The Friday Mash (Widespread Panic Edition)

On this day in 1938, Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater company broadcast a radio play of H.G. Wells’s novel, The War of the Worlds. Contrary to popular belief, the performance didn’t cause widespread panic, because the audience was so small. It did, however, make Welles famous.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Orlando, where a sports bar called The Basement is helping fans cope with the University of Central Florida’s 0-8 football team. It’s offering free beer during UCF games until the losing streak ends.

PicoBrew, a Seattle-based startup, will market a home brewing system similar in concept to Keurig’s K-Cups. The system, which makes beer in five-liter batches, will retail for around $1,000.

In Georgia, a brewmaster has launched a “government rant” series of beers to protest restrictive state laws. The menu’s fall offering: “Why does the state legislature not want to create jobs by allowing us to do growlers of this IPA?”

Could beer hold the key to stopping the alarming decline in the honeybee population? Scientists have found that placing hops beta acid near a honeycomb improves the bees’ chances of survival.

Louisville’s Against the Grain Brewery will launch a beer honoring pro wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage and two other members of the famous Poffo wrestling family. The beer will be called—of course—Poffo Pilsner.

On Thanksgiving weekend, Dark Horse Brewing Company will pour 130 of its beers at the HopCat beer bar in midtown Detroit. It will be the largest single-brewery tap takeover on record.

Finally, an editorial in Monday’s edition of USA Today called attention to the big breweries’ latest effort to thwart craft beer. They’ve been buying distributors in three of the top five craft-brewing states. The U.S. government is investigating these transactions.

America’s Top Beer Cities

This “Top” list is a cut above the ubiquitous Internet slideshow article. Thrillist’s Andy Kryza has drawn up a list of America’s top 16 beer cities. For each city, Kryza gives a short description, along with its major breweries, beer bars, and “tradition.”

For the record, the top five are Portland (Oregon, that is; its Maine namesake ranks 14th); San Diego; Denver; Seattle; and Chicago.

Paul’s favorite line: “Like a breakdown of Jimmer Fredette’s college stats, it’s impossible to NOT talk about Asheville’s size in a conversation about its beer scene.” He loves obscure sports analogies.

The Friday Mash (Macbeth Edition)

On this day in 1040, King Duncan I of Scotland was killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth. Seventeen years later, King Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan. The Three Weird Sisters entered the picture 500 years later, courtesy of William Shakespeare.

“Double, double, time and trouble, fire burn”..and now The Mash!

We begin in Dodger Stadium, where Anheuser-Busch InBev will unveil a new beer aimed at Latino beer drinkers. Montejo, from A-B’s Mexican subsidiary, will be released throughout the Southwest.

Beer-fueled violence in college towns is nothing new. In 1884, a beer riot took place in Iowa City after local authorities put two men on trial for violating Iowa’s new prohibition law.

Pete Brown reports that underage drinking has fallen off sharply in Britain. His explanation: parents downing a few at home have made drinking less appealing to their children.

It’s Shark Week, a perfect time for a Narragansett, which has been called “the Forrest Gump of Beers” because of its association with celebrities, artists, sports teams, and politicians.

Blonde ales have acquired a “training-wheels beer” reputation, but Jay Brooks thinks they’re underappreciated. He calls them “light and refreshing” and perfect for a hot August day.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post ranked the beer selection at major-league ballparks. Seattle’s Safeco Field has the best selection, while Yankee Stadium has the worst.

Finally, brewpubs aren’t dead after all. An All About Beer story by Brandon Hernandez profiles restaurants that reinvented themselves as brewpubs and experienced an uptick in business afterward.

The Friday Mash (Abbey Road Edition)

Forty-five years ago today, at a zebra crossing in London, photographer Iain Macmillan took the photo that became the cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road. It became one of the most famous album covers in recording history.

And now…The Mash!

We begin, appropriately, in London, where local officials might stop evening beer festivals at the zoo after festival-goers threw beer at the tigers and a drunken woman tried to enter the lion enclosure*.

Jim Koch, the CEO of Boston Beer Company, planned to open a brewery in Seattle, where he went to college. But after watching it rain for 45 straight days, Koch and his wife moved back to Boston.

Germany’s years-long slump in beer consumption was halted by its winning the World Cup. Between January and June, sales rose by 4.4 percent over a year ago.

Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing Company issued a recall for its popular Swill beer after it learned some bottles were undergoing secondary fermentation, which could cause them to explode.

California’s continuing drought has craft brewers worried. If the rains don’t come this winter, they might be forced to curtail production, raise prices, or even move brewing operations out of state.

Elizabeth Daly, who sued the Virginia ABC after over-zealous plainclothes officers wrongly suspected she was a minor in possession, will get a $212,500 settlement check from the state.

Finally, New Zealand health regulators warned a hotel that its sign, “Pero Says: ‘Free Beer Tomorrow’”, may violate the law by promoting excessive drinking. Haven’t they read about “Jam Tomorrow” in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking-Glass?

* Ludwig is not pleased with her.

The Friday Mash (Consumer Rights Edition)

On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that led to passage of the Consumer Bill of Rights. The president declared that consumers were entitled to a choice of safe products, information about what they buy, and the right to be heard. So if someone serves you a pint of ailing ale today, don’t be afraid to send it back.

And now…The Mash!

