Articles by Alastair Bland

Are Pumpkin Beers, Thank God, Finally on the Way Out?

Some breweries are slowing production, as the trend may be fizzling

An assortment of squash

Beyond the Butternut: A Guide to Selecting a Great Winter Squash

They all taste great with a simple bake in the oven, but each has some characteristics that make it unique

Will Driverless Cars Mean Less Roadkill?

Avoiding wildlife could be a tough task for these super-smart cars

Former Brazilian soccer player Valdo kicks a ball down the footgolf green in Bellefontaine near Paris — October 2013.

Obscure Sports

How the Soccer Ball Could Save the Golf Course

Enter the sport of footgolf, which is exactly what it sounds like

Texas longhorn cattle.

How "Meat Banks" Are Helping Farmers Preserve Precious Livestock

Frozen sperm and tissue are being stored to protect commercial animals and help save rare heritage breeds

Rehabilitated sea lion pups head back to the ocean after being released from The Marine Mammal Center in March.

California Sea Lions Are Starving, But Do They Need Our Help?

Instead of just rehabilitating the fuzzy pups, some ecologists say we should be focusing on the underlying troubles of climate change and fish declines

Workers with the Nigiri Project head out to test pens in the flooded rice fields near Sacramento.

Anthropocene

Rice Can Help Save Salmon If Farms Are Allowed to Flood

The Nigiri Project aims to restore the beloved fish by cutting a notch in a California levee and letting some floodplains return to nature

Chocolate beer spans a wide spectrum of flavors and varieties.

The World of Chocolate

A Taste Test to Find the Best Chocolate Beers

Perfect for a cold, winter day – or as an alternative to red wine on Valentine’s Day – we took measure of these stouts, ales and lagers

The World Hit "Peak Chicken" in 2006

The popular poultry is just one of many key food resources that hit peak production between 5 and 30 years ago

Great Lakes Brewery's Christmas Ale is one winter beer you should definitely try this season.

The Best Winter Beers to Try This Holiday Season

We spoke with hops and malts expert William Bostwick about the right quaffs to drink while the weather is cold

A brown bear in a private park near Brasov.

The Deadly Dilemma Facing Romania's Brown Bears

Around the Carpathian Mountains, frustrated farmers and high-paying sport hunters are helping to set the highest bear hunting quotas yet allowed

The author enjoys a previously-stashed beer and a plate of chanterelles in in the Périgord region of France.

Find These Beers Hidden in Paris and the French Countryside

Our intrepid writer devises a scavenger hunt in a low-tech geocaching game that every beer lover can enjoy

The 13,000-foot high Grasberg mine contains the largest single gold reserve in the world, and the largest copper deposit as well.

The Environmental Disaster That is the Gold Industry

The mining industry has had a devastating impact on ecosystems worldwide. Is there any hope in sight?

Pumpkins and beer make for golden photo ops and marketing gags–but the theme is beginning to feel old.

Pumpkin Beers Don’t Have to Be the Worst Thing to Drink This Fall

In 1984, there was one pumpkin beer in America. This October, there are more than 500. We find the best ones from the patch

A display of whole wheat bread at the Washington State University-Mount Vernon Bread Lab, in Blue Hill, New York

Ask Smithsonian 2017

What Makes Whole-Grain Bread So Hard to Bake?

We asked bakers for their tips on how to get consistently excellent whole wheat loaves

The buttery belly meat of the bluefin is served as toro in sushi bars. The priciest menu item in many sushi restaurants, it is, in fact, rather disliked by traditional sushi connoisseurs.

From Cat Food to Sushi Counter: The Strange Rise of the Bluefin Tuna

The fish can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars each. But just 45 years ago, big bluefin tuna were caught for fun, killed and ground into pet food

Bottles of imported sake line the shelves at True Sake, in San Francisco. Soon, the small retail shop will begin carrying sake made in America.

Can You Taste the Difference Between American and Japanese Sake?

Sake has been brewed for thousands of years in Japan. Now, American brewers are starting to make sake—but is it any good?

This very bottle of beer lies in a shallow grave of redwood duff in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, in northern California. Can you find it?

Find The Beer: A Trail of Stashed Bottles From Alaska to California

Traveling the West Coast? Like beer? Then consider pulling over at these highway locations from Alaska to California and finding the bottles of beer

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Your Guide to Tasting the Many Species of Pacific Salmon

From dogs to humpies to kings, the author tastes and discusses the five main species of Pacific salmon

A treasure! This beer lies hidden in the woods, six inches under, in Shasta County, CA. Can you find it?

Find the Beer! A California Trail of Ales

Go locate the hidden bottles and replace each with a selection of your own

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