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Tell DCBeer – What’s In a Beer Name?

Anyone who has been around brewers for longer than ten minutes has surely recognized that this unique breed of person as a bit “special” to say the least. Brewers come from all walks of life and tend to be creative, eclectic, usually bearded, and, occasionally, a bit off. To be clear, that’s for everyone’s benefit and exactly the type of individual I want brewing my beer.

That creativity often works its way into the beer name itself. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite beer names and how they were derived.

Ommegang “Three Philosophers” – This Belgian quad gets its name from characters in William Blake’s “An Island in the Moon.” Each philosopher had a different way of viewing life, similar to how many fans of this beer enjoy it for varying reasons.

“Cynics can’t believe it, Epicures hail it a sensation, and Pythagoreans just can’t add up what makes this luscious blend of rich malty ale and cherry lambic so delightful.”

Bell’s “Two Hearted Ale” – This one gets its name from an Ernest Hemingway short story about a river in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The story is about a WWI soldier’s healing process after returning from the war. The main character’s interaction with nature serves as a catalyst to the mental healing process and recovery from war.  For me, this is the best IPA in America and certainly contains healing powers in one capacity or another.

Legacy “Hoptimus Prime” – “Robots in Disguise!”

Oskar Blues “Mamma Lils Yella Pills” – This Pilsener pays homage to the Rolling Stone’s song “Mother’s Little Helper.” This song is about a housewife with a prescription pill problem.

“Mother needs something today to calm her down. And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill.”

I don’t know if I needa Yella Pills to get me through the day, but it sure does go down well at the end of one.

Bohemian “Oakey and the Bandit” – Brilliant. Just brilliant <insert mustache>

Avery “Collaboration Not Litigation” – This beer is a testament to the cooperation and general attitude of the craft brewing community. Many years ago Vinnie Cilurzo of Russia River and Adam Avery of Avery Brewing realized that the have both brewed and commercially released a beer with the same name of “Salvation.” As opposed to getting lawyers involved, a theme we see more and more of now, the two decided to blend the beers and create something new.

What are some of your favorite beer names? Drop us a comment and tell us about the meaning of your favorites. Love a beer name but can’t find the source of it? Let us know that too, and we’ll do some digging for you!

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