Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Naming of Beers

"The naming of beers is a difficult matter
It isn't just one of your holiday games"

B.S. Bellylot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Beers

Coming up with original beer names is almost as difficult as coming up with original beer recipes. I have shared the origins of the Haresfoot name previously but I will update this page each time we launch a new beer, in order to try and explain the reasoning behind the chosen beer name.

Believe it or not but we do have a criteria for selecting beer names. We don’t always stick to the criteria, and we venture into the realms of post-rationalisation, but it is a laudable starting point. Our criteria are:
  • Has a local reference and is linked to Berkhamsted places and people
  • Reflects the type, colour and taste of the beer
  • Has an interesting back story and conjures up an image
  • Is traditional and evokes a connection to the past
  • Sounds okay, is easily pronounced, memorable and can be shouted across a bar
  • Is not a pun, comedy name or reference to a hare (or other animal)

Our beers are:

Wild Boy Exotic Pale Ale 3.7% ABV

Pale ale with a difference. Superb character derived from wonderful Wakatu and Waimea Kiwi hops generating plenty of floral and citric hop aromas. Smooth malt and vanilla in the mouth with a soft and dry finish giving way to long bitter-sweet notes. A modern twist on the traditional pale ale resulting in a thoroughly refreshing and quaffable beer.
Peter the Wild Boy was found by George I in the woods near Hamelin. Wild Boy lived an entirely feral existence surviving by eating forest flora such as acorns. After spending his youth with the Princess of Wales, Wild Boy was moved into care at a farm near Berkhamsted. However, he soon returned to his feral existence living in the local woods. Wild Boy lived to a ripe old age of 70 and is buried at St Mary's Church, Northchurch.

Lock Keeper’s Launch Ale 3.9% ABV

A delicate balance of English Challenger and Goldings hops adding full flavour and aroma to our rich mixture of pale, crystal, caramelised and chocolate malted barley.

The name Lock Keeper’s has several origins. Firstly the brewery is based on the Grand Union Canal just a few hundred yards from Lock 51, aka Gas 1 Lock. Secondly the last brewery in Berkhamsted, which closed 100 years ago, was called Locke and Smith so there is a nod to their name. Thirdly, we originally thought of calling ourselves the Grand Union Brewery, but this existed in the past and we didn’t want to revive an old name. Our head brewer came up with the beer name in connection with our original ideas around the Grand Union.

The idea of “launch ale” links to it being our first beer and “launch” being a boaty term, admittedly more nautical than canal waterways. We now refer to Lock Keeper’s as Quality English Ale.

Sundial Golden Ale 3.8% ABV

A refreshing light golden ale comprising of English pale malts, hopped with American Cascade hops complemented by a generous late hopping of German Tettnang accentuating an undercurrent of exotic fruits.

The naming of Sundial caused us some bother; we had many many discussions about the name at the brewery and also asked our customers for their ideas via social media. Sunnyside was a popular choice but there was some debate about whether it referred to an area within Berkhamsted or would be confused by and associated with the church or the rural trust. So at the eleventh hour we opted for Sundial as we felt it was of a time and in keeping with Lock Keeper’s. However, there is a tenuous link to William Cowper, an 18th century poet born in Berkhamsted who kept hares as pets. In the garden of St Peter’s rectory there is a sundial which marks the site of the old well-house known as Cowper's Well.

Conqueror's Premium Bitter 4.4% ABV

The abundance of roasted barley creates this rich chestnut coloured ale. Simcoe hops offer a mixed malty, musky and fruity nose balanced by a lingering malty taste with a rounded bitter finish. Conqueror's is full-bodied, distinctive and strong in character.
William the Conqueror ordered the construction of Berkhamsted Castle after he defeated the Anglo-Saxons in the Battle of Hastings. William's half-brother, Robert of Mortain, actually built and owned the castle.

Totem American Pale Ale 4.5% ABV

American style IPA which explodes with citrusy flavour and hop aromas, all perfectly balanced by a subtle malt character. This light, crisp, extra hoppy brew is full of character and hugely refreshing any time of year. 
Berkhamsted boasts a genuine totem pole made by the Kwakiutl tribe from red cedar. The carvings on the totem pole represent four figures from North American First Nations legend. At the top sits Raven, the trickster and creator deity; he also adorns our pump clip.


ALL-ROUNDER is a 3.7% light, smooth, straw-coloured, quaffable pale ale (an all-rounder) generously hopped with a mix of English (First Gold) and Australian (Summer) hops.
ALL-ROUNDER was commissioned by the Cricket Writers’ Club to celebrate the Ashes test series taking place in England this year. The beer is an ideal session ale for a long summer evening watching the cricket or just out relaxing with friends.

Old Tiney Plum Porter 4.8% ABV

Deep dark and well-rounded richness is created by dark crystal malt and roasted barley producing a robust porter with an undertone of natural plum balanced by First Gold and Goldings hops.

The inspiration for Old Tiney is the jack hare in William Cowper’s poem “Epitaph on a Hare.” William Cowper was an 18th century poet born in Berkhamsted.


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