North Korea

The Friday Mash (Night at the Opera Edition)

Fifty years ago today, the Metropolitan Opera House opened at Lincoln Square in Manhattan. The opening-night performance was the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber.

And now…The Mash!

We begin on ESPN College GameDay, where Sam Crowder held up a sign last Saturday asking Vemmo users to send him beer money. Within hours, more than 2,000 people contributed.

BBC correspondent Stephen Evans hopped a flight to make a beer run…all the way to Beijing. His Chinese friends had made a trip to the border to acquire “forbidden” Taedonggang beer, which is brewed in North Korea.

Here’s a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had. It’s a beer mug that won’t block your view of the TV when you’re drinking.

Pork roll aka Taylor ham, a New Jersey breakfast favorite, is now a beer ingredient. Flying Fish Brewing Company has released Exit 7 Pork Roll Porter as part of its “Exit Series”.

Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing has rolled out a beer honoring the stereotypical “Florida Man”. The label for this beer, a double IPA, depicts a man wrestling an alligator—and winning.

Beer is more expensive than ever at NFL stadiums, but there’s one consolation: you can now buy craft beer from breweries that Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors recently acquired.

Finally, Nebraska liquor regulators have banned homebrewers from beer festivals. Because homebrewers aren’t licensed, there’s no assurance that they meet health and sanitation standards.

The Friday Mash (”Old Ironsides” Edition)

On this day in 1812, American frigate USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia. That victory earned her the nickname “Old Ironsides”; and an Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.’s 1830 poem of that name saved her from being decommissioned.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Bosnia, where an online post about homebrewing has, in just five years, grown into a flourishing craft-brewing industry—in a country where fruit brandy, not beer, has been the national beverage.

Pyongyang, North Korea, is playing host to its first-ever beer festival. It was organized to promote Pyongyang-brewed Taedonggang beer, which is named after the Taedong River.

Twenty years after the last shakeout in the craft beer sector, writer Lew Bryson sees another one coming. The good news is that the industry will rebound, and emerge stronger than ever.

The Australian spreads Vegemite and Marmite are made from brewer’s yeast extract. Native Australians are using them to make homebrewed beer in towns where prohibition is in effect.

Stone Brewing Company plans to open a beer-centric hotel across the street from its brewery in southern California. It will offer rare beer tappings along with room-service growlers.

Bob Beamon, whose Olympic long-jump record set in Mexico City still stands, offered a free beer to any athlete who broke his record at the Rio Olympics. No one came close.

Finally, MLS Soccer magazine has the rundown on where beer is sold at pro soccer matches. Germany is one of the beer-friendliest countries; you can drink in the stands at a Bundesliga match.

The Friday Mash (Roller Coaster Edition)

On this day in 1989, the Cedar Point amusement park opened Magnum XL-200, the first 200-plus-foot-tall roller coaster. Tomorrow, the park will unveil its 17th coaster: Valravn, the tallest, longest, and fastest of its kind in the world.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in eastern Quebec, where convenience stores were mobbed by New Brunswick residents after a court struck down that province’s law against bringing liquor across the border. Beer is almost twice as expensive in N.B. than in Quebec.

In Wisconsin, three fishing buddies pulled up a six-pack of Budweiser cans that, according to Anheuser-Busch, are more than 60 years old. Unfortunately, the cans were empty.

First “beard beer”, now this. Australia’s 7 Cent Brewery is using yeast from brewers’ belly-button lint to brew a special beer for an upcoming festival.

British regulators take short pints seriously. So seriously that they brought a pub owner before the local magistrate for serving a pint that was six teaspoons less than a full pint.

Broadway actors Mark Aldrich and Jimmy Ludwig are launching a series of beers based on Broadway shows. Their first is “Rise Up Rye”, inspired by the hit musical Hamilton. Rye was the mainstay grain of colonial American brewers.

On June 2, the Asheville Tourists baseball team will take the field as the “Beer City Tourists”. It’s the team’s way of honoring the city’s brewing community—and taking part in Asheville Beer Week.

Finally, Taedonggang beer, from North Korea’s state-owned brewery, has turned up in stores in some Chinese cities. It’s high-quality beer, but its price—a 22-ouncer costs the equivalent of more than $3 U.S.—is too high for the average Chinese consumer.

The Friday Mash (Social Security Edition)

Today is the 80th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of the Social Security Act. More than 50 million Americans, most of whom are retirees, receive Social Security benefits. That number will grow as members of the Baby Boom generation reach retirement age.

And now (can I see some ID, please?)….The Mash! 

