Vancouver

The Friday Mash (“Long Live the King” Edition)

On this day in 1603, James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England and Ireland upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I. The kingdoms of Scotland and England remained sovereign states, with their own parliaments, but both were ruled by James in personal union.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Vancouver where last week, the Railtown Pub advertised its St. Patrick’s Day celebration with a Guinness glass filled to the brim and literally losing its head. That caught the attention of the Irish Independent newspaper, which called the pour “sacrilegious”.

Now that the Chicago White Sox’s partnership with MillerCoors has expired, the ballclub has formed a new partnership with Constellation Brands, which will open “Casa Modelo” at the ballpark.

While on spring break in The Bahamas, a frat boy used the teeth of a beached shark to puncture a beer can so he could “shotgun” it. His video of the stunt prompted a swift—and angry—backlash on social media.

Portland, Oregon, is about to get a beer bar devoted to session beers. Its name, naturally enough, is Sessionable. The bar will pour 30 beers, all with ABVs ranging from 2.5 to 5 percent.

Neil Patrick Harris, who the spokesperson for Heineken beer, says that he has a Heineken Light tap in his bar at home. He adds that unlimited beer at home “is as awesome as it sounds”.

According to a recent survey, one out of four beer drinkers said they would switch to marijuana if it became legal in their state. If they do switch, brewers will suffer $2 billion per year in lost sales.

Finally, MLive.com asked eight brewery owners in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area whether the craft beer industry is in a bubble. They don’t think so, but some admit that the market is getting tougher for new entries.

The Friday Mash (Xanadu Edition)

On this day in 1271, Kublai Khan of “stately pleasure dome” fame renamed his empire “Yuan,” officially marking the start of the Yuan dynasty of Mongolia and China. The yuan is modern-day China’s monetary unit.

And now…The Mash! 

We begin in Japan, where a local firm has teamed up with an Amsterdam-based renewables company to develop eco-friendly plastic beer bottles. They’re made from plant sugar rather than fossil fuels.

As competition grows more fierce, breweries are hiring artists, graphic designers, and even branding firms to create packaging that wins shelf space and attracts customers.

“Beer before whiskey” is risky, but not for the reasons you think. People drink faster as intake increases, whatever the beverage; and whiskey’s higher alcohol content compounds the effects.

Last weekend, Vancouver’s Storm Brewing unleashed its Glacial Mammoth Extinction beer. It’s Canada’s first beer above 25 percent ABV, and it isn’t cheap: a bottle will set you back C$1,000 ($730 U.S.).

Craft brewing’s success has created a problem: a shortage of cans, especially the 16-ounce cans that many crafts prefer to distinguish their product from national-brand beer.

Debrett’s, a British etiquette authority since 1769, has published a guide to proper beer-drinking. Among other topics, it covers proper pouring and tasting and how to behave decorously at the pub.

Finally, James Grugeon of Brisbane, Australia, is crowd-funding a brewery with a social purpose. Half the profits of his Good Beer Company will be donated to a conservation society trying to save the endangered Great Barrier Reef.

The Friday Mash (Vast Wasteland Edition)

Forty-three years ago today, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton Minow delivered his famous “Vast Wasteland” speech in which he decried “totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in the Shaab Valley in Jordan, where Yazan Karadsheh has launched his country’s first microbrewery. The brewery is called Carakale, after an indigenous mountain cat.

A mobile beer garden is coming to Milwaukee County’s parks this summer. The tables, glassware, and of course, the beer, will be provided by Sprecher Brewing Company.

In Portland, Oregon, Fred Eckhardt’s many friends celebrated his 88th birthday last weekend with two dozen big special beers from breweries from throughout the region.

PYT, a burger joint in Philadelphia, is now serving a burger topped with a Pabst Blue Ribbon-filled wonton. It’s designed to explode hot beer in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, so many new breweries have opened in recent months that the city can make a good argument that it’s now Canada’s craft beer capital.

Chicago’s DryHop Brewers has collaborated with the Lincoln Park Zoo to brew “I’m Not a Raccoon”, a red saison that checks in at 6% ABV. Proceeds will be donated to the Red Panda Wish List Fund.

Finally, beer writer John Holl went to the Bud Light Hotel in Las Vegas, which was “designed to be the ultimate fusion of sports and music.” Holl was amazed at Bud Light fans’ brand loyalty.

Where’s the Cheapest Beer in Canada?

Today is Canada Day, the 144th anniversary of the British North America Act which created the Dominion of Canada. A perfect time to ask this question: where can you find the cheapest beer in Canada?

To find out, the journalists at OpenFile.ca contacted people across the country. The cheapest six-packs they found, at just over the provincial minimum price of C$5.96, are at convenience stores in Montreal. Calgary was the runner-up, with a six-pack going for $6.87. At the other end of the spectrum, expect to shell out $11.25 for a six-pack in Winnipeg; and in Vancouver, you’ll pay at least $11.49 for a sixer of national-brand beer.

Beer Week Roundup

It’s Craft Beer Week in St. Louis, which features unusual events like a Beer Prom, beer bingo, and a Tweetup. The week-long celebration overlaps the St. Louis Microfest in Forest Park this weekend.

Atlanta joins the growing list of North American cities celebrating Beer Week. The dates are May 16-22.

And the state of Alabama has “hopped” on the bandwagon as well: the inaugural Alabama Beer Week is scheduled for June 4-13. It will kick off with the fourth Annual Magic City Brewfest in Birmingham.

And north of the border, Vancouver Beer Week is May 10-16, and Ontario holds its province-wide celebration June 20-26. Here’s some video to get you in the mood for these two celebrations:

Let the Games Begin

In just a few hours, the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver will get underway. There’s a lot to talk about; and Christopher Staten, Draft magazine’s beer editor, has plenty to say. He gives the Games a proper send-up with local beer suggestions, clips from movies about figure skating, and a suggestion for product placement–all served up with an Olympic-sized portion of snark. You’ve got to read the piece (warning: contains graphic depictions of Canadian currency) to fully appreciate it.

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