The Friday Mash (Cubs Win! Edition)

On this date in 1908, the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. Managed by Frank Chance of “Tinker to Evers to Chance” fame, they beat the Detroit Tigers, 4 games to 1. Cubs fans are hoping their team can end their 108-year drought in this year’s playoffs.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Detroit, where Ludwig’s beloved Lions will sell $3.50 beers during Sunday’s game against the L.A. Rams. The way the Lions are playing, fans need a few to get them through the game.

D.G. Yuengling & Son is waging a last-ditch fight against the pending merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller. Yuengling argues that A-B is trying to keep it out of new markets.

German scientists have found that beer causes less liver damage than hard liquor. The reason? Hops may inhibit the formation of reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells in the liver.

Ken Pagan, the Toronto-area man accused of throwing a beer can at a player during a baseball game, better have his lawyer warming up. A Canadian attorney discusses Pagan’s legal problems.

Two Copenhagen men have taken the idea of freeze-dried coffee and applied it to four of their craft beers. They’ve created instant versions of a coffee beer, a fruity IPA, a wild-yeast IPA, and a pilsner.

After a church in Canyon, Texas, ran an anti-alcohol ad in the local paper, an establishment called the Imperial Taproom offered a discount to customers who brought in a copy of the ad.

Finally, Fat Head’s Brewery had a very short reign as “Mid-Sized Brewing Company of the Year” at the Great American Beer Festival. Officials revoked the award after concluding that Fat Head’s, which has three locations, had been misclassified.

The Friday Mash (Vermont Edition)

On this day in 1791, Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th U.S. state. It is only one of three states that had previously been an independent republic; the others are California (very briefly, and unrecognized) and Texas (1836-45).

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where the Field Museum has teamed up with Off-Color Brewing to re-create a purple-corn beer brewed by Peruvian women a thousand years ago during the Wari Empire.

In Europe, drought conditions resulted in last year’s hop harvest being one of the worst in decades. The resulting scarcity drove up prices, which hit small breweries especially hard.

Franchised beer bars may be coming to your town. Growler USA has two locations in Oregon and North Carolina each with more than 80 taps, and plans to open ten more this year.

“Endless Slogans”, an ad for Toronto-brewed Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA, pokes fun at beer ads by mocking every ad cliche from sexual innuendos to bad puns.

A German environmental group has alleged that the country’s most popular beers violate the Reinheitsgebot because they contain trace amounts of glyphosate, an ingredient used in herbicides.

Celeste Beatty is one of the few African-American women to own a brewery. Her Harlem Brewing Company’s beers will soon go on sale at 39 Wal-Mart stores in New York State.

Finally, Anheuser-Busch InBev finds itself in “investor purgatory” after reporting disappointing earnings last week. A-B InBev’s sales are–pardon the pun–flat, and currency volatility has upped the cost of sales.

Up and Coming Beer Cities

Not long ago, you had to hop on a plane or take a road trip to find a city that’s rich in good beer. For most people in North America, that’s no longer the case: cities large and small have significantly stepped up their beer game.

Thrillist.com correspondent Meredith Heil has identified “ten untapped beer cities poised to blow up”. Four of the ten—Birmingham, Durham, Louisville/Lexington, and Memphis—are in the South, craft beer’s last frontier. Birmingham’s presence on the list is especially remarkable; it wasn’t that long ago that homebrewing was illegal in Alabama and archaic laws imposed an ABV cap on beer.

Salt Lake City is another surprise. Even though Utah eased some of its restrictions on alcohol, serving flights of beer is still a no-no and there’s a 4-percent limit on beer sold in stores. Brewers have to be creative to survive in that environment.

And we’re happy to see Toronto get a mention. It’s one of our favorite road-trip destinations, and we’ve been partial to Canadian beer ever since we cracked open our first Molson Export Ale. The city is highly walkable, and some of our best memories involve sipping pints on long summer evenings.

No, It’s Not Called “The Three Broomsticks”

The Lockhart, located at the intersection of Dufferin and Dundas Streets in Toronto, might be the world’s first Harry Potter-inspired bar. The bar is named after an infamous professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts and uses a stag, Potter’s Patronus charm, as its insignia.

The bar has gone viral since its opening, and has attracted visitors from across Canada—some of whom dress as characters from the series. The most memorable so far came dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange, Narcissa Malfoy, and Ron Weasley—dressed in a Quidditch uniform.