We begin in North Korea, whose government is looking for foreign investors for a brewery in Wosnan. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, wants to turn the port city into a tourist attraction.

Jim Koch, the CEO of Boston Beer Company, blames high U.S. corporate taxes for acquisitions that have left foreign firms in control of 90 percent of America’s brewing industry.

The oldest known receipt for beer is a more than 4,000-year-old Sumerian tablet in which a scribe acknowledges receiving approximately 4-1/2 liters of Alulu the brewer’s “best beer.”

At New Belgium Brewing Company, Kim Jordan is turning over her CEO duties to another woman, Christine Perich, the chief operating officer. Jordan will head the brewery’s board of directors.

The Los Angeles Times’s John Verive decodes seven words—clean, dry, phenolic, creamy, hot, soft, and light—that are often found in reviews of craft beers.

White Bull beer, a symbol of South Sudan’s independence, is on the endangered list. Armed conflict has left White Bull’s brewer short on foreign currency it needs to import fuel and materials.

Finally, “Biscuit,” who works at the Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis sneaked “Tom Brady Sux” next to the “born-on” date on 20,000 cans of Wee Mac Scottish Ale. His future work will have to be approved by his higher-ups.

The Friday Mash (Pygmalion Edition)

On this day in 1856, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was born. Shaw was also a journalist, a co-founder of the London School of Economics, and the only person awarded both the Nobel Prize for Literature and an Academy Award, the latter for the film version of his play Pygmalion.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Oxford, Mississippi, which may finally legalize the sale of cold beer. That could end a time-honored tradition: road trips to neighboring counties for a cold six-pack.

Speaking of cold beer, concession stands at Dodger Stadium are selling beer topped with ice-cold foam, which keeps the drink cold for half an hour.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is crying in his beer after his request for a Paulaner biergarten was turned down by the brewery.

The Monte Carlo, a casino on the Las Vegas Strip, sells $95 bottles of beer. The beer is La Trappe Isid’or, a pale ale created by Dutch monks in 2009 to celebrate their abbey’s 125th anniversary.

This year’s trend is session IPAs. Founders Brewing Company, best known for high-gravity stouts, announced that All Day IPA (4.5% ABV) has become its biggest seller.

Consumer alert: Big banks are jacking up the price of your six-pack by manipulating aluminum prices. How they do it is bizarre, and apparently legal.

Finally, Tim Marchman of marks the passing of actor Dennis Farina by recalling a funny Old Style commercial in which Farina went to his local bar to drive off out-of-towners.

Kim Jong-Ale?

North Korea is known primarily for saber-rattling, concentration camps, and a line of dictators named Kim. But the country has a surprisingly large range of beers and a thriving microbrewery culture.

It was beer that lured Josh Thomas, an American who lives in Hong Kong and works in the advertising industry, to North Korea. He found that North Korea’s citizens love beer as much as we do, and that they’ve been able to brew a quality product in spite of embargoes and supply shortages. Ales and steam beers are common because electricity is in short supply, making it impossible to provide the refrigeration that lager beers need. Much of North Korea’s beer is microbrewed because fuel scarcity and the lack of paved roads make it difficult to ship beer. The best beer Thomas had during his stay was a wheat beer at the Paradise Microbrewery, whose equipment “would rival any US microbrewery.”

Thomas has some advice for would-be beer travelers to North Korea: Don’t go there unless you have a deep understanding of the country’s culture and are prepared to digest big portions of Communist dogma with your brew.

The Friday Mash (The Untouchables Edition)

Today is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Eliot Ness, whose Prohibition agents in Chicago were so honest they were called “The Untouchables.” Even though Ness fell upon hard times later in life, he and his men have been immortalized in American popular culture.

And now…The Mash!

We begin at the Masters Golf Tournament, where Tiger Woods not only got penalized two strokes for an illegal ball drop, but also landed a tee shot in a fan’s beer. Fortunately, beers are only $4 at Augusta National.

The “Craft Beer Destination” concession stand at Yankee Stadium has been given a new name after writer Amanda Rykoff reported that all of its offerings were MillerCoors products.

No, it wasn’t your imagination. You were attracted to beer because its aroma and taste trigger your brain’s reward system and keep you coming back for more.

Jason Gardenhire has opened a microbrewery in Mexico, and is importing the beer to his home state of Colorado. Baja Brewing Company, based in Cabo San Lucas, is one of only a dozen or so Mexican micros.

A canning line costs more than $150,000, but craft breweries that don’t have that kind of money can hire a mobile canning line created by two west Michigan entrepreneurs.

