Virginia

The Friday Mash (“Sell High” Edition)

On this day in 2000, the Nasdaq Composite stock market index peaked at 5132.52, thanks to investors who bid up dot.com shares to astronomically high prices. Those who didn’t take profits got a nasty surprise: the Nasdaq fell by more than 50 percent by year’s end.

And now….The Mash!

Fittingly, we begin on Wall Street, where big breweries’ stocks haven’t been doing well. According to SeekingAlpha.com, the only company whose shares are trading near their 52-week high is Kirin Holdings Company.

Congress is considering a bill that would cut taxes for small brewers. The bill’s supporters contend that lower taxes would enable breweries to expand production, add jobs, and attract more visitors.

Session IPA is popular, but opinions vary as to its definition. Draft magazine has published a scale which shows how much these IPAs vary in alcoholic strength and, especially, perceived bitterness.

A few years ago, Emily Hengstebeck and her friends partied together at beer festivals. Now employed by a brewery, she found herself on the other side of the table. She describes what it’s like.

More than 7,000 CraftBeer.com readers filled out a survey asking them what was their state’s favorite beer bar, and why they liked it. Without further ado, here are the winners in each state.

It’s still “Miller Time” in Chicago. According to BevSpot, Miller has a more than 8-percent market share in the Windy City, more than twice the brand’s market share nationwide.

Finally, a Virginia brewery will release a beer honoring Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner, at a birthday celebration this month. The horse was nicknamed “Big Red”; the beer is an imperial red India pale ale.

The Friday Mash (Income Tax Edition)

On this day in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment, which authorized a federal income tax, was ratified by the states. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you’ll have an extra three days to file your federal return this year.

And now….The Mash!

We begin on the Moon, where beer might be brewed someday. Wort and beer yeast will be placed aboard a lunar lander to find out whether the yeasts stay viable under lunar conditions.

The latest must-have accessory is the Drink Tanks growler. It looks like a piece of industrial camping equipment, and can keep up to two gallons of beer fresh for 24 hours.

Now that on-demand streaming has replaced records, classic rock bands—along with a few newcomers—are turning to branded beer as a way of monetizing their intellectual property.

Boulevard Brewing Company has added American Kolsch to its core lineup, which also includes Unfiltered Wheat, Pale Ale, and KC Pils. It debuted this week at Kansas City-area establishments.

Scientists are exploring sensation transference, the phenomenon that explains why listening to a pleasant soundtrack causes you to perceive the beer you’re drinking as sweeter.

Richmond, Virginia-based Veil Brewing Company has released Hornswoggler with Oreos, a chocolate milk stout conditioned with hundreds of pounds of the famous cookies.

Finally, Guinness really might be good for you. Researchers have linked iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, and Guinness is rich in iron. In addition, Guinness supposedly contains antioxidants and suppresses the accumulation of “bad” cholesterol.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Number of beers ordered by Bristol Motor Speedway for last Saturday’s Tennessee-Virginia Tech game: 545,000.
  • Attendance at that game: 156,990.
  • Ohio’s brewery count: 180.
  • Percent of Ohio breweries that intend to make 12-percent-plus beer now that the ABV cap has been lifted: 10.
  • Increase in 2016 craft beer sales over 2015 sales: 6 percent (compared to 19 percent the year before).
  • Percentage of top-ten craft breweries with lower sales this year than last: 50.
  • Decline in Samuel Adams Boston Lager sales from 2015 to this year: 13.8.
  • Tsingtao Brewery Company’s net income in the first half of 2016: 1.07 billion yuan ($160 million).
  • Change from the first half of 2015: Down 11 percent.
  • Number of tickets Toppling Goliath brewery issued for its Mornin’ Delight imperial stout: 500.
  • Number of people who logged onto Toppling Goliath’s website to buy Mornin’ Delight tickets: 80,000.
  • Average annual salary for assistant brewers at small breweries: $30,000-$40,000.
  • Average annual salary for head brewers at small breweries: $35,000-$47,000.
  • Style categories in this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition: 96.
  • Breweries expected to compete in this year’s GABF: 1,600.
  • Devil’s Backbone Catches Hell

    On Saturday, the fifth annual Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival will take place at Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company amid controversy.

    Devil’s Backbone is being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev. This means it will no longer qualify as a “craft brewery” making it ineligible to compete in the Virginia Craft Beer Cup, even though its Schwarzbier is a three-time Best of Show winner. In fact, this year’s awards ceremony was pulled from the festival, and will take place at a different venue.

    The A-B deal also means that Devil’s Backbone will no longer host the Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival. The state’s Craft Brewers Guild has decided to stage the 2017 event at a location to be determined. Meanwhile, Devil’s Backbone will host a new event as part of next year’s calendar of festivals and parties. The brewery says that it won’t conflict with the Craft Brewer’s Festival.

    The Friday Mash (Cleveland Rocks Edition)

    Two hundred and twenty years ago today, surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company named an area in Ohio “Cleveland” after General Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party. The city’s first “a” later vanished when a newspaper publisher couldn’t fit it on the masthead.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in space, the final frontier. Shmaltz Brewing is celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary with two “collector’s edition” Golden Anniversary beers:”The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Voyage to the Northeast Quadrant”.

    “Foraging”—combing local fields and forests for ingredients—is a foodie trend that breweries are just starting to join. VinePair’s Kathleen Wilcox profiles two of them and the people who own them.

    Here’s one SEC title the Alabama Crimson Tide won’t be winning: best craft beer city in the conference. The honor belongs to Athens, Georgia, the home of the Bulldogs.

    The Beer Institute, whose member companies control 80 percent of the American market, has agreed to put nutritional information—including calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat—on beer labels.

