Yesterday was National Beer Day. In recent years, National Beer Day has grown as commercialized as Christmas, with all sorts of promotions, festivals, and special offers attached to it. But we prefer to celebrate it in the traditional manner, like our grandfathers would have celebrated it had it not been invented in 2009 on Facebook: By drinking Grain Belts from dawn, urinating prolifically, and complaining about progress.
Around the fourth or fifth pitcher, our conversation focused on the current state of craft brewing in the U.S., which, to our palates, has essentially devolved into the current state of craft marketing. There are nearly 2500 craft breweries in the U.S. now — an increase of more than 1000 in under a decade. And we fear that all this rapid growth has led to a craft brewing bubble, a gold rush of sorts, with more and more "brewers" looking to cash in on the craze by slapping a silly name onto the same overly-hopped plonk.
Indeed, we think some of these places spend more time crafting authentic, artisanal-sounding names than they do crafting beer.
This isn't the web's first Craft Beer Name Generator, but we believe it's the best due to our proprietary brewing recipe: take a flavoring or preparation technique, add a yoga pose or bicycle part, and finish with a beer type. So, in an instant craft breweries can achieve memorable, brandable names and focus instead on making actual beer, instead of vats of isomerized alpha acid. A few examples:
Traditional weather reports are good as far as they go. But if you're in the midst of a killer heat wave, or a tornado is headed your way, you don't just want to know the current temperature or what the wind chill factor is. You want more information. Like what geographically relevant cocktail to drink. And that's what Pourcast provides. You're welcome.
You can't just create an app like this with coding. It took some traveling. And many all-night bouts of cocktailing. In the midst of our development efforts, we started experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome from all the repetitive glass-lifting we were doing. So there are still improvements to make. But we think this is a good first pass at pairing the proper cocktail with your location's temperature, cloud cover, and precipitation.
Pourcast defaults to Minneapolis. But you can use it for any city on earth (including places where alcohol consumption is illegal, so watch your step). Here, for example, are a flight of cities that start with "P" expertly matched with cocktails that complement the weather conditions that were in effect when we made this chart.
68° Partly Cloudy
82° Partly Cloudy
61° Partly Cloudy
So give it a try. When a drink is recommended, click on the link for the recipe.
How do I keep my dress shirts tucked in to like a model? Shirts look great in photos and then they get all puffy and bunched up around the waist in no time flat. —James
A: Roughly 66 percent of American men are overweight and about 25 percent are obese. Meanwhile, 100 percent of male models either have a six-pack, anemia, or both. (Plus-sized models are a strictly female phenomenon as far as we know.)
But while off-the-rack shirtmakers are happy to perpetuate oppressive ideals of masculinity (yes, we're totally joking) when creating their print ads, catalogs, and websites, they have to tailor their shirts to that tubby 66 percent if they want to make any money. If you're fit, which it sounds like you are, these shirts are going to make you look like you finished third in the latest season of The Biggest Loser (i.e., you lost some weight, but not enough to finish in the money and purchase a new wardrobe).
What we've been getting into since our feature on custom dress shirts is, well, custom dress shirts. Our current fave is Chicago-based Deo Veritas run by Vinnie Sikka. They've got top quality fabrics and construction, and we've tweaked our dimensions to perfection, which for us is slim through the torso but leaving just enough excess to easily achieve artful dishevelment.
Since doing our custom shirt feature this spring, we've become big fans of this product. If Santa put a few bucks in your stocking and you're in need of a shirt or two, here's an update:
*Deo Veritas is offering 20% off any order of two or more shirts with code 2FOR20. They made our favorite shirt and it showed up in just 12 days. Be sure to pay the extra $9 for the sewn collar option. (Deo Veritas is an MB sponsor. --Ed.)
* After giving owner Fan Bi some grief for a couple of poly blends, Blank Label has stepped up its game and added 40 new, 100% cotton fabrics and kept the price at $45. This is almost without doubt the cheapest way to try out custom shirting. (Blank Label was an MB sponsor. --Ed.)
