Thanksgiving

The Friday Mash (One Whale Of An Edition)

On this day in 1820, in the South Pacific, an 80-ton whale attacked the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick–admit it, you read the Cliff’s Notes for that title-is in part inspired by this story.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Leeds, where two men refused to let a rainstorm, or the flooding from that storm, stop them from enjoying a pint in a pub’s beer garden. Their Sunday roast, however, was rained out.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione has been named executive editor of Pallet, a quarterly magazine aimed at people who “like to think and drink.” Pallet’s subtitle is “Only interested in everything.”

Historians have concluded that the Pilgrims didn’t have beer at the original Thanksgiving feast. That, however, shouldn’t stop you from serving beer with your Turkey Day dinner.

Louisville plans to revive a tradition from more than a century ago: a party to celebrate the release of bock beer. The NuLu Bock Beer Festival will take place next spring.

A beer garden made from shipping containers? It’s coming to the port city of Long Beach, California. Called SteelCraft, it will feature beer from Smog City and other local micros, along with gourmet food.

Samuel Adams Utopias, an ultra-high-gravity (28 percent ABV), and ultra-expensive (suggested retail price: $199) beer is back. The current batch, the ninth brewed since 2002, contains previous vintages going back to 1992.

Finally, Sadie Snyder, a Massachusetts woman who celebrated her 106th birthday, credits beer for her longevity. She had her first beer at age six thanks to her father, who worked in the beer industry.

The Friday Mash (Acid Test Edition)

On this day in 1938, the hallucinogenic drug LSD was first synthesized in Europe. It entered popular culture in the 1960s when Timothy Leary promoted its use, and author Tom Wolfe documented the adventures of Ken Kesey and his acid-dropping band of Merry Pranksters.

Ludwig recommends avoiding this drug and sticking to beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Fredericksburg, Texas, where Lee Hereford raised $2 million for his Pedernales Brewing Company by visiting would-be investors’ homes armed with a prospectus and samples of his beer.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. If you haven’t decided how to cook your turkey, homebrew chef Sean Z. Paxton has a recipe for “Tipsy Turkey”. You’ll need a good holiday ale for the beer brine.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the beer brewed by Plymouth Colony Pilgrims might have offended craft beer purists because the grain bill included corn. With good reason: local barley crop often failed.

Canadian beer writer Jordan St. John toured Boston Beer Company’s Jamaica Plain facility, with none other than company founder Jim Koch leading the tour. St. John learned why sour beer and balsamic vinegar are similar.

About ten years ago, someone decided to dress up the gardens of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium by planting hop bines. Now, dry hops from those bines will be used by Revolution Brewing, a local micro.

Next year, Anheuser-Busch InBev will roll out Budweiser Black Crown, which it describes as a “golden amber lager.” It will carry a 6% ABV alcoholic punch.

Finally, Ludwig would like to introduce Wojtek, a brown bear that fought alongside Polish soldiers during World War II. Adopted as a cub by artillerymen serving in Iran, the bear drank two bottles of beer a day.

The Friday Mash (Wednesday Edition)

Even beer-drinking lions need time off, so he’s assembled this week’s Mash a couple of days early. Once it’s posted, Ludwig will zip up his luggage and hop into the lion limo for a long weekend. He’ll be back on Monday, relaxed and refreshed. We should all be so lucky.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Cleveland, where Mark Bona of the Plain Dealer suggests beers to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. No hard and fast rules, just general pointers.

Did you know that Garrett Oliver’s love affair with beer began with a pint in a London pub? That tidbit and others appear in an interview with Oliver in the Independent.

The Beer Bloggers Conference has compiled a list of all known beer bloggers on the planet. The total stands at 1,164. And yes, Ludwig Roars is on that list.

From the Life Imitates Art Department: The governing board of the Phoenix-area’s light-rail system has okayed beer ads on the outside of trains. Some of those trains might resemble the Coors Silver Bullet of TV ad fame.

Friday is the official kickoff of Christmas shopping season, which means it’s time to think Yuletide beers. Brandon Hernandez of San Diego magazine serves up the 12 Beers of Christmas.

Ever wonder why flies are attracted to beer? Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, have the answer: the pesky insects are attracted to glycerol, a sweet-tasting compound produced by yeasts during fermentation.

Finally, the Michigan Wolverines take on arch-rival Ohio State on Saturday. We hope these beer-chugging grannies will be partying with the tailgaters in Ann Arbor.

Pilgrims’ Progress

The Pilgrims were low on provisions, beer in particular, when they arrived in America. The crew of the Mayflower dumped them on Plymouth Rock because it couldn’t feed them. The Pilgrims immediately built a brewery. And soon afterward, they sat down to Thanksgiving dinner.

All of those statements are wrong, according to DJ Spiess. A couple of Thanksgivings ago, he debunked some myths about the Pilgrims. Spiess contends there was plenty of beer aboard the Mayflower, which was built to transport wine; and that the Pilgrims went ashore because hard winter was about to set in. Building a brewery certainly wasn’t their first order of business, considering their prospects for survival (fewer than half lived through the first winter). And Thanksgiving wasn’t celebrated until three years later, after more colonists and supplies arrived in Plymouth.

But the myth-makers got one fact right. The Pilgrims did drink beer. Like other Englishmen, they did so because water contained organisms that could kill them. What kind of beer did they drink? Spiess speculates that aboard the Mayflower, they drank a medium-strength bitter.

Beer on Your Thanksgiving Table

Beer. It’s what’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

Randy Mosher, who knows a thing or two about pairing food and beer, has some suggestions for the Thanksgiving table.

Another Chicagoan, Josh Noel, talked to the experts and got their suggestions for Turkey Day beer pairings.

Do your friends insist on wine with dinner? Lisa Morrison, the Beer Goddess, suggests how to win them over to beer.

Mark Bona of the Cleveland Plain Dealer asked beer guru Andy Tveekrem and bartender Pat Daniels for their beer and food pairings.

Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin declares that “beer is for the bird”, even if the bird is extra spicy.

Finally, Monk’s Kettle’s Sayre Piotrkowski, who’s a certified Cicerone, chooses the seven best Thanksgiving beers.

Beer, The Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving

We’re sure a lot of you are serving beer with Thanksgiving dinner. Which is what the Pilgrims likely did as well. Most of us are familiar with William Bradford’s famous diary entry about cutting their trip short and landing at Plymouth because the Mayflower was running out of beer. But what did they drink? This is where Beer historian Bob Skilnik comes in. According to Skilnik, the Pilgrims didn’t drink “small” beer, as has often been reported, but drank strong “ship’s beer,” which we’d call “high-gravity” or even “extreme.” He also contends that the Mayflower’s crew hadn’t really run out of beer. They were hoarding it for the trip back to England.

Hat tip: Tom Cizauskas at Yours for Good Fermentables.

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