Co-owner and mixologist Paris Xerx has created a beverage menu filled with allusions to the Harry Potter books, including “The Shacklebolt,” made with house-made ginger beer and infused spiced rum. No word on whether there’s butterbeer on draft.

The Friday Mash (Very Endangered Species Edition)

On this day in 1844, the last two known great auks were killed. These large flightless penguin-like birds, which lived in the North Atlantic, were hunted to extinction because their down was in high demand in Europe.

And on that auk-ward note…The Mash!

We begin in China, where designer Li Rongjun has built an office out of 8,500 empty beer bottles. Rongjun has a degree in construction from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology.

Lagunitas Brewing Company will build a third brewery in Asuza, California. The new plant, with a projected capacity of more than 400,000 barrels a year, is expected to open in early 2017.

Molson’s Beer Fridge will make an appearance at this month’s Pan-American Games in Toronto. The latest edition will dispense a free Molson to those who say “I Am Canadian” in any of 40 languages.

Anita Brown, an artist in Los Angeles, has designed beers for each of the books in the Harry Potter series. They include Pilsner of Azkaban, Amber of Secrets, and Deathly Hops (h/t Jay Brooks).

Queen is the latest rock group to release its own beer. It’s a pilsner that will be called—what else?—Bohemian Rhapsody. The bottle’s design features a crest designed by Freddie Mercury himself while he was in college.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria has pulled a custom-brewed batch of ale from Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico. 5 Rabbit’s founder, is a native of Costa Rica.

Finally, New Orleans is rarely associated with German culture, but Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, a year-round, Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall, will open this summer in the city’s Warehouse District.

The Friday Mash (Coke No Pepsi Edition)

On this day in 1886, pharmacist John Pemberton first sold a carbonated beverage named “Coca-Cola” as a patent medicine. Pemberton, a wounded Confederate veteran who became addicted to morphine, developed the beverage as a non-opium alternative.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Rochester, New York, where North American Breweries is putting Genesee beer, Genesee Cream Ale, and Genesee Ice in retro bottles. The packaging hearkens back to the 1960s, the heyday of the “Genny” brand.

Sad news from North Carolina. Dustin Canestorp, a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps, has closed his Beer Army Combat Brewery. He blames state franchise laws that effectively tie a brewery to a distributor for life.

Executives of the nation’s big breweries are getting worried about the amount of discounting going on. The beers you’re most likely to find on sale include Bud Light, Budweiser, and Shock Top.

Craft beer has been susceptible to “the next big thing” mentality. According to Allen Park of Paste magazine, trends that “have more than overstayed their welcome” include waxing bottles, session IPAs, and adjuncts.

Craft brewers are scrambling to comply with a little-known provision of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” which requires breweries and restaurants to disclose nutritional information, including the caloric content of their beers.

City officials aim to make Toronto the world’s craft beer capital. Measures include creating a craft brewery culinary trail and lowering regulatory barriers to brewery start-ups.

Finally, a growing number of craft breweries are making their recipes available to the public. Some, such as Russian River Brewing Company and Rogue Ales, are working with supply shops to develop kits for homebrewed versions of their beers.

What Did Beer Taste Like in 1832?

That was a question Canadian author Jordan St. John asked–and tried to answer–in a column on Canoe.ca. A great deal of speculation is needed because, as he points out, there weren’t any beer critics back then.

That said, St. John recreated a beer from the 19th-century diaries of a Toronto brewer named William Helliwell. The Niagara College Teaching Brewery provided the equipment for his experiment, and the beer was served to students not far from where the brewery once stood.

So what did it taste like? Glad you asked:

It was monstrous! At 9.1% alcohol, the aroma and body were different depths of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and booze. There was some slight intimation of marmalade from the hops and the smoke did put in a brief appearance mid-palate. Mostly though, it had an enormous round body and was suitable for slow sipping.

The Friday Mash (Tempus Fugit Edition)

In 1752, the British Empire–which then included the American colonies–adopted the Gregorian calendar. This was done because the old Julian calendar over-estimated the length of a year by 11 minutes–a discrepancy that added up over the centuries. So September 2 was followed by September 14, putting the calendar back in sync with the seasons.

Ludwig’s calendar says it’s Friday, which means it’s time for…The Mash!