We begin with a consumer-rights story from Seattle, where the 5 Point Cafe has become the city’s first business to slap a ban on Google Glass. It’s part of the bar’s privacy policy that forbids customers to film or photographing others.

Meet Arnie, the smart beer vending machine. He lives at Arnold Worldwide’s offices in Austin, Texas, and dispenses beer that was home-brewed by company employees.

In London, the brewers of Sol beer offer a new form of recycling. Feed the machine one of your unwanted ties, and it will issue you a coupon good for a free bottle of beer.

A new season of Game of Thrones debuts on HBO on March 31, and Brewery Ommegang has brewed a special ale in collaboration with the cable network. Paul Schrodt of Esquire reviews the beer.

It’s only eight years old, but Milwaukee’s Old German Beer Hall has gained national attention for its genuine Bavarian atmosphere. The beer, and the flour used to make pretzels, are imported from Munich.

Does your company’s perks include a free beer on company time? Advanced Medical in Port Orange, Florida, rolls out the beer cart on Friday afternoons.

Finally, Dr. Amanda Ellison of Durham University (UK) debunks “beer goggles”: People don’t look more attractive to you after a few too many; you’ve simply lowered your standards. Caveat emptor.

The Friday Mash (Hobbit Edition)

Seventy-five years ago today, The Hobbit was published. Author J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration for his classic fantasy from the pints of ale he drank in the Rabbit Room at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Founders’ “Stout Season” is underway. The brewery has three million bottles of Breakfast Stout ready for distribution.

Remember Asahi Super Dry beer? Hirotaro Higuchi, the brewery’s president who launched the beer in 1987, has passed away. Super Dry made Asahi Japan’s top-selling brewery.

Chris Hansen, who wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle, bought beers for everybody at F.X. McRory’s to celebrate a favorable vote for a new arena in the Emerald City.

People in Madison, Wisconsin, love their beer, but some residents are up in arms over beer ads on city buses.

How do you celebrate becoming the first person to run the length of Australia’s 5,330-kilometer (3,312-mile) Bicentennial Trail? If you’re Richard Bowles, who accomplished that feat, you order a beer.

Since 1885, steam-powered “Skunk” trains have chugged through California’s Mendocino County. Once a year, Lagunitas Brewery takes over the train for a friends-and-family outing through redwood country.

Finally, Nicholas Kuznetz set out to answer a burning question: How cold does a can of Coors Light have to get before the mountains turn blue?

The Friday Mash (”What’s Up, Doc?” Edition)

On this day in 1940, The Wild Hare, a Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies production, was released. The eight-minute cartoon, which was nominated for an Academy Award, depicted Elmer Fudd pursuing the much smarter Bugs Bunny.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in London, Ontario, whose minor-league baseball team, the Rippers, folded after being refused permission to sell beer. Ironically, the Rippers played their home games at Labatt Park.

While much of America is suffering from drought, torrential rains in northern Europe have slowed the maturation of grain crops. The forecast is for higher grain prices and, ultimately, more expensive beer.

The iconic “R” sign, placed atop Rainier Brewing’s Seattle brewery in 1953, will be re-lit at the Museum of History and Industry. The brand’s owners are also bringing back the Grazing Rainiers, those mythical beer bottles with legs.

Jim Galligan, drinks correspondent for, offers five reasons why you should brew your own beer.

The brewery staff at Budweiser has been experimenting with small-batch beers. Once they dedide on which three of the original 12 beers are the best, they’ll package them in special six-packs to be sold at retail this fall.

The Travel Channel serves up its list of top seven beer destinations. Instead of the usual suspects, their picks are up-and-coming places you might not have thought about.

Finally, the Bad Training Regimen Award goes to Tyler Bray, a quarterback at the University of Tennessee. Bray decided to limber up his throwing arm by lobbing beer bottles at parked cars.

Seattle to Host Homebrewers’ Conference

This year’s National Homebrewers Conference will take place in Seattle the weekend of June 21-23. The conference, put on by the American Homebrewers Association, will feature a keynote address by Charles Finkel, the founder of Seattle’s Pike Brewery; a banquet and award ceremony featuring Sean Paxton,”The Homebrew Chef”; and appearances by dozens of professional brewers, beer experts, and writers. This year’s National Homebrew Competition has attracted 7,800 entries in 28 style categories, making it the largest such competition to date.

ERA Meets IBUs

People enter the world of brewing from all walks of life but Chris Ray, a relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, could be the first to go from professional baseball to professional brewing. Ray has been a homebrewer for several years–a craft he picked up while in the minor leagues–and he’s planning to open a commercial brewery in the future.

Recently, Ray got the chance to brew a batch at the Fremont Brewing Company. His beer. Homefront IPA is being aged over maple–in the form of bats provided by the Louisville Slugger Company–and will be ready next month. It will be available at Safeco Field, where the Mariners play, as well as select beer bars and grocery stores. Proceeds from the beer, along with the bats used in the aging process, will go to Operation Homefront, an organization that helps soldiers and their families in times of need.

A Random Walk Through Seattle

Okay, the walk was anything but random. Geoff Kaiser, who lives in Seattle, ventured out with his wife, Jeanne, and a collection of friends for a beer walk through the Green Lake neighborhood. The lake itself is an attraction, and so are the watering holes located around it. In fact, three of the city’s ten best beer spots are on the route. Making the walk even better was the sunshine and warm temperatures that followed Kaiser and his friends.

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