Ancient letter: Send more wine

A long time ago, if you wanted to communicate with someone who wasn’t within shouting distance, you had to write something down and have someone physically carry your message to them. Think of it as e-mail, but without the E. And because of one of these cell phone-less text messages, we now know that soldiering in 600 B.C. was thirsty work.

In 1965, archaeologists in modern-day Israel found a shard of a pot with some writing on it. It turned out to be a letter from one soldier to another. (This was ancient times, and pottery was shattering all the time, so using shards for stationery was apparently a common thing.) But since the letter was more than 2,500 years old, the writing had faded a bit. Researchers using modern technology were able to uncover the previously hidden message and it’s a request for more wine. The letter also talks about other goods and a trade, but really hammers home that the author really needs more wine, and the recipient should be a chum and ship him some.

What’s even better is that the soldiers could be talking about beer, not wine. Grapes don’t grow in the Middle East, so it’s more likely that it was an alcoholic drink made from the grains that do grow there, maybe even honey. Translations of these ancient words were done centuries later by people who drank wine because trade was way better and it was a status symbol. They saw some ancient word for an alcoholic beverage and thought “wine,” when it was probably a drink closer to beer.

This shard could be evidence of the first beer run.

World is drinking less, despite Guys’ best efforts

We can’t do this alone, people.

Global alcohol sales were down 1.3% last year, and no one knows why. The world economy has been improving, and global gross domestic product was up 3.1%, which should mean that people around the world have the cash to go boozing, but they just aren’t.

It gets worse. In the U.S., which we don’t need to tell you is still in a craft beer renaissance, beer volumes are dropping because we’re not drinking as much. Over at Big Beer hegemon Anheuser-Busch Inbev, only Budweiser and Bud Light were able to stop the freefall they’ve been in for years.

The good news is that more Americans appear to be drinking liquor again, especially whiskey.

Citizens of the world, The Guys need your help. The brewers and distillers, heck, maybe even the winemakers, of the world are making booze for us to drink. Those bottles aren’t going to empty themselves. Let’s get to work.

Germany builds beer pipeline because Germany

Not even a beer pipeline is immune to tribal protests.

In the future, we won’t have to worry about beer being shipped from point A to point B (even though we all love a beer truck accident). It will just come out of the pipes. We’re pleased to tell you that the future is here, but only in a certain part of Germany.

If you’re planning on going to the Wacken Open Air music festival in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, you’ll be sipping a brew brought to you through a four-mile-long pipeline. The thinking is that there is so much beer consumed at this festival that it’s much easier to move the beer through a buried pipeline than it is to constantly haul in a bunch of kegs.

You ever order a beer when the bar is changing the keg? Imagine that, except the keg line that’s all foamed up is four miles long. You’re going to be waiting a while.

One day we will travel to a beer planet

When scientists make a discovery, they can name that thing pretty much whatever they want. There don’t seem to be any real naming rules for stuff, and that’s how we end up with spiders being named for a hat in Harry Potter. Fortunately, a lot of researchers out there like booze.

A group of researchers at Belgium’s University of Liege are big fans of Trappist beers, so much so that they named a planetary system after them. TRAPPIST-1 is a short 40 light-years away, and has seven Earth-size planets, and three of them could even support life. And now, each of the planets bears the name of a Trappist brewery, such as Chimay, Westmalle and Spencer.

Trappist beers come from monasteries that brew their own beer as a means of financially supporting themselves. They have a certification and everything. It makes sense that a bunch of dudes hanging out for the rest of their lives would figure out how to make beer on the side.

Unfortunately, this means that it’s inevitable that some American scientist will discover the planet Budweiser.

2017: A Booze Odyssey

One small batch for man, one giant beer run for mankind.

The Guys are all about space travel … so long as we work out a few hitches first. Most notably: the distinct lack of sustainable alcohol supplies up there in the void.

Bringing your own vodka with you like a cosmonaut is fine if you only plan to backpack to low Earth orbit for a weekend. But, for extended stays on the moon and beyond? Let’s just say we don’t want to risk over-reliance on resupply missions from an organization that prizes buzzcuts more than getting buzzed. (Yes, we mean you, NASA.)

Fortunately, UC San Diego undergrads are on the space case race. Team Original Gravity, a group of engineering students, hope to win a trip into space to brew our first lunar beer. They are competing for a spot on TeamIndus’ moonlander against 25 other finalists, so they could use our help with sponsorships.

Of course, we’re pulling all support if they go up there and make another g*ddamn IPA. (You’ve been warned, Team OG.)

Budweiser, Keurig want you to make instant beer

If only we could just drink one at a time somehow.

It is truly a wonderful time to be alive. There are thousands of different craft beers released every day–so many that you will never come close to trying them all, because even if you had access and money to buy them all, you’d probably die of some alcohol-related illness. And soon, we could have an instant beer maker.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the world’s largest brewers, and Keurig, maker of the machine that lets you make one cup of coffee at a time, have teamed up to make a machine that makes single-serving beer. This is a genius move. Drinkers have always said that the problem with beer is that it’s not readily available for purchase in single-serving sizes. You have to brew a whole pot of beer and then drink it all. And no one wants to drink more than one beer.

Critics will say there’s no way to make a decent beer instantly, but AB-InBev didn’t make billions of dollars by trying to make decent beers.

Craft beer’s war isn’t with Bud, it’s with bud

Washington state, Oregon and Colorado are home to some of the finest craft breweries in the country, but beer isn’t selling like it used to in those states, thanks to marijuana.

According to a new report, residents in those states are increasingly choosing weed over suds. Legalized marijuana has allowed more choices for those who want a buzz, which means people aren’t picking up as much craft beer as they used to. Data shows that beer sales haven’t matched expectations in the past two years, meanwhile, marijuana sales are high. (GET IT?)

But all this really means is that the brewery that makes a smokable beer will be  very rich.

Drink to heart health

Not that you needed another reason to drink, but here’s another study that said it’s good for you.

According to a Penn State study of 80,000 adults, a beer a day could keep the cardiologist away. Men who had one to two drinks a day, and women who had one daily, generally had a slower natural decline in “good” cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein. That means a lower risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. Researchers noted that the benefits of drinking different forms of alcohol each had benefits, but beer was the best.

These benefits didn’t apply to drinking higher amounts of alcohol, but you’ve stopped reading by now anyway.

Aussie brewers recreate shipwreck beer in time for weekend

What’s better than booze? Shipwreck booze. But that’s really hard to come by for your average Joe. The next best thing is modern booze made to replicate shipwreck booze.

In 1797, the Sydney Cove, a British trading ship, was run aground on an island near Tasmania during a storm. The wreck survived the centuries, and so did its cargo, which included some beer. Now, Australian brewers have made a beer from yeast found in bottles that were on the Sydney Cove.

So if you happen to be in Australia, you can do what the crew likely did during that storm, and slam some brews like there’s no tomorrow.

The McBournie Minute: Get excited for ballot measures

After what seems like a decade, it’s finally here. Americans get to vote tomorrow, and say goodbye to those endless attack ads on TV and those political images with words on them that are always false, but that one friend always shares on Facebook. We made it, everyone!

You’ve known for months who you are voting for, unless you’re an idiot who is somehow still undecided, but do you know how you’re going to vote on the ballot issues? That’s right, folks, ballot measures are back, and they probably will have a more direct and immediate impact on your life.

So let’s take a look at some of the big issues out there. As I did two years ago, I’ll tell you which way you should vote tomorrow. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: Get excited for ballot measures