The Session

The Friday Mash (Happy New Year! Edition)

It’s been a horrible winter in much of the country, but take heart: today is the first full day of spring. Today is also the first day of the astrological year, being the first full day under the sign of Aries. So break out the noisemakers and funny hats, and order yourself a beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Bend, Oregon, which has 80,000 residents and 11 breweries. The breweries issue visitors a “passport” that they can get stamped as they sample their way through town.

Esquire Network’s Brew Dogs are trying to brew the world’s most caloric beer: an imperial stout made with maple syrup and bacon, served with a scoop of beer ice cream and a sliver of bacon. It weighs in at over 525 calories.

According to Outdoor Life magazine, empty glass beer bottles may help you survive in the wilderness. You can make sharp tools out of them, and even use them to start fires.

The Session #86, moderated by “Beer Hobo” Heather Vandenengel, will focus on beer journalism. She invites you to discuss the role of beer writers and talk about your favorites.

In Boise, fans filed suit against the city’s minor-league hockey team after seeing a YouTube video showing that a $7 large beer contained the same amount of beer as a $4 “small” beer.

The environment is a high priority at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s new North Carolina plant, whose interior decor will reflect the natural beauty of its surroundings.

Finally, conservative commentator Phyllis Schlafly has asked federal trademark regulators to deny Schlafly beer a trademark because she doesn’t want her family associated with beer. Her nephew Tom’s Saint Louis Brewery has brewed Schlafly beer since 1989.

The Friday Mash (Teddy Ballgame Edition)

On this day in 1960, Hall of Famer Ted Williams hit a home run in his final at-bat at Fenway Park. His performance was chronicled in John Updike’s essay, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”, one of the best-ever pieces of American sportswriting.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Ted Williams’s hometown of San Diego, where the first Craft Beer Debate recently took place. At issue: whether the city should build a publicly-financed stadium.

As Maine goes, so goes the nation? The state’s beer production has jumped by 50 percent since 2009. By the way, Maine’s largest brewery is Allagash Brewing Company.

Our Drink Locally award goes to beer blogger Pierre Lachine, who has pledged to drink only Ontario beer for the next year.

An e-petition calling for a review of Britain’s beer tax has gotten more than 100,000 signatures, enough to trigger a possible House of Commons debate on how the tax is calculated.

Denver mayor Michael Hancock got a crash course in brewing at the Denver Beer Company. The beer he helped make, a pumpkin ale, will debut at next month’s Denver Beer Fest.

The topic for The Session #68 has been announced: it’s Novelty Beers. Tiffany, who blogs at 99 Pours, will host the discussion; and, as always, you’re welcome to join.

Finally, Ken and Steph Newbury of St. Peters, Missouri, turned their wedding reception into a beer festival. They stocked the bar with many of Ken’s favorite micros, many of which were brewed in-state.

The Friday Mash (Wizard of Oz Edition)

On this day in 1939, the film version of L. Frank Baum’s classic story, The Wizard of Oz, opened at Loew’s Capitol Theater in New York. The film won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture; and, thanks to its re-introduction to the public on television in 1956, became the most-watched motion picture in history. Ludwig, however, has panned the film for its depiction of lions.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Philadelphia, where the American Beer Blogger documentary has been nominated for an Emmy in Mid-Atlantic region’s Entertainment/Program-Special category.

In an effort to boost sales in a flat economy, some Czech brewers are committing beer blasphemy by brewing Radlers, beers mixed with drinks such as Sprite and lemonade.

Stereotypes die hard, especially when gender is involved. Naomi McAuliffe, writing in The Guardian, calls on British women to demand their pint of Real Ale.

“Craft beer” has earned a place in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. Feel free to enjoy it in a “man cave” while compiling your “bucket list.” Both of those terms have also been added.

A “blue moon”–a second full moon in the same month–will occur on August 31. MillerCoors, the makers of Blue Moon beer, will celebrate the rare event with a special-edition Caramel Apple Spiced Ale.

San Francisco’s Toronado beer bar opened 25 years ago today. Russian River Brewing Company will celebrate with a special sour beer, to be served at the legendary establishment.

Finally, here’s your invitation to predict the future. The topic for Session No. 67 will be How Many Breweries in 2017?. Derrick Peterman, who blogs at Ramblings of a Beer Runner, is your host.

April 20 (4:20 Edition)

Today is 4:20, an unofficial holiday celebrating the use of marijuana. Legend has it that 4:20 originated with a group of California high school students in the early 1970s. Why do we mention marijuana on a beer blog? Because Paul is old enough to remember signs in college-town bars that read “Keep Off the Grass…Drink Schlitz.” And he still prefers beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Monmouth, Oregon, which was dry from its founding in 1859 until 2002. A local minister warned of disaster if townspeople allowed alcohol to be sold, but little has changed in the past decade.

