With the ever-growing craft beer market, competition on the shelves has never been so fierce. Fortunately for brewers, there’s an innovative way to stand out from the crowd
Beer, congrats. You’ve come a long way.
Chained to the legalities of the 1516 Bavarian Purity Law, beer was once limited to the ingredients of water, barley, hops and later, yeast. Thankfully, this 500-year-old regulation has been kicked to the curb in recent times. While the traditional four-component concoction is still at the heart of things, many brewers have loosened their belts and made room for an extra flavour or two.
While a wider variety of beer is great for the consumer, it’s not so great for the brewers looking to make theirs the next Kiwi favourite. To combat the risk of going unnoticed, brewers are putting on their creative caps in the hope that the more memorable the name, the bigger the presence.
If you’re yet to dabble in the craft beer world, here are a few of the more eccentrically-named brews to get you started:
The pop-culture references
From song titles to Star Wars, beer titles are often where brewers pay homage to their favourite movies, video games and music.
Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta
The Yeastie Boys are big music fans, so you’ll often find sneaky references to bands and songs on their beer labels. Gunnamatta – a unique brew that uses Earl Grey Blue Flower tea instead of hops – is the title of a track on Paul Kelly’s 2004 album, Ways & Means, and a surf break in Victoria, Australia.
Behemoth Brewing Tasty Beverage
Ideal for washing down a tasty burger, Tasty Beverage from Auckland’s Behemoth Brewing Company is a nod to a quote from Pulp Fiction. This punchy American Pale Ale is full of New Zealand and US hops, delivering juicy citrus flavours.
Kereru Imperial At-At Pilsner
This one is pretty obscure unless you happen to be a Star Wars fanatic (which, it turns out, quite a few beer geeks are). The Imperial AT-AT was the result of a 2014 Beervana Media Brew with beer writer Neil Miller (definitely a Star Wars fan), named after the movie’s All Terrain Armored Transport. Fittingly, it’s a big beer (11 per cent!) with perfectly balanced hops and malt.
Want to learn about history, politics and current events? Just head to your local craft beer store…
The Mussel Inn Captain Cooker
This one is inspired by the first beer ever brewed in New Zealand. It was by Captain James Cook in 1773 and the recipe was recovered from his diaries. The Captain Cooker is as Kiwi a beer as they come. The malty amber ale is brewed with Manuka tips and New Zealand hops, and has distinct notes of ginger, honey and rose oil. It’s a truly gorgeous brew – presumably quite a bit better than Cook’s version!
Croucher Brewing Nuclear-Free ANZUS IPA
The ANZUS Treaty was formed in 1951 as a military alliance between Australia, New Zealand and the US, but came to grief in 1985 over New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy. While ANZUS may have fallen apart, Croucher Brewing’s ANZUS IPA shows how the best hops from these three nations can come together in a supremely harmonious way.
From vaguely rude to downright lewd, there are plenty of beer names that would make a sailor blush.
ParrotDog BitterBitch It can feel a little odd ordering this politely from a bartender, but the beer is so delicious that dropping the B-bomb is worth it. This IPA from Wellington brewery ParrotDog has punchy peach and tropical fruit aromas supported by a rich, malty backbone.
Moon Dog Brewing + Garage Project Chocolate Salty Balls
Trust a Kiwi-Aussie alliance to craft such a wacky name. Inspired by a catchy South Park tune, it’s a robust stout with a generous helping of cacao nibs for a chocolatey taste, accentuated with a touch of salt.