The Friday Mash (Hair Edition)

On this day in 1968, the musical Hair opened on Broadway. Notable songs from the “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” include “Aquarius”, “Easy to Be Hard”, and “Good Morning Starshine”.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a mechanic named Andrey Eremeev persuaded the beer store in his apartment building to let him run a pipeline from a keg in the store’s refrigerator to one of the taps of his kitchen sink.

Theater Cedar Rapids has added beer to its improv comedy classes. According to its education director, beer helps relieve inhibitions that can kill a performer’s creativity.

In Hastings, Nebraska, temperance advocates picketed the Do the Brew beer festival. The protesters, dressed in period garb, were actors promoting the upcoming Nebraska Chautauqua fest.

Israel’s Herzl Brewery made a beer that people might have enjoyed when Jesus was alive. It tasted a bit like honey and berries, but it was flat and cloudier than what we drink today.

Six years ago, Greg Avola and Tim Mather launched Untappd. The app now has more than 3.2 million users, and is so successful that both men quit their jobs to manage Untapped full time.

Frances Stroh has written a book about the Detroit-based brewery’s rise to national prominence in the late 1800s and its downfall amid consolidation and the city’s economic demise.

Finally, Utah liquor regulators may revoke a Salt Lake City movie theater’s liquor license for showing the R-rated film Deadpool. State law forbids a licensed establishment to show nudity. Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds donated $5,000 to the theater’s legal defense fund.

The Friday Mash (Baseball History Edition)

On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record for most career home runs; and on this day in 1975, Frank Robinson became the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball history.

And now…Play Ball!

We begin in Russia, which is shedding its image as a country of hard drinkers. Younger Russians are developing a taste for craft beer, and an estimated 1,000 breweries have sprung up nationwide.

George Randall, the owner of several liquor stores in the St. Louis area, drives a real attention-getter: a car in the shape of a giant can of Old Milwaukee Light. He bought it for $2,000 on eBay.

Two Wichita men found a use for a gutted old food truck they bought. They installed ten beer taps, hooked them up to refrigerated kegs of local craft beer, and roam the city with a “drink truck”.

Anheuser-Busch InBev faces another consumer lawsuit. It alleges that A-B falsely claims Leffe beer is brewed in a Belgian monastery; it’s produced at the Stella Artois facility in Leuven.

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra is trying to broaden the audience for classical music by offering “Beers and Beethoven”. The price of admission includes samples of Connecticut-brewed beer.

Get ready for a superhero comic book about Three Floyds Brewing Company’s Alpha King Pale Ale. The hero brews a beer so good it attracts the attention of a monster-king and his minions.

Finally, Tom Dalldorf, the editor of Celebrator Beer News, speculates that American beer may go the way of wine: demand for the mass-produced “jug wine” fell, as customers gravitated to higher-quality products from smaller producers. There are some 10,000 wineries in the U.S.

The Friday Mash (Boxing Day Edition)

Today is Boxing Day in Great Britain, Canada, much of the Commonwealth, and several countries in continental Europe. The origins of the name are unclear, but one thing is for certain: most people living in those countries get the day off from work. Cheers, everyone!

And now….The Mash!

Fittingly we begin in Canada, where Gerald Comeau is challenging the constitutionality of laws limiting how much alcohol one may bring across provincial lines. Comeau’s legal team thinks he has a good chance of winning.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has approved home delivery of beer by food retailers. The maximum deliverable quantity is 192 ounces, and the beer must be paid for with a credit card while ordering.

Russia’s economic woes could be bad news for beer drinkers. In an effort to keep bread affordable at home, President Vladimir Putin has slapped a tax on exports of barley and other grains.

Jennifer Wiley, a University of Illinois scientist, has found that a person with a BAC near .08 reaches a creative peak because he or she is less able to over-think during a task. A new Danish beer aims to help drinkers reach that intellectual sweet spot.

