Rogue Ales

The Friday Mash (”Happy Birthday, Internet” Edition)

On this day in 1969, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Society issued their first Request for Comments. The publication of RFC-1 is considered the Internet’s unofficial birthday.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Newport, Oregon, the home of Rogue Ales and its famous 40-foot-tall red silo. Opinions differ as how the silo got there, but everyone agrees that the town fathers thought it was an eyesore.

In Kentucky, you can enjoy local craft beer or bourbon at most of the state’s resort parks. The state plans to offer adult beverages in all state parks which have restaurants and where alcohol is legal.

Michelob Ultra sales have risen by 27 percent over three years. Jeff Alworth puts the brand’s success in context: light beer still dominates the market, and Michelob Ultra is considered trendy.

Yes, it’s possible to grow hops in Brazil. Grower Rodrigo Veraldi has been experimenting with the plants, and one of his varieties thrives in the hot, rainy climate near Sao Paolo.

Bad news for Baltimoreans: National Bohemian is no longer available at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. “Natty Boh” enjoyed a brief reprieve last season, but fell off the menu after the first homestand.

IBU is an important quality-control number for brewers, but it’s not very helpful for beer drinkers. Malt content has a big effect on perceived bitterness, and the average drinker can’t perceive IBUs beyond the 100-120 range.

Finally, the University of North Dakota’s “Beer Grandma” has passed away. Beth Delano, who has attended UND men’s hockey games since 1947, became famous when the scoreboard video caught her quaffing a beer during a break in the action.

The Friday Mash (Peanuts Edition)

Sixty-five years ago today, the Peanuts comic strip, written and illustrated by Charles Schulz, was first published. Peanuts became one of the most popular and influential comic strips in history.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Philadelphia, the final stop of Pope Francis’s American visit. Local writer Don Russell, aka “Joe Sixpack,” takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the history of papal influence on brewing.

Israel now has 32 craft breweries. One of them, located in the hills of Galilee, uses chickpeas and dates in its recipe for a gluten-free beer.

Eastern Michigan University can’t win for losing. It latest effort to draw fans for its struggling football team—beer sales—resulted in a $3,000 loss. And yes, EMU lost the game.

After “some extensive field research,” Brent Nunn of the Dallas Observer has compiled a list of ten dumb things light beer drinkers say about craft beer.

Samuel Adams announced that it will introduce a series of nitro-conditioned beers early next year. The first three nitro offerings will be a white ale, an IPA, and a coffee stout.

Two Belgian scientists are making lager beers more diverse by cross-breeding yeasts. The new strains not only ferment more quickly than commercial strains, but are delicious as well.

Finally, blame global warming for pumpkin beers showing up on shelves before Labor Day. For example, persistently hot weather forced Rogue Ales to harvest its pumpkins weeks earlier than last year.

The Friday Mash (Coke No Pepsi Edition)

On this day in 1886, pharmacist John Pemberton first sold a carbonated beverage named “Coca-Cola” as a patent medicine. Pemberton, a wounded Confederate veteran who became addicted to morphine, developed the beverage as a non-opium alternative.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Rochester, New York, where North American Breweries is putting Genesee beer, Genesee Cream Ale, and Genesee Ice in retro bottles. The packaging hearkens back to the 1960s, the heyday of the “Genny” brand.

Sad news from North Carolina. Dustin Canestorp, a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps, has closed his Beer Army Combat Brewery. He blames state franchise laws that effectively tie a brewery to a distributor for life.

Executives of the nation’s big breweries are getting worried about the amount of discounting going on. The beers you’re most likely to find on sale include Bud Light, Budweiser, and Shock Top.

Craft beer has been susceptible to “the next big thing” mentality. According to Allen Park of Paste magazine, trends that “have more than overstayed their welcome” include waxing bottles, session IPAs, and adjuncts.

Craft brewers are scrambling to comply with a little-known provision of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” which requires breweries and restaurants to disclose nutritional information, including the caloric content of their beers.

City officials aim to make Toronto the world’s craft beer capital. Measures include creating a craft brewery culinary trail and lowering regulatory barriers to brewery start-ups.

Finally, a growing number of craft breweries are making their recipes available to the public. Some, such as Russian River Brewing Company and Rogue Ales, are working with supply shops to develop kits for homebrewed versions of their beers.

The Friday Mash (Dating Game Edition)

Seventy-five years ago today, Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14, a radioactive isotope. It’s the basis of the radio-carbon dating method that determines an object’s age. However, bartenders still have to use ID cards to determine the age of their customers.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Barlioche, a Patagonian resort town that has become the craft beer capital of the Andes. It’s home to 15 breweries, which join forces for a beer festival in December.

Last weekend, more than 100 people played whiffle ball in the snow in a Milwaukee-area park. Leinenkugel Brewing Company hosted the tournament to promote its Summer Shandy.

Experts aren’t sure why this happens, but recipients spend more on beer when food stamps are distributed on the weekend—even though the stamps can’t be used to buy beer.

The Brew Kettle, a Cleveland-area brewery, is rolling out an ale for Cavaliers basketball fans. “All For One” session IPA will be available at the brewery and at Cavs’ home games.

Hellboy, the character created by comic-book artist Mike Mignola, turned 21, and Rogue Ales celebrated his big birthday by releasing Hand of Doom Red Ale. It sold out in a hurry.

This month’s “Session” asked beer bloggers the question “Festivals: Geek Gathering or Beer Dissemination?” Joan Villar-i-Martí, who blogs from Barcelona, has rounded up the best responses.

