Beer Museums: A Tale of Three Cities

A group of aficionados in Pittsburgh are planning to open a beer and brewing museum, which they hope to be the beery equivalent of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The first phase of Brew: Museum of Beer is to open late next year; and eventually, the complex will have a Beer Hall of Fame and a 300-seat brewpub.

In Chicago, some of the biggest names in that city’s beer scene are behind an effort to build a Brewseum. The attraction will start out as a mobile exhibit housed in an RV, and will be open next year. Ninety miles to the north, efforts are underway to build a Museum of Beer & Brewing.

There’s no assurance that any of these projects will come to fruition. However, a museum currently exists. It is the National Brewery Museum, a joint venture between the Potosi Foundation and the American Breweriana Association, in Potosi, Wisconsin.

The Friday Mash (Autumnal Equinox Edition)

Just after 5:00 this morning, Eastern time, the autumnal equinox took place; and you probably missed it. Ludwig is willing to forgive you for being such a sleepyhead, but on one condition: that you have a seasonal beer this evening. Being German American, he recommends an Oktoberfest.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Melanie Gravdal gave her townhouse extra curb appeal by offering $1,000 in beer at the bar across the street to the person who buys it.

In the Pittsburgh area, two breweries are trying to revive Fort Pitt Beer. Problem is, there’s only one trademark and both breweries claim it.

Did you miss Zwanze Day? If so, add it to your 2012 calendar. That’s the day a special lambic from Cantillon gets released at 21 sites world-wide, ten of them in the U.S.

Some experts think declining beer consumption is aggravating Europe’s economic woes. When people drink less, bars and restaurants let workers go.

Goodbye to all that. Britain’s Good Food Guide has banned the word “gastropub”, which it finds unpalatable in these tough economic times.

In Seattle, the Redhook Ale Brewery celebrated its 30th birthday in style with an 80s concert starring Tom-Tom Club, The Psychedelic Furs, and Devo.

Finally, “Joe Sixpack,” who calls Philadelphia America’s best beer-drinking city, also thinks his hometown’s bratwurst can’t be beat. Especially, Ludwig adds, during football season.

The Friday Mash (Winchester Cathedral Edition)

On this day in 1093, England’s Winchester Cathedral was dedicated. Today, the cathedral is best known as Jane Austen’s burial place. You might also remember it from the New Vaudeville Band’s 1966 song “Winchester Cathedral.” If so, you need to pour yourself a beer. A big one. Immediately.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in New Zealand, where anti-alcohol groups are up in arms over a local brewery’s new “breakfast beer”. Imagine their reaction to Founders Breakfast Stout, which not only checks in at 8.3% ABV but also has a baby on the bottle label.

At long last, New York City’s Eataly is about to open. Kelly Snowden of Food and Wine magazine gives us a preview of Eataly’s beer garden.

A New York-based private equity firm that acquired Iron City Beer plans to revive the flagging brand in its hometown of Pittsburgh. The firm also plans to revive Olde Frothingslosh and J.J. Wainwright’s.

Thirsty Swagman, an Australian tour operator, is offering beer travel in space. Space on the sub-orbital flight with a maximum altitude of about 60 miles is going for $95,000 U.S. (beer included). Travelers shouldn’t worry about the calories because the trip will include five minutes of weightlessness.

Carlsberg moved its brewing operations out of downtown Copenhagen, but there’s a microbrewery at the old brewery site. Adrian Tierney-Jones tasted its beers at a dinner held in an art museum made possible by Carlsberg’s founding family.

It’s the end of the line for Anheuser-Busch’s 13.5-mile-long “beer railroad,” which it had operated since 1887. The railroad racked up a $700,000 loss last year, and is even deeper in the red this year.

Finally, if you’re a homebrewer with money to burn, the $1,900 Synergy Home Beer Brewing System is on the market. It’ll let you mash your own hops and barley, sparge the wort and then let it ferment. And the high mash tun will let you siphon the wort by gravity. But you’ll still have to drink the beer yourself.

Ghosts in the Steel City

Lew Bryson, who’s touring the Keystone State for a fourth edition of Pennsylvania Breweries, laments the closing of two Pittsburgh breweries, Iron City Brewing Company and Penn Brewing. Both brands are contract-brewed elsewhere in the state, but Lew is worried that Penn might disappear.

Update #1 from Lew (11/23/09): Penn Brewing owner Tom Pastorius and a group of investors have finalized a deal to buy the brewery, which means that brewing may return to the Steel City and the restaurant may reopen.

Update #2 (11/24/09): Lew now says that the local papers are now reporting that Penn Brewery could be open again in January. Our fingers (and Ludwig’s paws) are crossed.

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