Sixty years ago today, Elvis Presley received a polio vaccination on national television. That single event is credited with raising immunization levels in the United States from 0.6% to over 80% in just six months.
And now…The Mash!
We begin on the Formula 1 racing circuit, where in the early 1980s, Gordon Murray’s inventive pit crew rigged up a fuel system using pressurized beer kegs that could pump 30 gallons of fuel into a car in just three seconds.
A North Carolina judge was convicted of bribery after offering a deputy sheriff two cases of Bud Light in exchange for his wife’s text messages. The judge later upped his offer to $100.
Two employee-owned breweries, Harpoon Brewery and Odell Brewing Company, have collaborated to brew a beer called EHOP. It’s an oatmeal pale ale.
Vietnam’s government will sell off two state-owned breweries which have a 60-plus-percent market share. Vietnam, with 93 million people, is one of Asia’s top beer-drinking countries.
This week, Britain’s smallest pub—which has room for just three—is offering free beer, but there’s a catch: you can’t use your mobile phones inside the pub.
Indianapolis-based Central State Brewing has something for Harry Potter fans: a sour ale called “Polyjuice Potion”. Its ingredients include plums, elderberries, and “magical bits and bobbles”.
Finally, Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery is making two beers to be enjoyed with single-malt scotches from Highland Park, a distillery in the Orkney Islands. The beers are Rune, a golden oat ale; and Sköll, a roasty ale.
One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, at high noon, thousands of people took part in the Oklahoma Land Rush. Within hours, Oklahoma City and Guthrie had instant populations of 10,000.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Tumwater, Washington, once the home of Olympia Brewing Company. Today, it’s the home of a cluster of legal marijuana growers and processors—including one of the state’s largest.
Peru’s Cerveza San Juan beer brand has replaced the roaring jaguar with barnyard animals on its cans. The reason? The brewery is calling attention to the big cat’s endangered status.
Officials have reinstated beer at the University of Missouri’s “Tiger Prowl”, where graduating seniors eat barbecue, get free merchandise, and get ready to say goodbye to their classmates.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired its eighth craft brewery, Devil’s Backbone of Roseland, Virginia. Established in 2008, Devil’s Backbone has won multiple Great American Beer Festival medals.
The Vietnamese love beer, and craft brewers have begun to enter the market. One new craft is the Pasteur Street Brewing Company, whose founders include Vick’s Florida native John Reid.
Forbes magazine’s Tara Nurin explores “pay-to-play” in beer distribution. Even after a high-profile crackdown in Massachusetts, she says it’s “a common yet whispered business practice”.
Finally, Don Russell aka Joe Sixpack takes us back to the bad old days of Prohibition’s “needle beer”: speakeasy owners injected alcohol into near beer—which was still legal in the 1920s. One customer, who sampled the stuff, compared it to 44-D cough syrup.
On this day in 1872, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in Manhattan. With more than two million works in its permanent collection, “The Met”—not to be confused with baseball mascot “Mr. Met”—is one of the largest art museums in the world.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Turkey, where security guards red-carded a fan for trying to smuggle beer into a soccer stadium. A whole case of bottles, in an outfit he’d designed for that purpose.
The latest trademark fight pits New Belgium Brewing Company and Oasis, Texas Brewing Company, both of which brew a beer called “Slow Ride”. New Belgium filed its mark ahead of Oasis, but Oasis’s beer hit the market first.
Vietnam’s robust drinking culture—there is no word for “hangover”—is raising concerns about health as citizens grow wealthier. A glass of beer costs just 30 U.S. cents.
Screenwriter and director Matthew Vaughn says that Guinness provided the inspiration for Kingsman: The Secret Service. Over pints, Vaughn and comic book maestro Mark Miller came up with the idea of an old-school spy movie.
The popularity of IPA and other craft beer has forced Iowa lawmakers to revisit the definition of “beer”. Beverages with 5 to 8 percent ABV currently exist in a legal twilight zone.
An Austin, Texas, company has developed a product called Kube, which combines a high-quality portable sound system and a beverage cooler. It’s designed to be used at parties and outdoor events.
Finally, Empire Brewing Company is collaborating with China’s Jingwei Fu Tea Company to brew Two Dragons beer. It starts out mellow and woody, and finishes with a sweet tea-like taste. Empire hopes to export it to China.
Hanoi hasn’t made the list of top beer travel destinations, but the Vietnamese capital’s “pavement beer” has become a magnet for foreign visitors. Bia hoi, or keg beer, has a sweet and soft taste; is cheap (4,000 Vietnamese dong, or about 20 cents U.S.); is the perfect beverage for the city’s hot climate; and pairs well with the local street food. The beer shops in Hanoi’s old quarter draw big crowds from early afternoon to late evening.
On this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company was established. In 1892 it merged with the Thomson-Houston Company to become the General Electric Company which, according to Forbes, is now the world’s second-largest corporation. Ludwig says that if you drink a toast to GE, you need not do it with a light beer.
And now…the Mash!
We start with a promotion that might boost America’s puny savings rate. A small bank in Can Tho, Vietnam, is giving a free can of Bitburger to customers who put the equivalent of $385 in a savings account.
Our ancestors drank beer because it was less likely to kill them than water. According to a Toronto Sun medical reporter, that’s still true today.
“Beer bikes,” rolling bars powered by pedaling customers, are now verboten in Duesseldorf after a court there declared them dangerous and a nuisance to other traffic.
All Aboard the Fatty Wagon! It’s an eco-friendly shuttle from Great Lakes Brewing Company to Cleveland Cavaliers games. And you will need a pint or two before watching the Cavs play this season.
Is the Lone Star State the craft beer world’s sleeping giant? Ronnie Crocker of the Houston Chronicle reports on the Texas craft brewing boom.
Finally, some sad news from California. The Hopland Brewery Ale House, Mendocino Brewing Company’s original home, has closed.
Andy Crouch, the Beer Scribe, and his brother, Myk, are back from a round-the-world trip during which, we gather, many beers were consumed. Andy’s latest blog entries introduce us to Vietnam’s beer culture. He’s embedded plenty of video, much of it starring the local brews, typically light- and dark-colored lagers that earned generally good marks.
Their journey began in Saigon (many locals still refuse to call it “Ho Chi Minh City”), where they visited an outpost of the Hoa Vien brewpub chain as well as the Lion Brewery–a choice that Ludwig applauds.
Part Two took place in the small town of Hoi An, where they quaffed one of the local brands at the Sleepy Gecko pub.
The final installment found the brothers in Hanoi where, at one establishment, all the lights were out and the hostess had to wake up from her nap to show them to a table.
Today’s New York Times has an entertaining story about beer travel in Vietnam. Correspondent Russ Juskalian found German-style beer halls in Ho Chi Minh City, now the home to a handful of European-style microbreweries, some of which claim to brew their beer according to the Reinheitsgebot. Even more surprisingly, the regulars at these establishments aren’t European expats but young Vietnamese professionals.
In Hanoi, Juskalian got acquainted with bia hoi, Vietnamese for “gas beer.” It’s “an unpasteurized, unpreserved brew made before the sun rises, and often imbibed before the sun sets.” The locals consume this beer in vast quantities, and why not? A pint of it costs about 16 cents. It’s low in alcohol and consumed in establishments described as “a remarkably consistent mash-up of the children’s section of Ikea and the ultimate in street-life voyeurism.”
On a cold February day, it warms our hearts to know that 10,000 miles away from our local brewpub, in a country with a different language and culture, people are socializing over pints of beer.