where passengers’ senses of taste and smell are diminished.

Finally, according to Amy Sherman of, the funniest beer names from last weekend’s Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival were “Gnome Wrecker”, “Complete Nutter Madness”, and “Only Fools Russian”.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. brewery count at the end of 2016: 5,005.
  • Percent of U.S. breweries that produce less than 7,500 barrels per year: 92.
  • Percent of that produce less than 1,000 barrels per year: 75.
  • New York State’s brewery count: 326 (4th in the nation).
  • Its brewery count in 2003: 38.
  • Annual visitor count at American craft breweries: 10 million.
  • On-premises sales’ share of American craft beer production: 7 percent.
  • Number of session IPAs sold in American supermarkets in 2013: 21.
  • Number of session IPAs sold in American supermarkets in 2016: 106.
  • Craft beer segment’s growth rate in 2016: 8 percent.
  • Anheuser-Busch’s High End craft breweries’ growth rate in 2016: 32 percent.
  • Average wait by a brewery to obtain a federal brewer’s notice in September 2016: 166 days.
  • Average wait to obtain a brewer’s notice in September 2015: 129 days.
  • UK’s excise tax on a pint of beer: 52.2 pence (65 U.S. cents).
  • Germany’s excise tax on a pint of beer: 5 pence (6.4 U.S. cents).
  • 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.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Days until American Craft Beer Week opens: 11.
  • Facebook “likes” for American Craft Beer Week: more than 65,000.
  • Attendees at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Oregon: 11,500.
  • Exhibitors at this year’s CBC: 600.
  • Craft beer’s market share in Oregon retail stores: 36.7 percent.
  • Oregon-made craft beer’s share of the state’s beer market: 20 percent.
  • New York State’s brewery count in January 2015: 207.
  • Its brewery count in 2012: 95.
  • Craft brewing’s estimated economic impact on New York State: $3.5 billion.
  • Recommended maximum number of drinks per week for men in the U.S.: 21.
  • Recommended maximum for men in Australia: 35.
  • Beer Store outlets in Ontario: 466.
  • Ontario grocery stores that will be permitted to sell six-packs of beer: around 500.
  • Total production of Bell’s Pumpkin Peach Ale: 48 bomber bottles.
  • Cost of a bottle of Pumpkin Peach Ale: $20.
  • I (Heart) NY Hops

    New York State ranks seventh nationally in the number of craft breweries. The growth of that industry, along with the farm-to-table movement, has prompted some local farmers to start growing hops.

    During the late 19th century, New York was one of the world’s leading hop-growing regions. There were about 40,000 acres under cultivation, mostly in the area between Syracuse and Cooperstown. However, a mold epidemic, followed by Prohibition, all but killed commercial hop-growing in the region until a few years ago.

    Hop-growing won’t return to its heyday in New York. It’s an expensive and time-consuming proposition. Hops costs $12,000 to $16,000 per acre to get started, and it generally takes at least three years before a robust crop comes in. In addition, the land where hops are planted must have good sunlight, soil that isn’t too acidic, and good drainage.

    On Tap: NYC Brewing History

    On May 25, the New York City Historical Society will open an exhibit called Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History. Running through September 2, it will survey the social, economic, political, and technological history of beer in New York City from the 17th century to the present.

    The exhibit will explore such topics as the nutritional properties of colonial beer, and early New York brewers in the Revolution era; innovations in infrastructure, and the importance of access to clean water; large-scale brewing in 19th-century New York and the influence of immigration; the influence of temperance groups and the impact of Prohibition; bottling, canning, refrigeration, and other technological advances; and New York City’s breweries in the age of mass production.

    After all that education, museum-goers will need some liquid refreshment. The Historical Society is happy to oblige. The exhibit concludes with a small beer hall with a selection of favorite New York City and New York State craft brews.

    A Short History of Hops

    A recent Jay Brooks column in the San Jose Mercury News explored how the culture of hoppy beer evolved. He offers some fun facts about hops that you might not have known. For instance, the first hops in the New World were planted in Massachusetts and harvested in 1791. New York State’s one-flourishing hops industry was devastated by an attack of aphids. California was next to fall victim, thanks to Prohibition. And by the 1970s, only five common varieties were grown in the U.S. Today, that number is around 50–and that’s just the popular varieties.

    New York State’s Hops Trail

    Nowadays. most American hops are grown in the Pacific Northwest. However, that wasn’t always the case. A century and a half ago, New York State’s Mohawk Valley accounted for 80 percent of the nation’s hops production. Hops have largely disappeared from the region, but the Northeast Hop Alliance is hoping to bring them back, and is eyeing the craft beer industry as a market for the crop.

    Meanwhile, the Hops Trail has been created to celebrate New York State’s hops heritage. Your tourguide for the Trail is Hal Smith of Draft magazine. He’ll take you to hop houses and farms, historic estates, museums, a spa town, a landmark tavern, and, of course, breweries, The tour is roughly 100 miles long, running from Sharon Springs in the east to Bouckville in the west–with a detour in Cooperstown, which has a connection to beer as well as baseball–and then north to Oneida, the home of the annual Madison County Hop Fair. It’s a great ride, even for non-beer drinkers.

    The Friday Mash (Winter’s Tale Edition)

    It’s Friday. Grab a paddle. The Mash is over there.

    Troy Burtsch at Great Canadian Pubs and Beer tipped us off to two new Toronto-based beer blogs: Andrew Bartle’s Hops, Sticks and Junk and Chris Schryer’s Toronto Beer Blog.

    Hoosier Beer Geek has a lengthy interview with Stacey McGinnis of Tyranena Brewing Company, one of the out-of-state breweries invited to pour at tomorrow’s Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest.

    Here are the winners of the Chicago Beer Society’s Chicagoland Brewpub Shootout

    In Wednesday’s New York Times, Robert Simonson told New Yorkers where to get their growlers filled with fresh beer.

    Surely you’ve seen that Benjamin Franklin quote, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Erik, who blogs at Top Fermented, insists that wasn’t what Franklin said.

    Finally, Britain’s Boak and Bailey attended the National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester. They headed straight for the German rarities.

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