One of my biggest peeves is the fact that beer isn’t given the same respect that wine is. Both are ancient beverages steeped in history and by in large lovingly produced by people passionate about their craft. So why does it always feel like beer is given the “swill of the working man” feel? After looking over the beer list from the Repeal of Prohibition Festival, Bill Burge has one idea why: Beer names can get a bit goofy.
Beer lovers are always trying to get beer to reach the wine plateau, but are names like Hoptimus Prime Imperial IPA, Rabbid Rabbit, or BORIS the Crusher hurting the cause? For the most part wine is labeled by type of grape used or area of production, or in the case of wines produced outside of France, classic area of production they’re trying to reproduce. But beer isn’t held by the same standards of labeling. Breweries and brewers are given free reign to get creative with their names.
I’m not one to try and stifle creativity of brewers, it is after all the creativity of American brewers that provides us with all of the amazing things they produce. But would beer benefit from going to a wine labeling style? On a local level, I think Schlafly employs a labeling/naming style similar to wine: Schlafly Pale Ale or Schlafly Oatmeal Stout. It’s a clear and concise advertisement (and let’s not forget, that’s what labels really are) of the product contained within.
But what about beers that don’t fall into a clear style (not to mention the argument of there is too much emphasis of style in beer)? That’s where things get a bit tricky and at that point creative monikers may come into play. It’s an interesting idea and I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on it.