Friday, November 20, 2009

A Load of B*******s

A short time ago I was flicking through my copy of GOBBS guide, (a beer guide for serious beer tickers, if that's not a contradiction in terms) when my mind wandered to the names brewers give their beers and the themes they loosely hang these names on.

Locally we have Brass Monkey, using their Monkey theme with names like 'Capuchin', 'Silverback' and the like; Empire, where Russ seems to come up with winners like the Goon Show series, or daft names from comedy programmes, 'Eccles' and 'Ooh Matron' being examples; and Mallinsons where Tara has themes ranging from Not so Classic Cars to Yorkshire Follies. Going further afield, Will mentioned Cotleigh and their bird themes a couple of posts ago, whilst Moorhouses stay true to their roots in Burnley with their Witch beers, and Yorkshire Dales seemed to have named beers after every conceivable part of the North Yorkshire Moors. And how many know that Ossett 'Silver King' was originally part of a railway series?

Talking of trains, it seems the norm rather than the exception for brewers to name their beers after old steam engines. Cottage do a lot, but Little Ale Cart has a massive range of named engines on their clips. Being a bus enthusiast, I seek in vain for bus related beers, just the occasional 'Routemaster Red' makes its appearance on the bar.

It used to be usual for brewers to call their beers 'Best', 'Mild', or 'Strong'. At least the unwary drinker had a clue what sort of beer he was getting. It is now equally common to name beers after the hops used. Pictish for one has a massive range of single hopped beers, (check their web site for proof, and see how many hops you have never heard of). For some reason, there are very few beers named after the malts in the beer though.

But it's the really daft names that seem to attract the attention. Who for instance can forget 'The Dogs Bollocks'? And just whose idea was it to name it such? A flick into the Halifax Steam archives shows beers called 'Child Catcher', 'Christmas Crapper', 'Extra Pillows' and 'Luftkissenfihrzeug' (don't tell me I spelt it wrong, I copied it from the book!). As an aside, this must have been the longest pump clip in history covering about 2/3 of the bar!! Inveralmond have taken up the challenge as well, as 'Inkie Pinkie', 'Llama's Lament' and 'Rocking Horse Poo' all illustrate.

Talking of the daft, who at Northumberland decided that to name beers after footballing legends of the Tyne would be a good seller; obviously not in Sunderland, as they have now produced a range of footballing legends(?) - sorry, Iain! - from the Wear to balance it out and hopefully sell some beer south of the Tyne as well.

Anyway must stop, have to get to the Star festival and sample some 'Folly's Dog Collar Blues', 'Viva Cas Vegas'and 'Firkin Dark', to name but three. All I can say is keep the names coming, it always creates a talking point at the bar.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Argh! I disagree - I cant stand it when beers are named after in-jokes, or 'blokey' stereotypes such as 'Piston Broke' etc etc. I think it gives ale a really bad image. Maybe im overthinking it, but for me its like fingernails down a blackboard, and i'll steer clear of the beer simply due to it!!