From gourmet scooping ketchup to a personal cask of single malt whisky, the 2010 MB Gift Guide is here. But it's not all food and drink. If you have the dough, we definitely recommend you buy him an Original Kilburg Geochron (in brushed stainless steel), an invention second only to TV's yellow first down line in awesomeness. Tomorrow the holiday cocktailing guide. Thursday the MB mistress guide.
Chicago-based Deo Veritas, the place that made our favorite and also most versatile shirt, has simplified their shirt designer tool (our biggest beef with DV), and added some higher-end Thomas Mason fabrics ($138) and a few entry-level Japanese fabrics ($69) for those wanting to dip their toe into custom shirts. Even for toe-dippers, we strongly recommend spending $9 for the sewn-collar upgrade.
Manhattan-based Biased Cut, which made the best fitting shirt, has released a measuring "how-to" video set to a Django Reinhardt contemporary Oscar Alemán's Tango. Follow the instructions -- preferably with the help of a cute tailor -- and you will get a well-fitting shirt.
Q: Been looking at Biased Cut ever since you posted the Custom Shirt Reviews. What do you recommend as far as collars? I like the look of the spread collar as it seems more modern. Did you order any spread collared shirts? --Mark
A: No, we didn't order any spread collar shirts for a couple of reasons:
2. 95 out of 100 guys look better with a point-style collar. It's similar to striped shirts, with point collars equalling vertical stripes and spread collars equalling horizontal stripes. If you're the rare man who needs his face fattened, a spread collar can work. If you're not, point collars are a much better bet.
Q: I am starting my internship this summer. What dress shirt colors do you recommend? And what type of patterns are acceptable and go well with which color? --Garvin
A: Garvin, it's sounds like you're not only new to the world of work, but maybe also new to the world of getting dressed. So we recommend that you keep things simple. Get a white shirt and a blue shirt. Either will go with any suit, tie, or pants you own.
If you're looking for specific recommendations, check out our custom shirt feature. While Chicago's Deo Veritas made our favorite shirt in Carolina Blue Gingham, don't venture into checks until you land a job. We've gotten great reader feedback on Biased Cut shirts and they make a basic white and basic blue. Theirs was the best-fitting shirt of the ones we reviewed, and they'll even send you a complimentary measuring tape if you don't have one to take your measurements. Just be sure you're OK with the central back pleat (which we like), and request a non-fused collar with 1/4" stitching.
A: This season J. Crew doubled down on gingham shirts, with loads of casual options to choose from for $59.50. And nice. For $25 more -- still less than typical custom shirt prices -- we definitely recommend looking at the Deo Veritas gingham (pictured). It's custom made to your measurements and collar/cuff/pocket/placket specifications, and by choosing the sewn (vs. fused) collar you're getting a dress shirt that can moonlight as a first-rate casual shirt.
Ed. note: For gingham enthusiasts with thicker wallets than Mark, check out Alexander West (and see our review, too). No fewer than 18 different ginghams to choose from, and if you ask nicely, CEO/founder Alex Yoo will make your shirt with a sewn collar, and you can choose the thickness of the interlining.
The number one downside of online shopping? You don't get to try stuff on before you buy it. Going custom mitigates this factor. If you know how to use a measuring tape, you can, in theory at least, order away without having to wonder if the item in question will fit you better in medium or large. Consequently, the online custom shirt-making business is booming. Which of the many purveyors out there has the greatest selection of options? Which has the easiest ordering process? How fast do they deliver and do their products measure up to their promises? We decided to do some investigative shopping. Here's what we found.
A hundred years from now, will the iPad be known only as the second most revolutionary invention to make its debut during the first week of April 2010? We'd like to think so, but then again, we're still kind of drunk.
After seven weeks of pitting 32 cocktails against each other in head-to-head combat, we've finally got a winner: Bryan Swanson's Magnificent Bastard cocktail. See complete details.
We toast all who submitted entries, all who judged, and our sponsor KegWorks. Stay tuned for our next contest, which will, at the insistence of our synapses, involve coffee as well as alcohol.