Food & Drink Tuesday, July 10th

Best beer names at the Hereford Beer Festival, ranked

Food & Drink Tuesday, July 10th

Best beer names at the Hereford Beer Festival, ranked

There were around two hundred beers and ciders at last weekend’s Beer On The Wye. But when it comes to choosing one, much like picking racehorses, we all know you’re just going to flick through the programme, nod approvingly and pick one with a funny name. You can mumble something about ‘hops’ if you like, but you’re not fooling anyone.

So instead of rating the brews themselves, we’ve pulled out our ale-stained programme to rank the best names from this year’s festival.


#14 Wreckless

RedWillow, Macclesfield, 4.8%

Simple, effective, descriptive. There’s an up-front, honesty to the act of walking up to the bar and ordering ‘a pint of Wreckless please, guv’. You are the guy who always orders the Jaegerbombs first. You never wear suncream. You have accrued thousands in parking fines. And we salute you, Wreckless drinker.

#13 Bitter & Twisted

Harviestoun, Alva, 4.2%

‘A perfect beer for anyone who has taken to Facebook to moan about football fans singing in IKEA.’  

#12 You’re in the jungle baby

Evil Twin, USA, 12%

When it comes to naming your new brew, flicking through Guns ‘n’ Roses’ back catalogue is not a bad idea – there’s  got to be a double IPA out there somewhere called Appetite for Destruction – and you get the added pleasure of torturing bartenders across the world in the knowledge that punters will inevitably order it in Axl Rose’s grating falsetto.

(This beer, from Evil Twin, is a taste of Mexico with a twist: one in every four cans has an extra pinch of chili in there that’ll likely have you doing that annoying Subway catchphrase as you drink it.)

#11 Opening Gambit

Reunion, London, 3.8%

This makes the list purely because of its instructive nature. Suggestions are always welcome in the sweat and calamity that is a beer tent, and this one tells you to Drink This Beer First, whilst also suggesting that there may be some risk involved. I admire the confidence.

The unintentional reference to the best Marvel character ever written is an added bonus.

#10 Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Founders Brewery, USA, 12.3%

A brief and much-loved addition to KFC’s breakfast menu.

#9 Shropshire Lass

Wood, Wistanstow, 4%

Like racehorses and Fantasy Football team names, ale names are the last public refuge of the kind of 70s innuendo Yer Da loves. This one doesn’t get there until the punchline, though. “So, why’s it called a Shropshire Lass?”

*altogether now* “Because it goes down easy.” Bonus points for inciting regional rivalry.

#8 Why Kick A Moo Cow?

Arbor, Bristol, 5%

I mean, it’s both a legit question - especially in Herefordshire, a county well-versed in teenage cow-pushing – and one so absurd that it sounds like the title to a long-lost Kinks album.

(The less-absurd reality is that it’s actually the phonetic pronunciation of a five-syllable town in NZ – WKAMC is a NZ pale ale – and not the start of an online discussion on animal abuse)

#7 Guzzler

York Brewery, York, 3.6%

More beautiful, onomatopoeic simplicity. It aces the How Does It Sound When I Order It test with flying colours (“Three pints of Guzzler, and a half of that chunky-looking cider for Barry”). It also sounds simultaneously like a character from the Beano, and the name printed on the back of dozens of brightly-coloured Stag Do t-shirts every summer.

#6 Going Off Half-Cocked

Bespoke, Mitcheldean, 4.6%

Further proof that almost any two-/three-syllable word, said in an English accent, can mean ‘very drunk’. Try it. ‘Maaate, you were totally spagetti’d last night.’ ‘Have you seen Dave? He’s absolutely Harry-Maguire-d.’ ‘Babe, I tell you what, I had three of those beers and I’m Half-Cocked.’ See? Perfect.

#5 Coffenade

Evil Twin + Omnipollo, USA, 7%

I’m here for any beer that sounds like it could also be a Ben and Jerry’s flavour.

(Incidentally, this is exactly what it sounds like. It’s another IPA from Evil Twin, and this one tastes like coffee and lemonade and beer).

#4 Inspector ReMorse

Electric Bear, Bath, 4.7%

Puns are good. Puns involving TV’s fourth-favourite detective (Frost, Clouseau, Wiggum), whilst nodding to the after-effects of a heavy drinking session, are even better. To quote the Thames Valley’s finest: “I always drink at lunchtime. It helps my imagination.”

#3 Body Riddle

Whiplash, Ireland, 4.5%

Everyone has a mate who sits down for a curry with lads, pushes away the menu, smiles and says ‘Nah mate, don’t worry with that – just give me the hottest thing you’ve got.’ Naming a beer Body Riddle feels like it’s reaching out to that particular demographic.  

#2 Do I love you?

Keep The Faith, Herford, 4.9%

Part-drink name, part-existential, teenage text message. This wins points for poetry – it would undoubtedly be Morrisey’s choice if he wasn’t sipping on vegan gin mixed with his own tears - whilst ‘Do I love you? also elicits the inevitable, subconscious affirmation: ‘yes, beer, I love you. I always have and I always will.’ Mad Men-level marketing.

#1 March of the Penguins

Williams Bros, Alloa, 4.9%

I can think of no logical explanation for this name beyond the penguin-like shuffle adopted by middle-aged men in flip-flops after they had five or six afternoon ales. It’s either animalistic symbolism of the highest order, or just general absurdity. Either way, I feel like Attenborough would approve.

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