An infographic making the rounds of the Internet makes the case (no pun intended, really) for craft beer in cans. (Hat tip: Jack Curtin.)

Evan Benn, who writes about beer at, among other places, Esquire magazine, has hit the stores and lined up the best beers of 2012. These are definitely not the same-old, same-old.

The May edition (number 63!) of The Session will be hosted by Pete Brown. This month’s topic is open-ended: “The Beer Moment”. Brown asks, “[W]hat comes to mind? Don’t analyze it–what are the feelings, the emotions?”

Cor blimey! “Exclusive pouring rights” at the London Summer Olympics have been awarded to Heineken, which forked out £10 million ($15.6 million U.S.) for the privilege.

Joe Stange, the Thirsty Pilgrim (and the author of Around Brussels in 80 Beers) has an update on the beer scene in the Belgian capital.

Finally, a brewery in Calgary is taking advantage of the Canadian government’s decision to phase out the penny. It’s offering to exchange a growler full of beer for a growler full of the soon-to-be-obsolete one-cent pieces.

The Friday Mash (Standard Time Edition)

On this day in 1883, American railroads replaced sun-based local time with four time zones, which survive to this day. Time zones have strange boundaries, which often divide states in two, because they once connected railroad stations in major cities. But wherever you live, it’s Ludwig Standard Time. Which means it’s time for a beer.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chesterfield, England, where the local constabulary caught 19 wanted criminals with a sting operation that offered them a crate of free beer.

Our friend Lew Bryson, who began the “Breweries” series published by Stackpole Books, is now going on television. His new series, “American Beer Blogger,” is a half-hour series dedicated to all facets of the craft beer market.

Christian Moerlein was the first person inducted into Cincinnati’s Beer Barons’ Hall of Fame. It’s located at the brewery named for Moerlein, which will open on the riverfront in February.

Did you miss this year’s Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas? The annual celebration, which began 50 years ago, has grown into a ten-day, German-themed “Salute to Sausage.”

In Pnomh Penh, Cambodia, national brands Anchor and Angkor have been joined by newcomer, Kingdom Pilsner. Kingdom brews a Continental lager adapted to local tastes.

Session #58 has been announced. Its theme is, appropriately enough, A Christmas Carol–you get the idea–and it will be hosted by Phil Hardy of Beersay.

Finally, a Phoenix-based company has come out with a beer made for dogs. Bowser Beer is non-carbonated, contains no hops, and (sorry, Ludwig) is non-alcoholic.

The Friday Mash (Will Rogers Edition)

On this day in 1879, Will Rogers was born. He was a cowboy, actor, and humorist, and one of the biggest celebrities of the Jazz Age. Rogers once said that “Communism is like prohibition, it’s a good idea but it won’t work.” Both the Great Experiment and the hammer and sickle have vanished, which is a good reason to have a beer.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Mozambique, where SABMiller has introduced Impala, a beer brewed with a mixture of cassava and barley. The beer will be about 25 percent cheaper than traditional lagers in hopes of getting drinkers to switch from homebrew to a commercial beer.

Those hard-to-find beers might be easier to get if legislation designed to save the U.S. Postal Service becomes law. One provision of that legislation would allow shipments of beer and wine.

No, it’s not too late to join The Session #57, which is titled “Bless Me Father, for I Have Drank”. You don’t even have to be Catholic to offer up your contribution.

Despite a world-class lineup of contributors, the Oxford Companion to Beer isn’t free of factual errors. Blogger Alan McLeod has created a wiki where readers can flag and those errors for possible future editions of the book.

March 5, 2012, will be Kate the Great Day at the Portsmouth Brewery. Next year’s edition will come in smaller (330 milliliter) bottles to allow more fans to bring some home.

At this year’s World Beer Awards, the judges named Weihenstephan Vitus, a strong wheat beer, the World’s Best Beer. Other winners were Rodenbach Grand Cru (Best Ale), Samuel Adams Double Bock (Best Lager), Deschutes Hop Henge (Best Pale Ale), and Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout (Best Stout and Porter).

Finally, beer gardens are flourishing in southern California, but with American touches like food from all over the world on the menu and local micros on tap. And in Detroit, the Christmas Wonderfest will include a Hofbrauhaus biergarten.

The Friday Mash (Ogden Nash Edition)

On this day in 1902, Ogden Nash was born. Nash, a writer of light verse, is best known for surprising, pun-like rhymes–sometimes with words deliberately misspelled for comic effect.

And now….The Nash!

We begin in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, where Mike Pinto popped the question to his girlfriend, Dawn Rebodillo, in the middle of their tour of the Samuel Adams brewery. She said yes.

Planning a beer trek to Colorado? Journalist Ed Sealover has made your travels easier with his new guidebook to the state’s 100-plus breweries. And yes, he’s been to all of them.

FedEx Field in Washington, D.C., has upped the price of a beer to $9, prompting this comment from Washington City Paper’s Dave McKenna: “shouldn’t you also be able to buy a lap dance at an establishment where drinks are going for that price?”