Dos Equis is America’s fastest-growing beer brand, thanks to ads featuring “the most interesting man in the world.” On the other hand, #2 brand Modelo Especial does very little advertising in English.

Zane Lamprey, the host of National Geographic’s TV show “Chug”, has developed a “drinking jacket”. It has a “beer koozie” breast pocket, a zipper that doubles as a bottle opener, and slip-resistant drinking gloves. And it comes in four colors.

Finally, Modern Farmer magazine answers your burning questions about beer-drinking donkeys. Heading the list: can donkeys get drunk? Answer: Yes*, but because they weigh more than 200 pounds, they require more than the average human.

* Ludwig would like to state for the record that he drinks responsibly.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. brewery count at the end of last year: 3,999 (948 more than a year earlier).
  • California’s brewery count (number one in the nation) at the end of last year: 508 (145 more than a year earlier).
  • Mississippi’s brewery count (someone has to be last) at the end of last year: 6 (3 more than a year earlier).
  • Bottles of Deal With the Devil produced by Alaska Brewing Company: 1,000.
  • Bottles allocated to Alaska retailers: 336.
  • Deal With the Devil’s alcoholic content: 17.6 percent.
  • Signature Copper Lager’s alcoholic strength: 5.7 percent ABV.
  • Busch Signature Copper Lager’s alcoholic strength: 5.7 percent ABV.
  • States where Busch Signature Copper Lager is being test-marketed: 12.
  • Germany’s annual per capita beer consumption today: 28 gallons.
  • Its annual per capita consumption in 1978: 40 gallons (43 percent higher).
  • Hours an American minimum-wage employee has to work to afford a beer: 0.4.
  • Hours a Russian minimum-wage employee has to work: 1.6.
  • Hours a minimum-wage employee in the Republic of Georgia has to work: 15.1.
  • Calories from alcohol in a typical 12-ounce serving of beer: 100 (alcohol has 7 calories per gram).
  • Calories from carbohydrates in a typical 12-ounce serving of beer: 50.

The Friday Mash (”States You Never Heard Of” Edition)

On this day in 1784, delegates from eight counties in what was then western North Carolina voted to secede from the state and form the independent Republic of Franklin. The tiny republic, which was denied statehood by Congress, lasted only four years.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in St. Martin, Austria, where the Hofstetten brewery has resurrected a beer brewed in the town’s castle in 1720. The beer contains emmer as well as barley and wheat.

Big brewers are having second thoughts about Russia, whose beer market has gone flat thanks to high taxes, a ban on late-night and kiosk sales, and other restrictions.

If you couldn’t get a ticket to this year’s Great American Beer Festival–it sold out in just 20 minutes–the Denver Post has a calendar of other beer events in town around festival time.

Here’s a way to get your brand noticed. A brewery in Dayton, Ohio, calls itself the Toxic Brewing Company, and its logo is a skull and crossbones. Local bars are clamoring for the brew.

Good news for athletes: when electrolytes are added, beer can hydrate you faster. The bad news: the hydration comes at the expense of alcohol content.

The “beer wars” are on again. Anheuser-Busch has filed a complaint with the Council of Better Business Bureaus over Coors’s claim that it has “the world’s most refreshing can.”

Finally, reviews new products that allow football fans to sneak alcohol into the stadium. They include iPhone look-alikes, booze-filled “binoculars,” and fake beer bellies.

The Friday Mash (Miami Dolphins Edition)

On this day in 1930, Don Shula was born. Shula coached the Miami Dolphins to two consecutive Super Bowl victories. The first, in Super Bowl VII, completed the first and only undefeated season in the history of the National Football League.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Ostbevern, Germany, where a hotel has created a room with a two-person bed made from a beer barrel. The barrel, which dates back to the 19th century, was used as recently as 1995.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has enlisted surviving members of The Gratetful Dead to help make its American Beauty pale ale. It’s also asking Deadheads to suggest ingredients for the beer.

