One trend that seems to be gaining popularity in the brewing world is the turning away from unique beer names to the brewery simply using the beer style as the beer name. Recent examples include Fortitude, Wayward and Southern Bay Brewing Cos; brands that used to have identifiable names, like “Charger” or “Requiem” are now dropping those in favour of simplifying and re-branding.
In one sense, we get it. The identifiable brand is what breweries are focusing on, and the reiteration of that brewery name, for example calling something “Fortitude Pale” instead of “Interceptor Pale”, instantly reinforces that brand. There’s no question of who brewed that beer. When you’re discussing the differences of pale ales amongst friends, it’s probably more common to distinguish them by their brewery, whether they have a fancy name or not.
But isn’t part of the fun of beer having kooky names to go along with them? Our guests love the stories behind Newstead’s beers, and if you look somewhere like Bacchus or Behemoth Brewing (NZ), you will see the diversity of puns and references that can be made. Could you imagine Kaiju! beers referred to only by their style? The iconography of their monsters for each individual beer is something that makes their branding stand apart from so many others. Last Rites, Slipstream, Aether, Akasha, and All Inn are other breweries that have taken the time to give their beers proper names – just to list a few.
Yes, some breweries have launched without names for their beers. Clearly Balter didn’t suffer when they released their XPA, and the only named beers of theirs you find are at the taphouse (although they broke their “rule” with the addition of Captain Sensible to their core range, but clearly these rules aren’t hard and fast), and the same can be said for Archer, Pirate Life or Six String.
A quick recon mission of the 26* breweries from Brisbane to southern Gold Coast showed that 17 have “named” beers, 6 use simply the beer style, and three offer a combination. By combination, it means that some beers are a style only and others have names to them; this may change based on tap room releases v. packaged product. Those are good odds, we think, and show that creativity is alive and well. Hopefully the new fad of beer-style-as-beer-name doesn’t catch on, even though so many good hop puns have already been used, and brewers continue to explore their history, their cities, their regions or even some obscure enzyme crucial in the brewing process.
Are the names to confusing to some punters? Many will know the names of all the Bentspoke beers, for example, but for those who are only occasional drinkers we might be left scratching our heads asking “Is the Crankshaft the pale or the IPA?”, but afraid to ask out loud in case someone overhears and thinks you aren’t hip enough to be drinking it at all.
Jokes aside, what are your thoughts? Do you order a “3 Bolt” at Green Beacon, or prefer to ask for their “pale ale”? Do you make an effort to learn where the beer names came from, like at Burleigh Brewing, or are you happy to drink a beer without giving any of this a second thought?
Would a beer by any other name taste as sweet?
Cheers and thoughtfully-named beers,
Hop On Brewery Tours
*Breweries included in the count: Green Beacon (n), Newstead (n), Archer (g), Bacchus (n), Aether (n), Ballistic (c), Helios (n), All Inn (n), Slipstream (n), Brisbane Brewing Co (n), 4 Hearts (g), White Lies (n), Revel (c), Semi-Pro (n), Catchment (n), Black Hops (n), Burleigh (n), Lost Palms (g), Balter (c), Fortitude (g), Noisy Minor (n), Beard & Brau (n), Range (g), Stone & Wood (n), Madocke (g) and Currumbin Valley Brewing (n).
(n)=named beers; (g)=generic (style) names; (c)=combo