Pumpkin Tap turns pumpkin or watermelon into keg

The Pumpkin Tap turns hollowed-out pumpkins and watermelons into drink dispensers! I think most any beer faucet and shank would work, but this is a fun idea. Read the rest

Amazing beer wall map

Advertised as "the most complete charting of beer ever," Pop Chart Lab's 60" x 40" wall chart is printed on 100lb archival stock and is available for pre-order at $80. [via FastCo] Read the rest

Brewbot: Kickstarting an Arduino-based automated brewing system

Jonny sez, "I'm Jonny, from Belfast in Ireland. I was just at XOXO and I've spent over a year working on a project to make brewing simple, accessible, and beautiful. The appliance can be monitored and controlled with your smartphone; it's called Brewbot." Read the rest

Join Rob at the Tour de Fat on August 31 in Fort Collins, CO

Sponsor message: This post is brought to you by Fat Tire. Pairs Well With People.

In two weeks, our own Rob Beschizza will be headed to the Fort Collins leg of the 14th annual Tour de Fat, the all-ages festival series put on by our sponsor New Belgium Brewing, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale.

It begins on Saturday, August 31, with a bicycle parade through the streets of Fort Collins, Colorado—a ride that traditionally features all sorts of colorful costumes. Then everyone heads to Civic Center Park, where Reggie Watts, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Dragondeer and others will put on a show for 20,000 attendees.

The brewery's flagship Fat Tire will be at the show, along with summer seasonal Rolle Bolle and other selections. This doesn't just make the locals happy: the Tour raised $79,000 last year for local non-profits.

Admission to the park is free of charge, parade attendees can donate $5, if they please, and the beer is $5 a pint.

For more on the full 12-city tour, the Tour de Fat credo, and the chance to swap your car for a "fancy new bicycle," visit facebook.com/TourDeFat

TL;DR: Rob is paid to drink beer. Read the rest

Ancient Grumpy Cat LOLs

Yesterday, guest blogger Madeleine Johnson had a story here about a piece of ancient Peruvian pottery — in the shape of a very grumpy little cat. If you haven't read her story, you really should. It's all about the great cat memes of ancient history and how archaeologists can use clues from an artwork to track down who made it, where, and when.

My friend Andrew was kind enough to adapt Ancient Grumpy Cat into the form of a modern cat meme. That's his picture above. Madeleine and I also put together another one, based on Ancient Grumpy Cat's probable history as a ceremonial mug for drinking a corn beer called chicha: Read the rest

Map of local word for "beer" in each European country

(Click to embiggen)

Feòrag NicBhrìde has provided us with a vital cartographic reference: a map of Europe showing the word for "beer" in each country.

The Essential Map of Europe and Environs. (Thanks, Charlie!) Read the rest

Brew your own Bendërbrāu

Over in the /r/homebrewing subreddit, user hatchetthrower has recreated one of my favorite fictional brews: Bendërbrāu, a homebrewed beer from Futurama made entirely inside Bender the robot's chassis. The recipe for the clone is pretty dead on: it's a steam beer as suggested by the label in the show, uses space-aged sounding Zythos hops (Galaxy was out of stock), and Rush 2112 yeast because Rush is one of Fry's favorite bands.

Check out the rest of the discussion on Reddit, as well as this Bender fermenter build for ultrafans. Read the rest

The art and science of beer: a video feature on the "Pope of Foam"

"How Beer Saved The World," "Why I Tease Those Wine Guys," and "How Bird Poop Makes A More Aromatic Belgian Beer" are but a few tidbits.

Kegs and cans have an advantage over glass

The science of skunked beer — or why clear glass bottles are the bane of brew. Read the rest

Free beer for life (and a Nobel Prize)

I'm trying to decide which is more awesome: That a Danish beer company once had a laboratory that did research in protein chemistry and funded independent scientists ... or that said beer company gave Niels Bohr an unlimited, in-home beer supply as a gift in honor of Bohr winning the Nobel Prize. (Via Charlie Papazian) Read the rest

Klein bottle bottle opener

Yes, it's $72. But this 3-D printed metal sculpture/bottle opener is fantastic. And so is its marketing copy.

