Beer News Flows Through the Holidays

Suds with a sack of sliders? White Castle is testing beer and wine sales at one of its stores in Indiana. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

White Castle burger chain considers alcohol sales

The holidays are normally a slow time for news, which is why so many media outlets resort to year-end “listicles” to tide you over. Not so with beer news, apparently, which came at a furious pace this week. Here’s a recap of what you may have missed from around the country:

• A federal judge in Texas struck down a longtime Lone Star State statute that required breweries to label any beer containing more than 4 percent alcohol by weight “ale” (anything less could be called “beer”). As any beer geek will tell you, all ales are beers, but not all beers are ales (some are lagers). So it was silly that brewers of, say, a Vienna lager had to put “Ale in Texas” on the beer’s label. Not anymore. Calling the requirement a restriction on commercial speech, Judge Sam Sparks compared the antiquated law to “defining the word ‘milk’ to mean ‘a nocturnal flying mammal that eats insects and employs echolocation.’ ” Props to Judge Sparks for making me Google “echolocation,” and to Austin, Texas, craft brewery Jester King, which helped champion the litigation against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

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