    It wasn’t exactly Smokey and the Bandit, but a beer distributor picked up his first allotment of Deschutes beer in Bend, Oregon, and drove it cross-country to Salem, Virginia.

    Africa is a challenging market for breweries. They’ve responded by stepping up production of beer using local ingredients and rolling out low-cost alternatives to their flagship brands.

    Finally, a London-based company is the first to brew beer using artificial intelligence. It uses an algorithm called Automated Brewing Intelligence to collect customer feedback via a Facebook Messenger bot, then uses the feedback to improve the recipes of its beer.

    Beer on the Appalachian Trail

    If you’ve ever hiked the Appalachian Trail, or seen the film A Walk in the Woods, about the last thing you’d associate with hiking the AT is craft beer. However, Allyson Hester not only hiked the entire length of the Trail, but also found breweries at least within hitch-hiking distance.

    One such brewery is the year-old Lazy Hiker Brewing Company in Franklin, North Carolina, a community that caters to passing hikers—especially those taking a day or two off from the Trail.

    Farther north in Virginia, the Devils Backbone Brewing Company offers hot breakfast to hikers, and is in the process of getting the required permits to offer primitive camping. It also has an outdoor bar with mountain views and an enormous patio with an oversized fire pit.

    In Maine, the AT winds through eight national forests and two national parks. Near the northern terminus is the Kennebec River Brewery, where hikers can spend some downtime with their “trail family” before heading home.

    Hester offers these words of wisdom to would-be hikers: “No single can tastes better than the one you lugged for miles up a mountain summit to enjoy while watching a magical sunset”.

    The Friday Mash (Boomer Sooner Edition)

    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.

    Is Competition Hurting “Savor”?

    For years, Savor has been the gold standard of beer festivals in Washington, D.C., and one of the nation’s most important festivals. It attracts some of the biggest names in beer—both breweries and craft beer celebrities—and has consistently been one of the toughest festival tickets. However, tickets for this year’s edition of Savor are moving more slowly. As of last Saturday, general-admission tickets to the June 3-4 event are still available.

    Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post offers an explanation: Competition from other festivals near the nation’s capital. They include last Saturday’s DC Beer Fest at Nationals Park; May’s Maryland Beer Festival in Frederick; and the Americana Beer Fest in Leesburg, Virginia, in June. Those events don’t boast the beer community’s A-listers, but the price of admission is much smaller.

    What can Savor do to remain in the top tier? Currently, Savor uses a random lottery to choose the breweries that will pour. Hahn urges organizers to set aside more invitations to hand-picked breweries. He observes, “As much as a spot at Savor will raise the profile of a tiny brewery in the Great Lakes region, the people buying tickets for the tasting would be more interested in trying something from Minneapolis’s well-regarded Surly Brewing, which was one of the first breweries to run out of beer in 2015 but didn’t get in this year”.

    George Washington and Beer

    Happy Washington’s Birthday, everyone! Those of a certain age remember it being an actual federal holiday, and a day on which people lined up outside stores in hopes of buying heavily marked-down TV sets.

    Earlier this month, I ran across an article on Mount Vernon’s website about George Washington and beer. Even though he did little brewing himself, he loved beer, especially if it was strong and hoppy. He bought plenty of it to treat voters when he ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and served it to his guests at Mount Vernon. At first, he bought his beer from both local and English brewers, but bad experiences with imported beer during the 1760s contributed to his growing belief that America should become self-sufficient.

    Beer played a role in the American Revolution. General Washington needed large quantities of beer because both his officers and soldiers demanded it. In February 1780, when the Continental Army was holed up in winter quarters in Morristown, New Jersey, the beer supply ran out and morale plummeted. Fortunately, Washington’s aide-de-camp was able to buy some, and the sated soldiers were once again determined to see the revolution through.

    After the war, Washington followed a strict “buy American” policy. His favorite provider was Robert Hare, Jr., of Philadelphia, whose porter he enjoyed. Unfortunately, Hare’s brewery burned down in 1790. That disaster taught Washington a lesson: hedge against future shortages by hoarding large quantities.

    The Friday Mash (Luxury Car Edition)

    One hundred and thirty years ago, German engineer Karl Benz patented the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. He and his wife, Bertha, founded Mercedes-Benz, now a division of Daimler AG, headquartered in Stuttgart—the home of Germany’s “other” famous beer festival.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Flint, Michigan, whose water supply in contaminated with lead. Flint’s aptly-named Tenacity Brewery, assures that its beer is lead free—and is donating $1 per pint to the city’s children.

    Here are eight things to know about hard root beer, including how it began; who owns the companies that make it; and how many calories (300) are in a 12-ounce bottle.

    AC Shilton of Outside magazine has an answer to the beer can shortage: growlers. They environmentally friendly, don’t contain the chemical BPA, and support your local brewery.

    Virginia restaurant-goers are allowed to bring their own wine into restaurants if they pay corkage. Now state lawmakers are considering a bill that would give beer drinkers the same option.

    Bar owners are negotiating with city officials over the Chicago Cubs’ plan to build a plaza outside Wrigley Field. They’re afraid of losing business, especially if the plaza sells cheap beer.

    Brooklyn’s Pop Chart Lab has created 99 Bottles of Craft Beer on the Wall. After sampling a beer, the drinker takes out a coin and scratches off the gilt foil “emptying” the bottle while retaining the label.

    Finally, Woody Chandler, the man who shows up at festivals wearing a Rasputin beard and a monk’s robe, has posted his 7,000th check-in on Untappd, including 2,000 in 2015 alone. That translates into more than five new beers per day.

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