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What’s in a name?


I've read that you should never name your chickens, because it makes it that much harder to boil 'em and pluck 'em when the time comes.

Perhaps in a similar vein, I've never named my beers. They are usually referred to as something like, "that one stout with the oak in it that I brewed last fall, or was it in the winter? Whatever, it's probably that one." But friends and other recipients of my beer always want to know what a particular beer is called. I once named an all-Fuggle hops bitter "Fug 'em" but in general people don't know what Fuggle is, so they didn't really appreciate it.

But I'm starting to think that the beers I give out need some names. It's fine for me to have in my head, "The lager I made with German Pilsner malt and Hersbrucker hops" but most other folks don't have any such reference point. And honestly the name of a beer does have an effect on the drinker's perspective. If I called it "Butt-stank Lager" you'd all probably tell me, "I'm getting some sulfur notes in the finish." But weirdly some of the worst sounding names are also some of the best, like Moose Drool or Face-puncher IPA, or this awesome limited release from Lagunitas called Lumpy Gravy. Some styles have odd yet popular names just by themselves, like Nut Brown Ale (doesn't contain nuts, doesn't have to taste like nuts) or Black IPA (somehow both black and pale at the same time, apparently).

So, what I'm getting at is: How do you name a beer? And while we're at it, what is your beer called?