The Beer Blokes’ latest experiment follows on from successfully producing a Lager in the Pilsner style. We have just bottled our latest and hopefully greatest - Pilsner Blonde. This brew led me to ponder the nature of beers and their naming. In this multi part series we look at how beers get their names and why I don’t really like beer marketing people.
In the beginning . . .
In the beginning . . .
The world of beers, as we know, is divided into the Adam & Eve categories. Ales are the Adam, the original beer and conceived of the Gods in a far off time. They were beers made with yeast which did it’s bit on the top of the brew and worked under warmer conditions creating a generally darker, misty, often cloudy drink best served at warmer temperatures and in stone or wooden mugs so as to not put the drinker off by him seeing what he was drinking. These beers were to be sipped and their rich, sometimes fruity aromas and flavours to be enjoyed in a leisurely manner. But they were susceptible to tasting like rubbish if the warm weather were to disturb the delicate balance of nature or if the yeast was over worked or mutated. And that’s ales.
Then came lagers. Eve.
Eve rocked onto the scene and all the beer drinking men stopped what they were doing to look at her and take in her beauty and say things like, “Fwoarhh ! Have a look at that, that’s a bit special I would like very much to have me some of it.” And the like. As you may be able to tell, lager was unlike anything that the beer world had seen before. Not only was it bottom fermenting, but it also fermented at low temperature and this type of yeasty activity brought about a cleaner, smoother taste complimented by a fine bubbled carbonation.
At around the same time, in what is now the Czech Republic, the makers of fine crystal glassware were able to say, “ Hoo-bloody-ray! At last the punters have something decent to put in our glass and show off it‘s brilliant visage. We might just sell some crystal and then I can get Grandma back from the pawnbrokers’”. So the beer makers were encouraged to create yet more crystal clear, brilliant and bubbly beverages for the masses - and the masses couldn’t get enough. Ales were never to fade away, but their time at the top of the ladder in a league group of one was over.
So, now that you know the ‘who’ of the beer world, in very basic terms, you are ready to venture into the strange and often confusing world of beer names. But be warned - some of the terms and usages are just downright misleading - so stay close to me. And as for some of the people giving out the names, well they’re just knobs.
P.S. The label from the Hoegaarden Forbidden Fruit above was banned in some places for being too raunchy. Wonder what they'd make of Rubbel Sexy Lager with the scratchy bikini panels. Or the upcoming Beer Blokes' Sharsha Boobies Blonde.