What's In A Name: Feral Brewing

What's In A Name: Feral Brewing

September 21, 2012 by Crafty Pint

When we kicked off our mini-series looking at beer names – what makes a good one, how do brewers come up with them, does it matter, and so on – we mentioned Feral’s Hop Hog as one that worked so well. Not only is it hop heavy but it references the brewery’s logo too. That it’s gone on to hog awards across Australia and further afield is a mere added bonus.

So what does the man behind the beer – and others such as Watermelon Warhead, Boris and Fantapants – think of naming beers? Over to you, Brendan…

How important is the name of a beer?
Not very. We put about 1/100th of the effort into naming them as we do brewing them. I actually think the “Who gives a crap?” attitude to this has let us use a heap of names that we may have otherwise discarded.

Why are some of your beers named by style and others not?
See the answer above. Mostly likely we couldn’t come up with anything amusing in a hurry so that’s what it became known as. We’ve got one poor old beer, our 983 lager, that wasn’t a style and we didn’t have a name spring to mind so it’s been stuck known by its brew number.

How do you come up with names for your beers?
No set method really. In the case of Watermelon Warhead we were talking about making a sour wheat beer with watermelon and that got thrown up as a flavour descriptor. For the first time ever we had named a beer before it was brewed and, what’s more, we had to brew it to taste like its name suggested.

More often than not though it’s after the beer’s finished and it’s ready to pour with no thought of a name to sell it by. So then we sit down, have a pint and try to come up with some type of literal (in a cryptic crossword kind of way) name to it. For example, Fantapants is a Red ale and our beers with Brett in them will usually have the word Funk in the name.

Do you have a favourite among your own beer names? If so, why do you like that particular one? And how did you come up with it?
Easy. Nice Guy Dud Root. Again, a literal meaning hidden within. This beer was just a beautifully made, clean, balanced, middle of the road English Brown Ale.

It was a ridiculously nice beer but we knew it wouldn’t be considered a sexy brew by the hardcore beer dude (read geek) when compared to the likes of Dark Funk, Razorback or others in our range.

What’s your pick of beer names from others?
From overseas, probably Gumball Head by Three Floyds: it’s just the type of dumb name we would love to use. Locally, maybe My Wife’s Bitter by Burleigh Brewing. Anyone who knows the lovely Peta would realise one could not speak with their tongue more firmly in their cheek.

Postscript: When pushed on the Hop Hog, Brendan said it was a name thrown out by a friend over a pre-release beer. Everyone liked it. That it’s actually so smart was an accident as much as anything.

Next up: a view from across the Tasman from Stu of the Yeastie Boys. In the meantime, check out what Moon Dog and Red Duck had to say.

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