Philadelphia

The Friday Mash (MSG Edition)

On this day in 1908, the Japanese food company Ajinomoto—“The Essence of Taste”–was founded. Ajinmoto’s founder, chemist Kikunae Ikeda, discovered that a key ingredient in kombu soup stock was monosodium glutamate, for which he was given the patent.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Marshall, Michigan, where microbrewery owner Aaron Morse and his family have landed a reality-show gig. They’ll appear on The History Channel’s “Dark Horse Nation.”

Tin Man Brewing of Terre Haute has released Klingon Warnog. This officially-licensed beer follows the Prime Directive: “to unite both Star Trek and Craft Beer fans.”

Dogfish Head Artisan Ales is the most famous brewery in the Delmarva Peninsula, but it now has plenty of company, and that’s good news for local beer drinkers.

A new California law will allow students younger than 21 to sample alcohol as part of their beer and wine studies. Oregon and Washington have passed similar laws.

The Jurassic Park of beer? Probably not, but Jason Osborne of Paleo Quest and microbiologist Jasper Akerboom of the Lost Rhino Brewing Company are working with a 45-million-year-old yeast strain found in a fly entrapped in fossilized amber.

Philadelphians are upset at state legislators who want to close a loophole which allows pop-up beer gardens to operate without having to shell out six figures for a liquor license.

Finally, Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, says we’re not in a craft beer bubble. The nation’s 3,000 breweries is well below the saturation level; and besides, factors such as the variety and quality of local beer determine whether a market is saturated.

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The Friday Mash (Vast Wasteland Edition)

Forty-three years ago today, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton Minow delivered his famous “Vast Wasteland” speech in which he decried “totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in the Shaab Valley in Jordan, where Yazan Karadsheh has launched his country’s first microbrewery. The brewery is called Carakale, after an indigenous mountain cat.

A mobile beer garden is coming to Milwaukee County’s parks this summer. The tables, glassware, and of course, the beer, will be provided by Sprecher Brewing Company.

In Portland, Oregon, Fred Eckhardt’s many friends celebrated his 88th birthday last weekend with two dozen big special beers from breweries from throughout the region.

PYT, a burger joint in Philadelphia, is now serving a burger topped with a Pabst Blue Ribbon-filled wonton. It’s designed to explode hot beer in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, so many new breweries have opened in recent months that the city can make a good argument that it’s now Canada’s craft beer capital.

Chicago’s DryHop Brewers has collaborated with the Lincoln Park Zoo to brew “I’m Not a Raccoon”, a red saison that checks in at 6% ABV. Proceeds will be donated to the Red Panda Wish List Fund.

Finally, beer writer John Holl went to the Bud Light Hotel in Las Vegas, which was “designed to be the ultimate fusion of sports and music.” Holl was amazed at Bud Light fans’ brand loyalty.

The Friday Mash (Genuine Bell Edition)

On this day in 1876, Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for an invention he called the telephone. Ironically, Bell considered the phone a distraction from his real work as a scientist and refused to have one in his study.

And now…a busy signal!

We begin in Philadelphia, where a beer garden will open across from the Liberty Bell. Philly has other good “hop spots,” and USA Today’s Marla Cimini will show you around.

Almost 600 types of barley seeds have been added to the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway. This ups the chances that survivors will be able to enjoy a post-apocalyptic beer.

In India, architecture students from Bangalore and Spain used thousands of beer bottles to construct a classroom. The bottles eliminate the need for artificial light inside.

Stone Brewing Company plans to open a second brewery in the eastern U.S., and it appears that Greensboro has been found worthy as a site to brew Arrogant Bastard and other ales.

A London-based start-up company has a remedy for job stress. Desk Beer offers Friday deliveries of local craft beer–provided, of course, the boss approves.

If you plan on some beer hunting, Lindsey Grossman of Paste magazine suggests eight beer-related apps for your phone. They include a “fairly addictive” game called Micro Caps.

Finally, after being served three ales he couldn’t stand, Johnny Sharp unleashed a rant titled “Am I The Only Man in Britain Who Hates Craft Beer? You may find his writing an “acquired taste.”

The Friday Mash (Leaves of Grass Edition)

On this day in 1819, Walt Whitman was born on Long Island. He is best known for his epic poem, Leaves of Grass, which he published with his own money in 1855. Whitman, who had strong political views, originally supported the temperance movement, but came to enjoy wine and Champagne later in life. Too bad craft beer hadn’t been invented yet.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Germany, where brewers are worried that extracting natural gas by “fracking” threatens the purity of the water they use to make beer.

This summer, Rachel Dean of Cincinnati will be offering guided tours of her hometown’s microbreweries. Her tours will also include tasting and sensory education.

Philly Beer Week kicks off this evening, and SeriousEats.com has ten places to drink beer in the City of Brotherly Love.

After two years of delays, the 1990s boy band Hanson finally has its own beer. It’s called–what else?–Mmmhops, and it makes a cameo appearance in the film Hangover 3.

Fat Head’s Brewery, which has gained national acclaim, will build a brewpub in Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District. It will sell local micro products as well as its own beers.

A clever German, who apparently had a lot of time on his hands, has invented a device that can open 24 beer bottles at once.

