AI Is Now Deciding The Names Of Craft Beers

The marriage of craft beer and AI is finally here, just when you thought a news story couldn’t get any more ‘millennial’. Researcher and electrical engineer Janelle Shane has put her desirable skill set to good use, creating a neural network with the capacity to christen various types of craft beer.

The AI machine learns from a dataset encompassing 90 types of beer (not brands – we’re talking ‘euro dark lagers’ to ‘English mild ales’ and everything in between), all selected from Beer Advocate, a website branding itself as a “global, grassroots network, powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.”

This isn’t Shane’s first venture into the world of neural network naming machines. She’s used AI to name a host of entities; amongst the most memorable are paint colors, metal bands, and guinea pigs (Hanger Dan, anyone!?)

In her blog, Shane explains that different categories of beer actually have their own naming conventions. So you should, in theory, be able to tell your wheat beer from your amber ale from your stout just according to the name. Once the 90 types of beer had been grouped into broader, more manageable categories, Shane set the neural network to work on each of these, and the names that emerged were actually very viable.

For IPAs, the neural network conjured names such as ‘Yampy’, ‘Earth Pump’, ‘Cockamarin Hard IPA’, and ‘Bigly Bomb Session IPA’. Strong Pale Ales were similarly weird and wonderful: ‘The Great Rebelgion’, Sip’s The Stunks Belgian Tripel’, and ‘Gunde of Traz’. The Amber Ales were graced with titles like ‘Fire Pipe’ and ‘The Hunty’. As for the stouts, ‘Sir Coffee’ and ‘Barrel Aged Chocolate Milksmoke’ certainly spoke to me.

Some were perhaps a little too meandering – or downright bizarre – to be craft beer names. Fancy ordering a ‘Thrennt Rem Wine Barrel Aged Monkay Tripel’ at your local. Or perhaps you’re more of an ‘Oarahe Momnila Day Revenge Bass Cornationn Yerve Of Aterid Ale’ kinda bloke. My personal favourite is ‘Spulgican’s Chocolate Coconut Pamper’ – you know, for that ‘Champneys meets Harry Potter’ kind of vibe all the kids are lusting after.

If you’ve ever wanted a working definition of irony, this is it: bots – and machine making – have been playing an increasingly prevalent role in the world of craft. And that’s not just confined to craft beer, either, although UK brewery IntelligentX actually uses machine learning to cultivate the taste of its beer. In the past few years, bots have cropped up in the art world, such as back in 2016 when arts organisation Abandon Normal Devices (AND) instigated a bot takeover of Somerset House, featuring spectacles such as a ‘Big Data Pawn Shop’, a gift shop plugging auto-generated garments emblazoned with leaked NSA documents. Artist Sam Lavigne also does some interesting, more politicized work with bots – for example, manipulating bots to decipher the keywords in big US news debates, and editing the videos so the keywords are repeatedly uttered.

Then again, part of the reason bots are so popular is their playful appeal, à la Janelle Shane’s latest endeavor. If, like me, this is right up your street, you can sign up here and Shane will email you a PDF of 100 more beer names, including, she mentions proudly, ‘the inevitable beer named Fart’.

The Dry Ager Dry Aging Fridge

That delicious cut you had last time you visited your favorite steakhouse? It was most likely dry aged. Now you can get the same delectable results at home with the Dry Ager Dry Aging Fridge. It combines precise temperature, humidity, and airflow control to ensure proper aging, while an active carbon filter and ventilated disinfection system sterilize the air every minute and keep germs and bacteria at bay. Built entirely in Germany, it comes in two sizes to handle up to 44 or 220 pounds of meat at a time.

Oscar Mayer Wiener Drone Designed To Make It Rain Hot Dogs

It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, and it definitely isn’t Superman: Oscar Mayer is adding a drone to its Wienermobile fleet, one that the company says will drop hot dogs on hungry, Earthbound customers below — one wiener at a time.

The drone is 15 inches wide (without propellers), 24 inches long, and weighs about six pounds. It can fly for up to 15 minutes — around a mile total — carrying a single hot dog at an altitude of 1,200 feet.

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The WienerDrone — joined by fellow newcomer, the WienerCycle — will debut its hot-dog dropping capabilities in Weiner, AR, on the Fourth of July, Oscar Mayer says, as part of a campaign promoting its overhauled hot dogs. The dogs are now free of all added nitrates, nitrites, by-products, and artificial preservatives.

It’s unclear whether or not these drones will also dispense condiments.

According to the company, the WienerDrone is the first unmanned hot dog-carrying aircraft designed for remote location delivery. However, it’s worth noting that the Phillie Phanatic has been launching hot dogs from a pressurized wiener gun at baseball fans since 1996.

