Russian River

The Friday Mash (B&O Railroad Edition)

On this day in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated. Can you name the other railroads on the Monopoly board? Time’s up. They’re the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading Railroad, and the Short Line.

All aboard!

We begin in Brazil, where the Polar brewery has an invention that will make it easier to converse in bars. It’s a beer cooler that cuts out GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, and 4G signals.

California’s drought could make your Lagunitas IPA will taste different. The Russian River, which provides Lagunitas with its water, is drying up, and brewery might have to find another source.

Beer was the headline ingredient in last Sunday’s “Chopped” competition on the Food Network. The show, with Stone Brewing Company’s Greg Koch as a judge, airs again on Sunday evening.

Higher zymurgical education awaits in the form of Joshua Bernstein’s new book, The Complete Beer Course. It contains a series of “classes” devoted to families of beers.

On Tuesday, when he was in Chicago to announce the award of a federal manufacturing grant, President Obama put in a plug for Goose Island Brewing Company’s “superior beer.”

A Korean romantic comedy in which the female lead makes chimek to celebrate winter’s first snow has Chinese viewers clamoring for the dish, which is Korean for “fried chicken” and “beer.”

Finally, a gathering of 490 Yelp members at Santa Anita Race Track might set a new Guinness record for beer tasters. We hope they bet on Ambitious Brew, who won the $100,000 Sensational Star stakes race.

Some Like it Sour

In an article in New Yorker magazine, writer Christian DeBenedetti (The Great American Ale Trail) says we’ve come full circle with sour beer. Before refrigeration and advances in fermentation science in the mid-19th century, almost all beer was more or less sour. Even after science eliminated most off-tastes, some breweries continued to turn out sour styles. The best-known such brewery is Brussels’s Cantillon brewery, founded in 1900. To this day, it specializes in spontaneously fermented lambics and gueuzes.

DeBenedetti notes that Cantillon’s beers were, at first, widely misunderstood by American customers. Some reacted to their tart and musty character by calling the beers “infected” and sending them back. As late as 1997, when he first visited Cantillon, its products weren’t available in the United States beyond a few semi-smuggled shipments. Dan Shelton, who took the risky step of importing Cantllion, said that it took almost ten years for people to realize that lambic and gueuze were supposed to taste that way.

Today, a number of American breweries have developed a reputation for high-quality sour beers. They include Jolly Pumpkin, Russian River, Crooked Stave–and De Benedetti’s own sour beer brewery, which he’s building on his family’s hazelnut farm in Oregon.

The Friday Mash

Here are a few stories that caught our attention this past week:

Anchor Brewing is part of Travel + Leisure magazine’s Ten Coolest Factory Tours slideshow, along with Louisville Slugger bats, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and Gibson guitars….Mario Rubio of the Examiner went beer hunting in west Sonoma County, and has a slide show to share with his readers…. Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin was in the same locale, visiting the Russian River Brewery, which is “All Hopped Up for the Cure,” as in a cure for breast cancer….And in case you haven’t seen the video yet, a 125-pound black bear invaded a grocery store in Hayward, Wisconsin, and headed straight to the beer cooler. The video prompted some amusing speculation on BeerAdvocate.com: what brand of beer was the animal looking for?

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