Upon returning to civilian life, army veteran Mike McCreary started the Cavalry Brewery in Connecticut. It turns out five English-style ales, all named for his team in Iraq.

Jon Abernathy, who blogs at The Beer Site, has the roundup from Session #54, which was devoted to sour beer.

Scientists at the University of Valladolid in Spain have found that dark beers contain more iron than light-colored beers. Ludwig wants to know whether they performed an analysis of Iron City Light.

Finally, from the Not Just for Breakfast Anymore Department. Cris Carl of Networx.com has 14 household uses for beer, including humanely killing mice and loosening rusty bolts. Full cans are good insulation material, too.

The Friday Mash (STP Edition)

On this day in 1923, auto racing figure Andy Granatelli was born. Granatelli and his brothers modified engines for Indy cars, but Andy is best known for being the spokesman for STP oil and gasoline treatment products during the 1960s. The product’s logo was everywhere, and the “STP is the racer’s edge” jingle still reverberates inside the brains of millions of American males.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Cullman, Alabama, which since 1977 has hosted a beer-free Oktoberfest. That tradition is about to go by the boards: last November, voters lifted prohibition.

Time flies when you’re having fun. Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog is hosting Session #50, “How Do They Make Me Buy The Beer?” Comments are welcome, and Alan has a few thoughts to get you started.

John Holl, whose book Indiana Breweries is now in print, was featured on New York’s WNBC-TV, where he brought out a selection of high-alcohol beers. Well before noon.

Planning a beer trip to Seattle? Sam Kettering of Seattle Weekly has a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to help you navigate the city.

Ashley Rouston, “The Beer Wench,” wants to find out which breweries are tops in social media. And she’s asking for nominations.

Natalie Hill, a British photographer, posted a beautiful Cantillon slide show on HuffingtonPost.com.

Finally, Trudeau Corporation has invented a bottle opener that catches the cap. The video is worth watching for the cheesy music alone.

The Friday Mash (Green Mountain State Edition)

On this day 220 years ago, Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th state. Today, the state is famous for its craft beer; in fact, it recently ranked number-one in breweries per capita. Good beer is so plentiful that gas stations sell growlers. But the best place to enjoy it is the Vermont Brewers Festival, which takes place in July on the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Bend, Oregon, where it’s now possible to celebrate two great Oregon activities–bicycling and enjoying craft beer–at the same time, now that a 16-seat “Cycle Pub” has made its debut.

Another story from Oregon involves a possible backlash against over-hopped ales. Katherine Cole, the wine columnist for the Oregonian, identifies a couple of new breweries that are going easy on the IBUs.

Australia has earned a reputation for a macho beer-swillers, but women have come into prominence in that country’s beer culture.

Ever wonder where the phrase “paint the town red” originated? Matt Dredge, who blogs at Pencil and Spoon, has the answer.

After more than four and a half centuries of life, Maryland’s Wye Oak was toppled by a thunderstorm in 2002. However, the ancient tree lives on in a special batch of India pale brewed by Baltimore’s Heavy Seas Brewing Company.

Don’t forget The Session #49. This month’s topic is Your “Regular” Beer. Stan Hieronymus, one of the hosts, elaborates on it.

Finally, the Washington Post’s David Hagedorn decided it was time to host a beer pairing dinner. He pulled it off with the assistance of Gwen Conley, the Flying Dog Brewery’s “sensory goddess.”

The Friday Mash (Let it Snow Edition)

On this day in 1887, the world’s largest-ever snowflakes–15 inches wide and eight inches thick–fell on Fort Keogh, Montana. It is not known what the people who saw those flakes were drinking at the time, but was probably a lot stronger than Big Sky Moose Drool.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in our home state of Michigan, which now has 85 breweries. Bell’s Beer, the biggest of them all, doubled its sales in 2010, and is planning further expansions in the years to come.

The Baltimore Sun’s Eric Maza brings up to date on local brewery tours. He mentions Delaware’s new a Wine and Ale Trail.

Some things don’t change. Ron Pattinson has posted on his Shut Up About Barkley Perkins blog a story about drunken young Brits wreaking havoc while overseas. The story was written in 1843, in an Indian newspaper. Guess what they were drinking?

David Jensen, who hosted Session #47, serves us a round-up of beer blogger cooking with beer. The Scotch eggs with beery mayonnaise sounds tasty.

According to Thomas and Carol Sinclair, the authors of a history of agriculture, humans lived on a diet of bread and beer for thousands of years. The downside? Vitamin deficiencies, cognitive impairment, high infant mortality, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Greg Kitsock hopes the popularity of black IPA will get beer lovers interested in dunkels. Kitsock reviews a number of dark lagers, domestic and imported.

A trip to the local dog park got beer writer John Holl thinking about dogs in beer advertising, and whether his beloved Pepper has a chance at stardom.

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