Niagara College

What Did Beer Taste Like in 1832?

That was a question Canadian author Jordan St. John asked–and tried to answer–in a column on A great deal of speculation is needed because, as he points out, there weren’t any beer critics back then.

That said, St. John recreated a beer from the 19th-century diaries of a Toronto brewer named William Helliwell. The Niagara College Teaching Brewery provided the equipment for his experiment, and the beer was served to students not far from where the brewery once stood.

So what did it taste like? Glad you asked:

It was monstrous! At 9.1% alcohol, the aroma and body were different depths of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and booze. There was some slight intimation of marmalade from the hops and the smoke did put in a brief appearance mid-palate. Mostly though, it had an enormous round body and was suitable for slow sipping.

The Friday Mash (Boomer Sooner Edition)

At high noon on this day in 1889, the Oklahoma Land Run began, with thousands of would-be settlers racing to stake their claim to America’s best remaining unoccupied public land. Those who campaigned to open the land were referred to as “boomers,” while those who entered Oklahoma ahead of the official opening were called “sooners.” Both names came together in the title of the University of Oklahoma fight song.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where Niagara College has launched a program in brewmaster and brewery operations. Slackers beware: the curriculum includes chemistry, microbiology, and the mathematics of finance.

Yes, there’s an app for that. If you have an iPhone, you can download an app that locates places where Abita beer is sold. The beer is available in 46 states.

Your beer could stay fresh longer, thanks to scientists who’ve identified the chemicals that make stale beer taste bitter. They recommend adjusting the beer’s acidity when it’s produced, and always keeping it cool.

John Lee of the British newspaper The Independent toured the breweries of Portland. Not all 40, but enough of them to find out that not all Americans drink Bud, Miller, and Coors.

Claustrophobic drinkers will want to avoid the world’s smallest bars. One of them is The Rake, located inside London’s Borough Market. The publican there is Glyn Roberts, who also blogs at Rabid About Beer.

The Table Tender, a computerized beer dispensing system, allows customers to pour their own beer–up to a pre-determined limit, which does away with the need for a real person to cut off someone who’s had too much. We assume that a real person still has to check ID.

Finally, we have a winner! This year’s champion in the Washington Post’s Beer Madness competition is Exit 4 American Trippel from Flying Fish Brewing Company.

The Friday Mash (Huck Finn Edition)

On this day in 1885, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in the United States. In its 125-year run, the book has inspired films, stage productions, prequels, sequels, and numerous efforts to keep it off library shelves. In honor of this classic novel, we recommend that you spend some time this weekend with a good book as well as a good beer.

And now…The Mash!

We begin with Rogue Ales which, when it comes to supporting the troops, truly walks the walk. The brewery honors the Oregon National Guard by honoring returning units with custom-labeled bottles of beer.

Admit it. You’ve tried it. Peter Marcher, Jr., who developed the recipe for Colt .45 malt liquor while at the National Brewing Company, passed away at the age of 92.

Castle Rock Brewery, based in Nottingham, England, is brewing a special beer for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The beer will be called–you guessed it–Kiss Me Kate. Click on the link for BBC reporter Kylie Pentalow’s visit to Castle Rock.

Astoria, Oregon, is celebrating its bicentennial this year. That, and a local brewery’s brand-new facility, provided a great kickoff to a trip along Oregon’s North Coast Beer Trail.

Icewine beer is the latest offbeat style. The student brewers at Ontario’s Niagara College came up with it by adding frozen Cabernet Franc grape juice to a batch of wheat ale.

Craft beer has only a 5-percent market share in Wisconsin, but is gaining a national reputation, thanks in large part to New Glarus Brewing Company, whose production should top 100,000 barrels this year.

Finally, it’s only February, but Paul just ran across the beer blog name of the year: St. John’s Wort, by Ontario-based writer Jordan St. John.

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