We begin in Traverse City, Michigan, where Pastor Brian Berghoef of the Watershed Church leads theological discussions at the Right Brain Brewery. Berghoef says, “Some of the most important moments in the history of the church took place in the pub.”

One event on tap at Toronto Beer Week is a brewing competition for beer writers. Each participating writer was paired with a local brewery, and helped develop a recipe and brew the beer.

In Smithsonian magazine’s blogs, Alastair Bland leads his readers on an unofficial tour of northern California breweries.

The Griffin, a pub in Warmley, England, has a loyal patron. A very loyal patron. Arthur Reid has been a regular there since he became old enough to drink, 72 years–and 30,000 pints ago.

Darla Guillen, a Houston journalist, spent a day pouring beer at a brewery booth at a festival in Galveston. Her stint left her with a greater appreciation for festival-goers’ beer sophistication.

Evidently, R2D2 has found gainful employment after Star Wars. He was spotted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, dispensing beer to tailgaters at the Washington-LSU football game.

Finally, did you know that in 1809, President James Madison proposed a national brewery and a cabinet-level Secretary of Beer? It was part of his program for protecting the domestic beer market.

The Friday Mash (Nixon in China Edition)

Forty years ago today, President Richard Nixon began his historic journey to Beijing, where he laid the groundwork for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with China. “Nixon in China” has become a political catchphrase, and China now ranks number-one in the world in beer consumption.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Mississippi, where state lawmakers will once again consider raising the maximum allowable alcohol content of beer, currently 5.9 percent ABV. Also under consideration: legalizing homebrewing.

Fancy a pint of Kremlin Beer? The Russian government has trademarked that name, along with Kremlin Vodka. Ludwig hopes the beer will be a red lager.

Corner taverns weren’t just places to knock back a few with friends. They were also centers of community life. Sadly, these establishments are disappearing, thanks in large part to yuppification and stricter licensing laws.

The International Trappist Association, which recognizes seven authentic Trappist breweries, might recognize an eighth brewery: the Engelszell Stift monastery in Austria. Commenters on the story suggest that a couple more might be added to the list as well.

Do you review beers? If so, you might fit into a stereotype. Billy Broas, who blogs at BillyBrew, has compiled a list of ten different types of reviews that he’s run across on the Web.

If you’re headed to Canada’s largest city, the staff of Toronto Life magazine has some tips. They’ve chosen the city’s best bars to have a pint (or three). The establishments range from a locovore’s paradise to an authentic Irish pub.

Finally, Monday is President’s Day. Jay Brooks calls our attention to beer and the presidency, from George Washington’s insistence on American-brewed porter to Barack Obama’s homebrewing.

The Friday Mash (Veterans Day Edition)

On this day in 1918, the Allied nations and Germany agreed to an armistice that effectively ended World War I. November 11, originally known as Armistice Day, became a legal holiday in the U.S. in 1938. It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. A good reason to buy a veteran a beer as a thank-you for serving our country.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Toronto, where Black Creek Historic Brewery’s One Mile Beer was pronounced a success. It was brewed using technology from the mid-19th century when there was no electricity, refrigeration, stainless tanks, or bottling plants.

Have you heard of the other St. Louis brewery with Busch in its name? It’s called the William K. Busch Brewing Company, and its eponymous founder is the great-grandson of Adolphus Busch.

Is that special guy on your Christmas list a beer lover and a bibliophile? Evan Benn can help you. His column in Esquire magazine names the new beer bibles every man should read.

Don’t cry in your beer, Argentina. The tap list at a Peronist restaurant in Buenos Aires–yes, there really is one–includes “Evita”, “17 de Octubre”, “Montoneros” and “Doble K,” the latter honoring the husband and wife who each served as Argentina’s president.

Growlers. Ludwig’s staff, Maryanne and Paul, love them. In fact, they literally wore one out. So they were surprised to learn that Garrett Oliver hates growlers.

Sante! Men’s Health magazine assembled a slideshow of America’s best new canned beers. Fun fact: Indianapolis owns the distinction of having two of its breweries’ products on the list.

Finally, Honda’s upgrade to Asimo, its stair-climbing robot, enables it to recognize faces and voices, and even pour drinks. Since Honda also makes cars, we hope Asimo can recognize people who’ve had too many–and take away their keys.

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