Petaluma

The Friday Mash (Orient Express Edition)

On this day in 1883, the first regularly-scheduled Orient Express, a long-distance luxury train, left Paris for Vienna. The Orient Express’s route and rolling stock changed many times over its lifetime, but the train has become synonymous with luxury, intrigue, and a famous fictional murder.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Pennsylvania, where Jonathan Cooper has developed “Thinking & Drinking,” a card game that encourages players to explore local breweries through conversation-starting questions.

Inventor Staton Lorenz has developed the “Growler Collar,” a plastic device that screws onto the top of growlers and lifts them off the counter to allow for proper air circulation and drying.

In the May 28 New York Times, Dr. Daniela Lamas describes how she and a medical student offered comfort to a terminally-ill cancer patient in the form of a cold bottle of Guinness.

The fantasy-league craze has extended to craft beer. Tyler Moss of Paste magazine describes his league, in which team owners submit beers from their roster for a competitive tasting.

In California, Lagunitas Brewing Company’s popularity has municipal officials struggling to handle traffic. Lagunitas will spend $30 million to up production and make its headquarters easier to visit.

Entourage star Adrian Grenier has launched his own brand of beer, the Churchkey Can Company. Why “Churchkey?” Customers have to use a traditional can opener to open the retro-design cans.

Finally, Soweto, in South Africa, is best known for apartheid and poverty. It’s also the home of uBuntu Kraal (”Togetherness Ranch”), South Africa’s only majority black-owned brewery, whose Soweto Gold is aimed at the emerging black middle class.

The Friday Mash (King Ludwig Edition)

On this day in 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria passed away. Please join our beer-drinking lion in a moment of silence for the “Mad King” who, among other things, commissioned the fantastic Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the area’s leading tourist attractions.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Petaluma, California, where Lagunitas Brewing Company held its annual Beer Circus. Some guests wore top hats and “ironic facial hair,” while others dressed as figures from popular culture.

Just in time for Father’s Day: Criquet, a clothing company, has designed a shirt with a reinforced lining that prevents you from destroying it while using the shirttail to twist a beer bottle open.

Twenty years ago, Lauren Clark quit her desk job to work for a brewery. She then gravitated to writing, and recently published Crafty Bastards, a history of beer in New England.

Gustav Holst’s The Planets inspired Bell’s Brewing to create a seven-ale series, each of which named for one of the planets in Holst’s suite. The first Planet beer will be released in August.

St. Louis, which is celebrating its 250th birthday, has 30 craft breweries–and yes, the Budweiser brewery, too. USA Today’s Wendy Pramick has a beer lover’s guide to the city.

Brock Bristow, a South Carolina attorney, might wind up in the Lobbyists’ Hall of Fame. He persuaded lawmakers to pass the brewery-friendly “Stone Bill”.

Finally, Jeopardy! for beer geeks. Three female beer bloggers host a monthly trivia night at a bar in Brooklyn. Games consist of four rounds: brewing, history, popular culture, and the “hipster trifecta.”

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