Reading Neil Miller's list of favourite New Zealand beer names, a few weeks ago got St, our other regular beer writer, thinking about some of the ones that may have just missed out. So, without further ado and in no particular order, here they are:
Invercargill Biman – Steve Nally is a former prop, turned brewer, from Invercargill (he still lives and brews there). I wonder what he was thinking when he named his beer Biman? You can imagine what the folk in Tuatapere shaking their heads at that one (by the way, Steve is always quick to note that the beer is actually pronounced 'B-man').
Bennett's Sante Fe Lager – Maurice Bennett: world famous toast artist, supermarket owner, started a bar on a frigate that was just about to be sunk and has a beer with a stripper on the label. What more can I say? ‘Avoid the beer’ is probably a good start. (Despite the label’s references to “attractive head” and “enticing aroma,” it’s not a flash beer and it’ll cost you a $10 cover charge to get into any bar that sells it).
Emerson's Bookbinder – This low-strength bitter, a firm favourite amongst craft beer drinkers around the country – and one of the key beers in my confirmation as craft beer convert – is a nice nod from one type of craftsman to another (a theme used all over beer world: Galbraith’s Bellringer, is another local example).
Pink Elephant Mother's Bruin – I never got a chance to try this beer but the name appeals in so many ways. Is the Pink Elephant’s mother actually doing some brewin’? One would hope that the bottle isn’t full of a Pink Elephant Mother’s brown? If the Pink Elephant’s mother is brown, that would make her a brown cow? Yes, a very philosophical beer indeed.
Wanaka Brewski – I hated this name until I tried the beer. Brewski made me think of loud blokes playing drinking games at university, and I thought it was just plain gimmicky. I saw it on the shelves for years before I finally picked up a bottle. Needless to say it blew me away. A real peach amongst New Zealand’s plethora of new world Pilsners.
Renaissance Stonecutter – The folk at Renaissance, with their award-winning high-brow branding, would love you to think this is a reference to Michelangelo. It is actually a reference to the Simpson’s episode ‘Homer the Great’ (Who controls the British crown, who keeps the metric system down…).
Mac's Brewjolais – Brewjolais is fantastically crafted beer, probably the best to have come out of a mainstream brewery in the time that I have been following the craft beer scene. Its name is a hat-tip to annual hop harvest and references the harvest wine Beaujolais nouveau. It is the ‘Brangelina’ of the New Zealand beer scene and also goes under the street nickname: ‘BJ’.
Galbraith's Resurrection – A Belgian abbey-style ale from Galbraith’s in Auckland. The name goes deeper than a simple reference to the religious background of abbey-style ales, it refers to the resurrection of Australis Benediction (Australis Brewing Co., way too far ahead of their time, is a now defunct brewing company based out of Galbraith’s that produced three beers – all of which made it into Michael Jackson’s Great Beer Guide, possibly the only brewery in the world to achieve such a feat).
Dux de Lux Sou’ Wester – Perfect beer drinking weather: snugly camped inside, with good friends, remembering the last patch of good weather and planning for the next break in it. It also fondly reminds me of the long gone Parrot and Jigger brewpub in Lower Hutt, which had a beer of the same name with the same label.
Mussell Inn Weasel’s – The brewery website says it all: Any of our 4% beers cut 50/50 with soda water. A shandy without the sugar. Great for drivers and wowsers. NB: All of the Mussel Inn beers taste great and the names are truly fantastic. They provide an interesting service fixing cell phones too.