Last spring’s freakishly warm weather wiped out the cherry crop in the Great Lakes region. Which explains why cherry beer has been so hard to find lately.

Iraq and Afghanistan vet Jake Voelker has launched a beer tour business. Pennsylvania Brewery Tours will run trips to breweries that are “slightly out of reach,” with Voelker providing history and color en route.

Russia begins 2013 with a new law that classifies beer as alcohol rather than food. It also puts an end to beer sales at street kiosks and 24-hour convenience stores.

With the help of the folks at Sierra Nevada, the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux have raised $7 million to restore a Trappist monastery that William Randolph Hearst shipped from Spain in the 1930s.

Finally, journalist Evan Benn sat down with Dan Kopman, the CEO of Schlafly Bottleworks, who talked about expansion, festivals, and Schlafly in cans.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Average price of a liter of beer at this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich: €9.35 ($11.50 U.S.).
  • Average price ten years ago: €6.55 ($6.42 U.S.).
  • Licensed breweries in Michigan: 118 (5th in the nation).
  • Brewing industry’s contribution to Michigan’s economy: $133 million per year.
  • Compensation paid to Michigan brewery employees: $24 million per year.
  • Attendance at this year’s Oregon Brewers Festival: 80,000.
  • The festival’s contribution to the local economy: $23 million.
  • Cost of a ticket to this year’s Great American Beer Festival: $65.
  • Tickets sold for this year’s GABF: More than 40,000.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev’s world-wide market share: 18.6 percent.
  • Runner-up SABMiller’s world-wide market share: 9.3 percent.
  • Increase in Russia’s beer tax this year: 20 percent.
  • Beer tax increases scheduled for 2013-14: 45 percent.
  • Acquisitions in the brewing industry so far this year: 45 (up from 36 last year).
  • Total value of those acquisitions: $35.6 billion.
  • 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.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Opening day attendance at this month’s Qingdao Beer Festival: 300,000.
  • Duration of the Qingdao Beer Festival: 16 days.
  • Breweries in the United States in July 2011: 1,790.
  • Increase over a year ago: 165.
  • Breweries “in planning today”: 725.
  • Foster’s Group Limited’s net loss last year: A$89 million (US$93.5 million).
  • What SABMiller offered to acquire Foster’s: US$10 million.
  • What Heineken offered to acquire two Ethiopian breweries: US$163 million.
  • Years since British law first required that beer be served in pints and quarts: 303.
  • Size of the newly-legalized British schooner: 2/3 pint.
  • Years since Budweiser was first sold in cans: 75.
  • Changes to the can’s label design since then: 12.
  • Last year’s decline in Budweiser’s sales volume: 7.3 percent.
  • Increase in Russia’s excise tax on beer since January 1, 2010: 200 percent.
  • Expected decrease in Russia’s per capita consumption from last year: 6 percent.
  • Beer…By the Numbers

  • Price of a bottle Samuel Adams 2011 Utopias: $150.
  • Utopias’ alcoholic content: 27 percent.
  • Bud Select 55’s alcoholic content: 2.4 percent.
  • What Heineken paid for two state-owned breweries in Ethiopia: $163 million.
  • Annual growth of beer consumption in Ethiopia: 20 percent.
  • Percent of Americans who drink alcohol on a daily basis: 7.
  • Percent of Americans who favor a return to Prohibition: 6.
  • Beer’s share of Russia’s alcohol consumption: 33 percent (spirits account for 63 percent).
  • Its share of France’s alcohol consumption: 17 percent (wine accounts for 62 percent).
  • Canned beer’s share of the American beer market: 52 percent.
  • Its share of the American craft beer market: 3 percent.
  • Germany’s share of world hops production: 35 percent.
  • Washington State’s share of America’s hop production: 77 percent.
  • Years since Molson entered Canada’s beer market: 225.
  • Number of MolsonCoors breweries in Canada: 6.
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