Finally, ESPN’s DJ Gallo has a remedy for the less-than-hygenic conditions found in ballparks: drink beer, which might contain enough alcohol to kill those nasty bacilli.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Days until Philly Beer Week opens: 17.
  • Number of events at this year’s Philly Beer Week: over 600.
  • Estimated number of Beer Weeks worldwide: over 100.
  • Beer’s share of total spending on alcoholic drinks: 47.7 percent.
  • Wine’s share of total spending: 39.7 percent.
  • Average cost of a beer at major league ballparks: $6.09 (down 1 cent from 2012).
  • Average cost of a beer at National Basketball Association arenas: $7.08.
  • Breweries within the Portland, Oregon, city limits: 52.
  • Breweries in the Portland metropolitan area: 69.
  • Breweries in all of Oregon: 124 (4th in the nation).
  • Federal beer tax on the first 60,000 barrels of annual production: $7 per barrel.
  • Federal beer tax on each barrel above 60,000: $18.
  • Years since the last beer tax increase: 22.
  • Price of one share of Boston Beer Company stock (ticker symbol SAM): $146.48.
  • Closing price of SAM on March 11, 2009: $18.33.
  • Joe Queenan Rips Craft Beer. Hilarity Ensues.

    Author Joe Queenan, whose stock in trade is an irreverant sense of humor, stirred up a hornets’ nest by poking fun at craft beer in the Wall Street Journal. Queenan led off by declaring that beer wasn’t viewed as a suitable topic for conversation but was “simply an ingenious device one used to get hammered.” He also sang the praises of his friend Jack Calvey, a feisty World War II veteran: “My friend Jack orders a Bud Light, and then another Bud Light, and then another Bud Light. He won’t even go as far as out on the limb as a Samuel Adams.”

    It didn’t take long for the beer blogosphere to fire back. Bay Area columnist Jay Brooks declared that Queenan’s column “packs in more idiotic commentary per column inch than I’ve seen in a long time.” After noting that Queenan’s hometown of Philadelphia has become a craft beer Mecca–a development Queenan isn’t thrilled about–Brooks goes on to say, “Ignorance is indeed bliss, and by your own admission you must be the most blissful man in America.” Ouch.

    Prohibition Exhibit at the National Constitution Center

    If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you’ve read Daniel Okrent’s Last Call and watched Ken Burns’s documentary, Prohibition. If you enjoyed them, Ludwig insists that you consider a trip to Philadelphia.

    Beginning October 19, the National Constitution Center will present an exhibition titled American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. The exhibition, which will be curated by Okrent, is described as the first comprehensive exhibition about Prohibition. It will trace the “Great Experiment” from the dawn of the temperance movement in the early 19th century to the ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933.

    American Spirits will run through April 28, 2013, after which it will go on a three-year nationwide tour.

    The Friday Mash (Scotland the Brave Edition)

    Today is Tartan Day, which marks the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath, confirming Scotland’s independence, was signed in 1320. Tartan Day celebrations include Scottish-themed events such as pipe band parades, Highland dancing, and perhaps a wee dram of Scottish ale.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Bend, Oregon, which has 81,000 people, nine breweries, and the Brew Cycle which takes folks to the town’s “hop spots.” Or, if you prefer, you can take a walking tour.

    The Toronto Globe and Mail’s Crystal Luxmore has noticed a trend: couples are making craft beer part of their nuptials. The brew is not only a break from hifalutin traditions, but it pairs with a wider range of dishes.

    Beer geekery meets science geekery on the Periodic Table of Beer Styles. Where on the table is your favorite style?

    Texas A&M University’s long list of traditions includes “ring dunking.” The official way to christen an A&M senior ring is to dunk it in a 60 ounce mug of beer, then chug all of its contents. Except the ring, of course.

    James Bond, who added “shaken, not stirred” to the Movie Quotes Hall of Fame, is switching to Heineken beer. Daniel Craig, who plays 007 in the latest film in the series, will star in a Heineken ad to appear this fall.

    Has Italy made it into craft brewing’s big leagues? Alla Spina, a new restaurant in Philadelphia, thinks so, adding hard-to-find Italian craft beers to its rustic Italian-style bar menu.

    Finally, Japan’s Kirin Brewery has invented Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft. It’s frozen beer foam (23 degrees Fahrenheit) which acts as a lid for your beer and will keep it cold for half an hour.

    The Friday Mash (Bitter Cold Edition)

    On this day in 1947, the coldest-ever temperature in North America–81 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit–was recorded in Snag, a village in Canada’s Yukon. That kind of cold creates serious problems, but keeping beer cold isn’t one of them.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Leominster, England, where Andre Marsh claims to own the world’s smallest off-license. It measures only 11 square meters (397 square feet).

    If you’re going to New Orleans, here’s some good news: it’s okay to carry canned beer at Carnival. Abita Brewing will release its version next Monday, just in time for the parades.

    The Boston Beer Company is rolling out a new seasonal, Alpine Spring. Sam Adams Noble Pils, last year’s spring seasonal, is being promoted to the year-round lineup.

    Ginger Johnson, the owner of Women Enjoying Beer, has some advice for breweries: “Make the assumption that all women like flavor, and dash the notion that there’s beer for women.”

    Hoping to avoid rush-hour chaos during this summer’s Olympic games, London officials are asking commuters to have an after-work beer before heading home.

    As New Belgium Brewing Company hones in on a sites for its Eastern brewery, Lew Bryson makes the case for Philadelphia.

    Finally, Pete and Debbie Gibson, pub landlords in Royton, England, had their establishment shut down New Year’s Eve by the Samuel Smith brewery. Their offense? Selling pints that were too full of beer.

    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.

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