Robot Bartenders are Coming to Vegas This Summer

At the end of the month, a new bar called Tipsy Robot will open on the Las Vegas strip and people will be able to go and enjoy a variety of cocktails mixed by robots, which are in fact, just two rather large mechanical arms that seem more at home on an assembly line.

The robots, which bear the job title of galactic ambassador, yes, really, mix drinks by mimicking the arm motions of human bartenders. They will serve cocktails that Las Vegas Eater reports were previously only found on the Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise liner, which has featured its own robotic bar since 2014.

That menu includes classic drinks like the Manhattan and an allegedly “ultimate” cosmopolitan, which can be ordered via iPad. With increased automation comes increased precision, and the robot bartenders will be able to mix about two drinks per minute, providing an estimate for how long each customer will have to wait.

Plans for the bar began in January, when the Vegas-based company Robotic Innovations trademarked the name Tipsy Robot and started placing it onto merchandise.

But for those looking for a more traditional bar experience and perhaps to reassure us that the robots aren’t coming for all of our jobs, a human bartender will also be mixing drinks on the other side of the bar.

To get an idea of how Tipsy Bartender might work, check out this promotional video of the fully-automated bar in action.

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How To Maintain & Repair Your Gas Grill

Whether you’ve been using it all year or haven’t touched it in months, you should give your grill the once-over before the summer. Use these maintenance tips to help keep your grill in top shape or to spot problems that aren’t worth fixing.

1. Test for Gas Leaks

Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle and spray over connections and along the hose. Turn on the tank, or if there’s no tank, the natural gas line. Bubbling along the hose means a new one is needed. If bubbling occurs at the connection, tighten it.

Quick tip: Hairline cracks or tiny holes can be hard to spot by just looking, so soapy water is a must.

2. Check Burner Tubes or Ports

Yellow or uneven flames or heat can mean it’s time to clean the burner tubes or ports (a toothpick can help clear burner holes). But if that doesn’t solve the problem or you spot corrosion or rust, then it’s time for new burners, which usually cost from $40 to $150.

Quick tip: Burners are the most frequently replaced grill part. Before buying new ones, check whether yours are still under warranty. Some are covered for 10 years or longer.

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3. Inspect the Firebox

Remove light corrosion with a stainless-steel brush. But extensive rust or cracks means it’s time to buy a new grill.

Quick tip: The firebox often collects grease and food that has dropped through the grates. Clean the drip pan and remove grates and burners to clean the firebox. Your owner’s manual will suggest appropriate cleaning solutions. Replace corroded or cracked drip pans. Don’t try to get away with lining them with aluminum foil, which can cause grease to accumulate and cause a fire.

4. Clean the Grates

Use a stiff wire brush to clean each side, but skip the soap. Porcelain-coated grates require a nylon brush. Ideally you should clean grates before grilling, then oil and clean them right after cooking. Porcelain-coated grates rust only if they chip. Replace them when the coating is chipping or flaking, because it can stick to food.

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Quick tip: Grates can be expensive to replace. So before you put money into parts, consider how much you paid for the grill, its age and replacement price, and whether the rest of it is in good shape.

Driverless Cars Will Be Huge for Buffalo Wild Wings

Financial analysts in every industry are mashing their brains to figure out how the rise of autonomous cars will affect the economy, but one group of analysts at Morgan Stanley has a pretty wild prediction: if nobody has to drive any more, people might start going HAM at the Buffalo Wild Wings more often.

In a letter to clients on Thursday, the analysts looked at some of the major industries that will be affected by the rise of “shared autonomy” a term used seemingly to describe the twofold impacts of self-driving cars and a ride-sharing based transit economy.

The team’s recommendations highlight areas and certain stocks that could benefit from “shared autonomy,” including, hilariously, Buffalo Wild Wings and Domino’s Pizza. BWW, because 20 percent of its revenue comes from alcohol, and Domino’s because its delivery business won’t need human drivers.

“There are around 1.2 million DUIs issued in the U.S. every year,” the analysts write. “The average American consumes nearly 500 alcoholic drinks per year. Over the course of a year, how many more drinks might be consumed if people were completely freed from the responsibility of driving? Moreover, how many more drinks could be consumed during the 400 billion global hours humanity currently spends behind the wheel?”

Constellation, the American corporation that owns Corona, Model, Pacifico, Svedka vodka, and a whole bunch of other wine and liquor brands, will benefit, project the analysts.

Also, apparently, the best beneficiary of shared autonomy, where most people will ask their self-driving cars to take them, is Buffalo Wild Wings. It does caution, though, that the company is still vulnerable to the temperamental price of chicken wings.

