Winter Beer Festival

The Friday Mash (MTV Edition)

On this day in 1981, MTV began broadcasting in America. Pay attention to this factoid, because it comes up often in pub trivia: MTV’s first video was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Ian Hughes, a brewmaster at Goose Island Brewing Company, is trying to educate people about the importance of clean water, the main ingredient in Goose Island beers.

Canadian actor Seth Rogan got to fulfill his dream of drinking beer from the Stanley Cup. P.K. Subban, who plays for the Montreal Canadiens, earned an assist for pouring beer into the trophy.

The list of exotic ingredients in beer now includes seaweed. Marshall Wharf Brewing Company adds 66 pounds of Maine sugar kelp to 200 gallons of its Scotch ale to brew a batch of Sea Belt Ale.

In Indiana, a newly-passed law lifts the 67-year-old ban on beer at the State Fair, which opens today. Last call is at 8 pm, and fair-goers will be limited to three 12-ounce beers.

Tech companies in Boston are using craft beer to attract and retain talented employees. Journalist Dennis Keohane decided to investigate the tap selection at some of the area’s leading companies.

In San Francisco, a woman in the outfield seats got a rude surprise: a home run ball landed in her beer. Not only was she soaked with beer and out $8, but someone else wound up with the baseball.

Finally, the Michigan Brewers Guild has responded to heavy demand for tickets to the annual Winter Beer Festival by adding an evening session to next year’s event in Grand Rapids.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Days until Founders Brewing Company releases Kentucky Breakfast Stout at its tap room: 28.
  • What Founders charges for a 12-pack of KBS: $62 (includes the $5 charge for a release ticket).
  • Highest reported bid on eBay for a release ticket: over $500.
  • Beer brands owned by AB InBev and SABMiller: 210.
  • Countries in which those brands are headquartered: 42.
  • Number of monks at St. Sixtus Abbey in Vleteren, Belgium: 21.
  • St. Sixtus’s annual production of Westvleteren 12: about 4,200 barrels.
  • Price of a six-pack of Westvleteren at the abbey: $27 U.S.
  • Percent of Myanmar’s males who call themselves “drinkers”: 50.
  • Percent who say they have five or more drinks daily: 25.
  • Germany’s beer consumption last year: 82.3 million barrels.
  • Percent of that beer that was served with cola and juice: 4.5.
  • Estimated cost of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival: $175,000.
  • Cost of the beer itself: $90,000.
  • The Guild’s profit margin on the festival: 30 percent.
  • The Friday Mash (Five and Dime Edition)

    On this day in 1879, Frank Woolworth opens the first of many Woolworth stores in In Utica, New York. He unwittingly inspired the Marx Brothers’ routine in which Rufus T. Firefly suggested that Chicolini be given “ten years in Leavenworth, or 11 years in Twelveworth”; and Chicolini responded, “I’ll take five and ten in Woolworth.”

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Florida, where a 45-year-old law, passed as part of a turf war among big brewers, has the unintended effect of banning the sale of growlers. Lawmakers are trying to fix that.

    FirstWeFeast.com has compiled a list of 12 celebrities who ought to be spokespersons for craft beer. They include Kat Dennings, the cast of How I Met Your Mother, and, of course, President Barack Obama.

    You can buy a beer at many college basketball arenas, including seven of the 20 largest. Beer sales can bring in money through concession revenues, added ticket sales, or both.

    Beer and video games have always gone together, but an arcade fighting game called Beercade goes one step farther. It rewards the winning combatant with a cup of beer.

    To celebrate their city’s Beer Week, the San Francisco Brewers Guild has rolled out “Green Death”, a malt liquor inspired by the 50s-60s version of Rainier Ale. Paper bag not included.

    Don’t expect Anheuser-Busch to advertise this anytime soon. According to a nationwide survey, beer is the favorite beverage of underage drinkers and Budweiser is their favorite brand.

    Finally, if you have a ticket to tomorrow’s Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids, John Serba of MLive.com has some friendly advice: dress warmly for 33-degree temperatures and snow flurries.

    Going…Going…Gone!

    On Saturday, tickets went on sale for the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids. The online allocation is already sold out, but a limited number of tickets are available at select breweries, bars, and stores.

    The festival will take place February 23.

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