Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Inspiration

Almost every homebrewer I know gives the beer he, or she, makes a name, and I was thinking the other day about the things that inspire the names we give our beer and brewing operations. For example, I refer to my brewing as "Green Dragon Brewing", going back to the original name after a brief flirtation with Pivovar Brewing, which is almost a tautology when translated from Czech. Brewery Brewing? Nah, sounds a bit naff really. The name Green Dragon Brewing was chosen because in the film version of Lord of the Rings, Pippin and Merri sing a song about beer, which contains the line "the only brew for the brave and true, comes from the Green Dragon".

With the beers I brew, the names often reflect the ingredients, or what I am trying to achieve in making the beer - of course it is easy to say that I am just trying to achieve making a good beer, but there are often reasons that underpin the recipe creation process. Take for example my India Black Ale that I bottled last week, called Red Coat India Black Ale. The thinking behind the the beer is that India Black Ale, or Black IPA if you must, is nothing more than porter using different hops and too many of them. Replace the Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe et al with British hops to the same IBU rating and hey presto, you have over hoppy porter. Red Coat of course refers to the soldiers of the British Empire for whom beer was shipped out to both the American colonies and India.

A beer such as my spiced Christmas amber ale, called Biere d'épices, harks back to my growing up in Germany and loving the smell, and taste of course, of the gingerbread houses my mother made at Christmas. Why use French as the name though? Well, simply because my parents now live in France and given the Belgian yeast and French hops in the beer, it sounded more apt than "Lebkuchenbier" -  though of course a quick change of yeast and hops, and Lebkuchenbier could yet be this year's Christmas libation of choice.

Tomorrow I will be bottling the Best Bitter I brewed a couple of weeks back, single hopped with First Gold and fermented with Wyeast 1968 London ESB yeast. The name is Gunnersbury Gold, gold for the hops and Gunnersbury for the park in London where my brothers and I would play when we went to visit my nan in Southall.

The one thing I haven't done of yet is get seriously creative and create labels for my bottles. There is a very simple reason for this, I have, in the words of Blackadder, all the "artistic talent of a cluster of colour blind hedgehogs in a bag". I did though create this little thing for my recent weizenporter, Black Rose.


However, Rob from OptaDesign is supremely talented and created this label for LimeLight.


What then inspires your homebrew brands and label designs?

2 comments:

  1. My wife came up with the name 2NobleDogs. We have 2 dogs that are polar opposites of each other. One is a neurotic,3 pack a day smoker, Australian/German Shepherd mix. The other is a lovable, doofas Lab mix. I can come up with an endless stream of names from their actions alone. Cheers!

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  2. I am a voracious reader, so a lot of my homebrew names are inspired by quotes from, or titles of, books. A slight deviation from that is when my identity was stolen and I brewed an Arrogant Bastard clone called Thieving Bastard.

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