Domino’s will benefit from shared autonomy after it nixes delivery drivers. Domino’s has already experimented with drones and weird autonomous robots so this one actually seems like a pretty sound prediction.

New Facebook Option Allows Food Ordering Right From App

Facebook once again looks to widen its market at become a one stop shop for just about everything you would want on the internet after the introduction of a new feature that allows individuals to order food from nearby restaurants right from the app. Facebook made reference to this earlier this year, when they announced a partnership with both Delivery.com and Slice. Users on Twitter were surprised to see it pop up randomly on their Facebook app, with some users are reporting that the “Order Food” icon is also appearing on Facebook’s website, giving you the option to order food from your computer as well. According to those who have used the service, every step of ordering food is done through Facebook, including looking at menus, checking daily specials and payment.

As of right now, it looks like the feature is only available in certain areas around the world. This is one of the many business strategies the social media giant has embarked on over the past while. Most recently,the platform announced it would be live streaming regular season MLB games every Friday, as well as introducing a lineup of new, original shows to compete with business like Netflix and Hulu. With Facebook making more and more of an effort to find new ways to add on to their network, it will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

Turn Your Kitchen Into A Mini Brewery with This Craft Beer Kickstarter

Ever dreamt of brewing your own professional-quality craft beer? Ever tried and failed miserably? Then Picobrew’s latest Kickstarter project, the Pico C, could be just what you’ve always wanted. Little bigger than a standard espresso machine, the stylish-looking Pico C promises to do for beer brewing what Nespresso did for coffee.

Picobrew is no stranger to the concept of home brewing. While its family started with the $2,000 Zymatic – a laboratory-class appliance designed to help craft beer pros hone and perfect their brews – the company soon set its sights on making a product suitable for the home. Building on the success of the kitchen-friendly Pico, the Pico C wants to make brewing professional-quality beer at home easier than ever.

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The secret is in the so-called “PicoPaks”, which are the home brewing equivalent of a Nespresso capsules. Each PicoPak contains the ingredients required to make five liters of perfectly brewed beer, and the recipes are concocted by experienced craft breweries from all around the world – well-known US brewery Rogue has even created a PicoPak for its much-loved Dead Guy Ale, which is something of a coup.

If the idea of relying on existing brews just isn’t interesting enough for you, then it’s also possible to create your own custom PicoPaks. Pick the type of beer you want to brew and you can use PicoBrew’s online portal to tailor their professionally balanced recipes to your own tastes.

In an age where the cost of a pint is ever-increasing, the ability to have freshly brewed craft beer in your home is pretty alluring. And at around €30 per five-liter PicoPak, that works out at roughly €3.40 per pint. Given that a decent pint of craft beer routinely costs the best part of a tenner, that doesn’t sound too bad at all. Well, as long as you don’t mind stumping up €799 Euro for a Pico C in the first place.

It seems the idea is already going down a treat, with more than $1.7 million pledged at the time of writing – almost five times the $350,000 target. However, PicoBrew is also aiming to hit the $1.812 million mark, which would hand the Pico C the all-time record for a food-related Kickstarter project. The reward? Everyone who stumps up for a Pico C gets a free PicoFerm, a gadget that allows you to monitor the fermentation process. And who wouldn’t want one of those?

The Pico Still

Pico already makes outstanding at-home brewing appliances. Now they’re turning their attention to distilling. Compatible with all Pico and Zymatic brewing machines, the Pico Still fits over the Pico C Keg, turning the machine into an at-home distillery. It can be used to create hop oils for dry hopping, distilled water, essential oils, and, of course, a full range of spirits — assuming you have a license. A large infusion chamber is helpful for making essential oils and flavored spirits, and the patent-pending technology behind it offers a high level of control over your cuts.

You Can Control the Traeger Timberline Grill from the Couch

Traeger has been making badass pellet grills for decades. The new Traeger Timberline Grill leverages all that knowledge and engineering acquired over the years and pairs it with insights from regular folks and professional pitmasters to create a smart grill that will totally change your BBQ experience. Built on a patent-pending approach that they call “Smoke Science,” the Traeger Timberline creates and circulates pure, blue smoke throughout the double-wall, commercial-grade stainless interior that’s insulated from the outside world with an airtight lid. Those features allow the Timberline to maintain consistent temperature and ensure your food gets the maximum amount of smoke possible. Since the grill has a higher interior clearance, Traeger added a third rack inside so you have room for multiple meats and sides regardless of what you’re grilling, smoking, searing, baking, roasting, braising or barbecuing. There’s even a WiFIRE controller/app that lets you control the grill without having to get off the couch or open the grill. If it’s good enough for a professional pit master, it’s good enough for the rest of us.