Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Beer by Any Other Number Would Smell as Sweet … or Would If I Could Remember It

Quick! What kind of beer is Kyoto Brewing Kuroshio no Gotoku?

Or this? Schneider Weisse Tap X Mathilda Soleil.

Or this one? Ushi-Tora Uetake #040 Tap 72.

You may know these beers. In fact, you may know them so well that you have clear sense memories of them. On the other hand, like many of us, you may have had them at one point in your beer-drinking career, even quite recently, and cannot recall exactly what kind of beers they were.

There has been some discussion recently on a beer-related website about how difficult it is to determine, or remember the styles of certain beers based solely on their names.

That Kyoto beer was probably a saison or a Belgian IPA, right? – after all, those are Kyoto Brewing’s primary styles. The Schneider was surely a wheat beer (Weisse, yeah?). And the Ushi-Tora was probably a…. (Geez, I have no idea.)

Kuroshio no Gotoku is actually a stout (perhaps the “kuro” part of the name is a hint). The Schneider Weisse is a weizen bock – one of the best in the world. Ushi-Tora Uetake #040 Tap 72 is an Imperial IPA.

Without a defining style hitched to the end of the name, such as IPA, Saison, or Stout, beer drinkers often have trouble recalling which beers they liked or whatever the hell it was that they drank a year, a month, or even a week ago.

This is especially true for beers from breweries, such as Ushi Tora, which often list new brews simply by numbers, leaving it to others to add the style names when those beers are listed on sites such as RateBeer and Beer Advocate. Kyoto Brewing has a penchant for poetic Japanese names which in some cases befuddle even fluent Japanese speakers.

I do remember that Upright Seven (#7) is a saison because I’ve had the pleasure of drinking it a few times. But, then again Upright Four (#4) is also a saison, as is Upright Five (5#). But Upright Six (#6) is not; it’s a dark rye beer.

Of course, using numbers and unusual phrases for beer names certainly helps avoid trademark violation disputes, which have become more common as the number of craft breweries has been growing dramatically.

Anyway, raise a glass of # ___. Here’s to an increasing number of beers!