Harry Kim and his friends tried to build a brewery in North Korea. Even though there was plenty of demand, the venture never got the final go-ahead from bureaucrats in Pyongyang.

Finally, California Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro has introduced legislation that would allow refilling another brewery’s growlers. The refilling brewery would have to place a sticker over the old brewery’s logo.

The Friday Mash (Land of Enchantment Edition)

Today marks the 100th anniversary of New Mexico’s admission to the Union. You’ve got to love a state whose official vegetables are chiles and frijoles; and whose official state question is “red or green?”, referring to whether one prefers a dish made with red or green chiles.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in North Korea, whose late dictator Kim Jung-Il also happened to be a king of beer. Twelve years ago, he bought his famine-stricken country a brewery formerly owned by a British company.

Ohio Breweries is Stackpole Books‘ latest edition of state brewery guides. The author is Rick Armon who, when he’s not visiting breweries or writing for the Akron Beacon-Journal, maintains an Ohio beer blog.

According to the Washington Post’s Greg Kitsock, the nation’s capital is about to have more breweries than any time since 1916, when Congress voted the city dry.

Sensing plenty of cold, dark weather ahead of him, Chicago-based author and lecturer Randy Mosher turns his attention to winter warmers.

The British pub chain JD Wetherspoons is serving a special “Veto Ale” to commemorate Prime Minister David Cameron’s rejection of a proposed European Union treaty. The ale is made entirely from British ingredients.

Philadelphia, which modestly calls itself “the best beer drinking city in America,” will soon have a huge downtown beer hall which will fill three stories and offer 85 beers on tap.

Finally, congratulations to Nicole Erny, who recently became the first-ever female Master Cicerone and only the fourth person ever to attain that distinction.

The Friday Mash (London Fire Edition)

On this day in 1666, the Great Fire of London broke out at a bakery in Pudding Lane. It destroyed most Londoners’ homes, 87 parish churches, St. Pauls Cathedral, and an untold number of pubs. Fortunately, London was rebuilt after the fire–pubs and all.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the home of Dan Kiplinger, the brewmaster at Olde Peninsula Brewpub. Dan drank his own beer out of the Stanley Cup. On two different occasions.

The Wall Street Journal asked Hayley Jensen, a New York City beer sommelier, for help with pairing beer and food

Baseball season isn’t over yet, and The Bleacher Report recommends the best beer at the ballpark for all 30 major league teams.

Two pro basketball players–Pau Gasol and his brother, Marc–are making the best of the NBA lockout by appearing in a beer commercial in their native Spain.

Beer was on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il’s mind during his trip to Russia. He wants to build a Korean brewery in the Russian Far East.

If you have a few hundred thousand airline miles lying around, you might want to book a flight and try some beers you can’t get in the U.S..

Finally, microbrews aren’t an American phenomenon anymore. Jonathan Knott of the Guardian has his list of Britain’s ten best craft beer bars.

The Friday Mash (Mike Royko Edition)

Fourteen years ago today, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mike Royko died of a brain aneurysm. Royko, who grew up in Chicago, began his career covering that city’s colorful politicians. He was also fond of the Cubs, 16-inch softball, and having a few beers at the Billy Goat Tavern.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Tacoma, Washington, where a bar has stopped holding goldfish races after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals complained that drunken customers impaled swallowed the fish.

France’s Interior Ministry has banned riot police from drinking alcohol with their meal. Other government employees can still have beer, wine, or cider with their lunch.

In Fort Collins, Colorado, nine local brewers joined forces and created a beer to celebrate American Craft Beer with. The beer, which will debut May 16, will check in at about 6 percent ABV

John Miller of the Wall Street Journal wasn’t impressed with the non-alcoholic version of Hoegaarden, describing it as “akin to a watered-down lemon Fanta.” Ouch.

Don’t expect to find Taedonggang beer from Pyongyang, North Korea, on the tap list at your friendly local. Earlier this month, President Obama issued an executive order that further restricts the entry of North Korean goods into the United States.

Attention ladies! Ashley Rouston, the Beer Wench, has compiled a list (with photos) of the 20 most eligible bachelors of craft beer. Topping the list was Noah Regnery, the head brewer at Pizza Port Brewing Company.

Finally, if you’ve been invited to tomorrow’s royal wedding, don’t expect to find beer at the reception. The royal family has deemed it inappropriate for such a prestigious occasion. We can only imagine what Slats Grobnik, the character created by Mike Royko, would say about that.

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