beer

Megan Silveira / FAPC Communications Services

Researchers at Oklahoma State University are working on turning beer waste into food.

When beer is made, starch and sugars are extracted from the grain, but the solid material is left as waste—nearly 52 pounds for every barrel brewed.

Americans are buying less beer from the country's largest breweries, and that has companies looking for new ways to attract customers.

You can see evidence in the beer aisle, where products like spiked seltzers and hemp-infused ales are aimed at the next generation of drinkers.

Now, 175-year-old Pabst Blue Ribbon is trying hard coffee.

Manuel Sastre can't even believe what's about to happen. He's hot, he's covered in sweat, and he's about to walk out of this Hartford, Conn., liquor store with two six packs of ice cold Medalla Light. It's been way too long.

"Eighteen years," Sastre tells me. "I haven't been in Puerto Rico in 18 years."

But now?

Sastre says it's like "I'm back on my island."

Some who have given up booze altogether join "sober sometimes" friends to enjoy nonalcoholic drinks at Sans Bar in Austin, Texas.
Julia Robinson for NPR

When Athletic Brewing Co. offered its nonalcoholic limited-edition Double Hop IPA for sale online last week, it sold out in 32 seconds.

"We've actually been totally overwhelmed and shocked by how strong the nationwide online demand is," says Bill Shufelt, co-founder of Athletic Brewing Co., which produces only nonalcoholic brews.

The last time Belgium's Grimbergen Abbey brewed beer, the United States was only about 20 years old. But the abbey now plans to make beer again, and for inspiration, it will turn to the original recipes and brewing instructions in its archive of medieval texts.

After it was founded in 1128, the Norbertine abbey's clerics spent centuries making beer. But they were forced to stop when the abbey was destroyed in 1798. Now they want to get back into brewing — and to do it, they're hoping to use secrets they've gleaned from ancient books the abbey managed to preserve.

Two major craft beer companies are joining forces.

Dogfish Head Brewery and The Boston Beer Co. — the maker of Samuel Adams Boston Lager — announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement to merge. The deal, which is expected to close late in the second quarter of this year, is valued at about $300 million in cash and stock.

Booth Brewing, one of South Korea's most visible craft beer producers, doesn't make its beer where Korean beer giants Hite and OB produce their ubiquitous watery lagers. Instead, most of Booth's beers are brewed in Eureka, the California city near the Oregon border most known for redwood trees and marijuana cultivation.

For many decades now, the only beer you could buy in Kansas grocery and convenience stores was limited to 3.2 percent alcohol.

But on Monday, that 3.2 beer became a thing of the past.

"It's a big step for the groceries and the state of Kansas," says Dennis Toney, an executive with Ball's Food Stores. "We've all wanted this for quite some time."

Kansas is one of the last states to do away with this Depression-era alcohol, which looks likely to soon die out altogether.

The "long shadow of Prohibition"

Back in 2010, there were high hopes in Colorado that locally grown hops, the plant that gives beer a bitter or citrusy flavor, would help feed the then-booming craft beer market. In just six years, the industry had sprouted from almost nothing to 200 acres, according to the trade association Hop Growers of America.

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