The problem of beer That it is within a 'bottle', i.e. a boundaryless compact 2-manifold homeomorphic to the sphere. Since beer bottles are not (usually) pathological or "wild" spheres, but smooth manifolds, they separate 3-space into two non-communicating regions: inside, containing beer, and outside, containing you. This state must not remain.

Read the rest of the product description and, you know, maybe buy the bottle opener, too. If you're feeling spendy.

Via Cliff Pickover

Read the rest

Sequencing of barley genome could have implications for home brewers

When scientists from the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Germany sequenced the genome of barley, they were thinking primarily about the impact on food. Understanding the genetics behind certain traits could help us breed barley varieties that have built-in resistance against disease, or that contain more fiber. (Contrary to popular understanding, there's actually a lot of overlap between what we might think of as genetic engineering and what we might think of as breeding. Crop researchers can use genome maps to select specific plants to cross pollinate, enabling them to reliably breed a trait into a new variety much faster than was previously possible.)

But, this is barley. And we don't just eat barley. With this plant, sequencing the genome also has implications for the way we brew beer. At Popular Science, Martha Harbison explains what we're learning about barley's genetic code and why it matters in beer making. In particular, she says it's significant that the researchers sequenced the genomes of more than one variety of barley.

Why should aspiring homebrewers care? Because two-row and six-row barley behave slightly differently in the mash, which can have profound effects on brewing efficiency and characteristics of the finished beer (a complex phenomenon I'll get into in a future column). I figured anyone nerdulent enough to want to know about genetic differences of cultivars would be curious as to which kind of barley was used in the single-nucleotide-variation study.

Read the rest of the story at Popular Science

You can read more about the surprisingly complex world of plant breeding in two articles I wrote — one for Popular Science, and one for Discover. Read the rest

Wife-carrying champion defends title

Taisto Miettinen and Kristina Haapanen are once again wife-carrying world champions, writes Scott Thistle at the Oxford Hills Sun-Journal: "The prize, besides a check for $530 ... is the winning woman's weight in beer." [The complete leaderboard] Read the rest

The champagne of national unity

According to a survey of 200,000 Americans, Miller High Life is the most bi-partisan of beers. Republicans favor Samuel Adams and, apparently, there are a lot of Democrats drinking Heineken. (Although one might argue that these results are heavily skewed, as the survey did not include either microbrews or microparties. God only knows what the Libertarians are drinking.) There's a chart. Yay, charts! (Via Kevin Zelnio) Read the rest

The shape of your beer mug might help explain why you get drunk so fast

In a recent study at the University of Bristol, young people drank beer faster when it was served to them in a curved, fluted glass. It's a small study, but the researchers think it could be a first clue toward understanding why we sometimes get more drunk than we meant to do. Researchers found it was difficult for people to judge volume of liquid in a curved glass, which might mean it's also harder to pace drinking. (Via Noah Gray) Read the rest

Hermetus Bottle Opener and Sealer

I often make my own beer at a local brew-it-yourself taproom (props to The Brew Kettle). The bottles we use are 22-ounces, so drinking one is almost like drinking two. Often times I'll end up drinking more than I wanted or drinking none at all (oh, the horror).

Stumbled across the Hermetus Bottle Opener and Sealer while looking for a Father's Day gift for my dad. Bought one for him, a couple guys in the brew group, and myself. To create an airtight seal simply slip it over the top of the bottle. It works perfectly.

Drank half a bottle one night then sealed it and put it in the fridge. Drank remaining half the second night, and it tasted the same and still had a nice head on it. I love the simplicity of the design!

-- Mark Prasek

Hermetus Bottle Opener and Sealer$9

Available from Kaufmann Mercantile

Manufactured by Monopol Read the rest

Nicest "get bent, you jerky lawyer" letter ever

Themac sez, "Fantastic response to a cease and desist. I was particularly impressed at whom they cc'ed." This may be the nicest "go screw yourself" letter ever sent.

The backdrop: The San Antonio, Texas based Freetail Brewing Co. received a cease and desist letter from the Steelhead Brewing Co. (based out of Eugene, Oregon) demanding that they stop using “Hopasaurus Rex” as a name for one of their beers.

Best letter ever written to a Lawyer Read the rest