Finally, thousands of whiskey barrels have found their way to craft breweries. Now, Heavy Seas Brewing Company has returned the favor, sending its brewhouse tanks to a distillery.

Is Terroir Coming to Beer?

Wine lovers are familiar with the word terroir, which roughly translates into “expression of a sense of place.” The main ingredient in wine is, of course, grapes, and most good wines are made with grapes from a particular region. But is that possible with beer? There are breweries in all 50 states, but most hops are grown in the Northwest and most barley is grown on the Great Plains.

Erika Szymanski, a science writer at Palate Press, contends that terroir is possible in beer. For example, she found that a Guinness served in a bar in Rochester, New York, tasted different from one served in County Clare in Ireland. Same recipe, slightly different ingredients. Szymanski says that a brewery doesn’t have to stick to ingredients grown in its backyard–though Rogue Ales does a marvelous job in that department–so long as the ingredients give its beer what she calls “sensory characteristics that uniquely identify a beverage’s origins.”

Szymanski goes on to say that beer today is like wine was in the 17th century. In time, she believes, breweries and beer drinkers will draw greater distinctions among grains, just as today’s wine community distinguishes among grapes. It’s even possible that 200 years from now, beer drinkers “will be comparing exquisite estate-bottled Hefeweizen from neighboring wheat fields.”

Trademark Law 101

Shannon Sadowski, an attorney from Massachusetts, recently wrote about the finer points of beer trademark law in She writes, “Having a creative name for your brewery isn’t enough anymore–each brew now has its own name, and each brewery has gone to great lengths to meld recognizable features of a beer with a pun or a back story that will get consumers interested and motivated to spend that extra dollar….This is what good branding is all about, and why its value is extremely high in the industry right now.”

But there’s a downside: the emphasis on branding raises the possibility of trademark disputes. Sadowski cites several examples:

  • Steelhead Brewing Company slapped Freetail Brewing Company with a cease-and-desist order over “Hopasaurus Rex.” Freetail contended that it used the phrase to describe a beer-making process, while Steelhead used it to name a beer.
  • Ska Brewing and DuClaw Brewing went to court over the beer name “Euphoria.” DuClaw applied for a trademark for the name, then filed suit against Ska for infringement. Unfortunately for DuClaw, Ska had its version of Euphoria on the market first and was able to prove it in court.
  • Rogue Ales, which not only brews beer but operates several public houses, came down hard on Rogue 24, a Washington-based restaurant. The brewery even demanded that the restaurant hand over its domain name. Ouch!
  • The Friday Mash (Thriller Edition)

    Thirty years ago today, Epic Records released Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the biggest-selling album in history. It was a pioneer in using music videos as a promotional tool, and seven singles from the album reached Billboard’s top ten. If you’re thinking, “hey, wrong Michael Jackson!”, you’re our kind of blog reader.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district, where Christian Moerlein beer will be brewed in a 19th-century brewery building. Before Prohibition, Christian Moerlein was Ohio’s largest-selling brand.

    Ry Beville’s love of craft beer has developed into an occupation. Beville, a native of Virginia, publishes Japan’s only bilingual craft beer magazine, the Japan Beer Times.

    John Hall is stepping down as CEO of Goose Island Beer Company, along with COO and founding member Tony Bowker. The Chicago-based brewery will continue to brew Goose Island’s “Vintage Series.”

    Deb Carey, the president of New Glarus Brewing Company, was invited to the White House to discuss small business-related issues. She traded beer with the president: two bottles of her Serendipity ale for three bottles of White House Honey Ale.

    Can you get a couple of sixers in Iraq? Yes, provided you find a shopkeeper who sells it “under the counter”…and leave the store before attracting attention.

    Rogue Ales is rolling out a “novel” beer: White Whale Ale, made with a few pages from a copy of Moby Dick. The beer, an IPA, honors Portland, Oregon, bookseller Michael Powell.

    Finally, tomorrow is Zwanze Day. Thirty-six select locations around the world–16 in the U.S.–will be pouring Cantillon Zwanze, a rhubarb lambic.

    Going Rogue

    The anniversary issue of Beer Connoisseur contains a profile of John Maier, the brewer at Rogue Ales. Lisa Morrison, who wrote the story, calls Maier one of brewing’s patriarchs, and goes on to explain why. Maier got into homebrewing in the early 1980s, and discovered that he was quite good at it. Good enough to be offered a job at Alaskan Brewing, where he and owner Geoff Larson created Alaskan Smoked Porter. Maier came to Oregon after Rogue’s owner needed a brewer for his new second location in Newport. He’s been there ever since.

    What makes this story so wonderful is the amount of brewing history Morrison packs into the story. Read it and learn the origin of Dead Guy Ale, what were Rogue’s three original beers, and why the brewery moved from Ashland to Newport.

    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.

    Jolly Old St. Nick

    According to Jay Brooks, Saint Nicholas belongs on the long list of patron saints of the brewing industries. He’s also the patron of more than 100 other walks of life, including bakers, shoemakers, firefighters, lovers, and sailors. St. Nick, of course, became modern-day Santa Claus, and that brings us back to beer. Brewers, especially those in America, are reluctant to put Santa on the label: even if government regulators don’t object, anti-alcohol groups will raise–pun intended–the dickens. Predictably, one exception is Rogue Ales, which brews a “Santa’s Private Reserve.”

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