Craft beer gains more fans every single year as breweries around the country work to create unique and delicious brews that celebrate everything from their region's unique flavors to their special brewing process. While big beer like Budweiser and Coor's can rely on their reputation to make sales, craft brewers turn to more crafty means. One way is the unique label artwork that turns a regular ol' beer bottle into a nice collector's item for seasonal releases. The other way is my personal favorite: inventive and often hilarious beer names.
This year at the 2017 Texas Craft Brewers Festival, the largest beer event in Texas, breweries in the Lone Star State gathered together at Austin's Fiesta Gardens to share their Texas-brewed beer. With 68 breweries attending, it was hard to narrow down the most creative brew names, but the best ones made themselves obvious from the rest. And the best part? Every beer tasted deliciously smooth.
1. Amaretto by Morning
Based in Houston, Texas, Buffalo Bayou brought this aptly-named beer to Austin for the festival. A cream ale with notes of coffee, almonds, and vanilla beans, this is an easy-drinking beer that is the perfect brew for waiting in line for barbecue at your favorite Texas joint. The coffee wasn't an overpowering flavor, and actually tasted better than most coffee drinks I've had.
Texans will recognize the name as play on George Strait's iconic "Amarillo by Morning". Buffalo Bayou told Wide Open Eats that the beer was made to celebrate Texas and the Heartland, and what better way to do that than through a Strait song that every Texan knows by heart.
2. Dankosaurus IPA
From Seven Points, Texas, comes this American IPA with notes of pine, citrus, and tangerine. The citrus taste is bright and sharp enough not to overwhelm you, and this is the perfect beer to drink on Friday after a very long week under a Texas sunset.
About a year and a half after the brewery opened, the team decided to make an IPA to put into the market. The search began for experimental hops that would make it stand out among the sea of American IPAs, and one bag of Eureka hops changed everything. Because team members could quite literally smell the hops (something strong resembling cannabis), they decided to use the word 'dank' in the name to represent that first initial impression. Dankosaurus made the cut from a list of suggestions, and the rest is history.
3. Gentleman's Relish
Devoted Lone Pint fans will know their Yellow Rose IPA as an iconic Texas beer, and Gentleman's Relish did not disappoint either. An English brown ale with notes of chocolate, caramel, and a nuttiness that makes it so easy to drink, every sample pour went down so smooth. This is the beer you drink at a bonfire in the Hill Country or West Texas, and its sweeter notes pair it perfectly with s'mores.
As for the name? Well, this story is a doozy. A good friend of the Lone Pint team, based in Magnolia, mentioned that one day, his dad loves Gentleman's Relish on toast. Americans might not recognize this phrasing, but in the U.K., it's actually a common snack of anchovy paste on toast. Lone Pint thought the name was absolutely perfect for the English ale in question, and that was that.
4. Raspberry AF
Saint Arnold Brewing Co. consistently brews good beers with even better names, and Raspberry AF is no different. A raspberry sour Berliner Weisse with pure notes of tart, sweet raspberries, it felt like you could taste every single little berry in each sip. It's the perfect brunch beer, excellent for making beermosas.
The color alone makes it stand out, but the beer was just named for how powerfully the raspberries come through in each sip. As Saint Arnold put it, they wanted to leave the name open for interpretation. So those two little letters can mean whatever you want them to mean...
5. Snake Juice
An American Double IPA brewed in Austin, this beer carries notes of tropical and citrus flavors with a light, mild kick in its tartness. Our video producer (hi Ryan!) is quoted as saying, "I normally hate IPAs, but I really like this." High praise from an anti-IPA beer fan, no? This is the beer you drink while floating the river because it's that easy and potent.
Now, for the name. Snake Juice is always a mythical elixir that promises to heal every single ailment you will ever have. However, Zilker Brewing told us that this beer will instantly relieve your hops deprivation and cure your fatigue while refreshing your whole system. All health claims, of course, are utterly ridiculous and not guaranteed. But hey, the beer is in our refrigerators, so it works.