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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Wednesday 17 September 2014

What's In A Name?

Crafty Pint / 07.09.12


Does the name of a beer matter? Are you likely to wander into a bottleshop or bar and be swayed into trying a beer because it has a name that catches your eye? Or do you want to know what style is coming your way and prefer it when the brewer follows the tried and tested “Brewery Name” plus “Beer Style” route for their naming strategy?

Beer names and, indeed, the naming process itself have been occupying thoughts here at The Crafty Pint more than usual in recent weeks. We’ve always been partial to a clever name, one that makes us chuckle, or even a particularly satisfying (or cheesy) pun. Coming up with a name for the beer we brewed with Murray’s for the recent Beervana Media Brew competition merely brought the importance – or otherwise – of beer names into stronger focus. So we thought we’d start asking brewers about names: how they came up with names for their beers: whether they thought it made a difference: whether, perhaps, it’s merely a case of satisfying one’s own ego or serves a greater purpose.

In the case of the Beervana beer, it all kicked off when the suggestion that we brewed with three different types of mussel led to the name “Tricep Stout”. Various twists and turns followed, including one that resulted in the selection of a Belgian yeast just so we could add the word “Bulgin'” to the beer name. The final name wasn’t secured until the day of the brew, with Auld Bulgin' Boysterous Bicep providing enough nonsense for an illustrator to come up with an inspired label design in just two hours from scratch.

The other beer we had some involvement in naming this year was the Good Beer Week Masterclass brew that was created by Moylan’s and Nøgne Ø at Hargreaves Hill back in May and which is being tapped nationwide tomorrow. Because it featured as-yet-unreleased Victoria’s Secret hops, Moylan’s head brewer Denise Jones was keen to include the word “secret” in the name.

Over the course of a chat with Brendan Moylan later in the week, the suggestion: “How about Our Dark Secret?” popped out, the reasoning being that 30-odd people had been there for the brew (our), the beer was going to be a black double IPA (dark) and featured the aforementioned hops (secret). Taken together, it also said something about the nature of the day: for those in attendance, it was like a little dark secret.

“Perfect! I love it!” declared Brendan in his usual lust-for-life manner.

All of which has had us thinking about the names we like: what they say about a beer; what they say about a brewery. There are plenty of good ones to choose from. Feral’s Hop Hog is deceptively layered, for example, while Murray’s recent Seasons in the Abyss combines a musical reference to one of the brewer’s favoured bands as well as (we assume) a reference to the fact a saison yeast has been chucked into a very big, dark beer.

But rather than pontificate, we thought we’d pick the brains of the brewers behind the beers you love. Over the coming weeks, we’ll find out what thought processes they go through and what names make them tick, starting today with Moon Dog, home of Peter Piper’s Pickled Pepper Purple Peated Pale Ale, Perverse Sexual Amalgam and Wet Nurse Tonic among others.

For their thoughts on beer names, simply head here.

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