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What’s in a Name: The Beers of GABF

More than 4,000 brews were on tap at Great American Beer Festival 2018. Stouts, sours, IPAs, wheats, lagers, porters—whatever suits your fancy, it was there. So as a brewer, how do you stand out in such a large lineup of the nation’s best beers? An incredibly crafted brew is one way but an ingeniously clever name is another! Here are 11 beers that caught our attention, before they ever touched our tongues.


Photo © Brewers Association

I Hate Mondays :: Espresso Porter, 9.5% ABV
350 Brewing Co. (Tinley Park, IL)
Here’s one cure for a case of the Mondays. We’d definitely swap this malty espresso porter for our Monday morning cup of joe. Deep roasted coffee strikes the nose and a hint of sweetness stays on the tongue. While we can’t actually advise starting your day with this brew, we certainly encourage it as your Monday evening pick-me-up.

Bocky Balboa Heavy Wheat Champ :: Weizenbock, 9.2% ABV
Chicago Brewing Co (Las Vegas, NV)
Weighing in at over 9-percent ABV, this Rocky-inspired brew doesn’t mess around. Banana and bubblegum entice the nose, while the ultra-smooth blend of German Munich malts and hops packs a swift punch, straight to the kisser, in all the right ways.

Ahh Fuggles :: Irish Red Ale, 6% ABV
Arrowhead Ales Brewing Co. (New Lenox, IL)
With a name that sounds like something you might shout after stubbing your toe, this brew actually earns its alias from the earthy English hops with which it is brewed—Fuggle hops. This beer lands right on the fence between hoppy and malty and sweet and bitter but is by no means middle-of-the-road when it comes to taste. We’ll say it’s yummy AF. (Yummy as fuggle, that is.)

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Concrete Ship :: Russian Imperial Stout, 10.1% ABV
Cape May Brewing Co. (Rio Grande, NJ)
According to the brewer, the name for the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Concrete Ship refers to the S. S. Atlantus, beached on the coast of New Jersey. Due to steel shortages, the experimental S.S. Atlantus was initially constructed for World War I. Proving impractical (because, obvious reasons), the vessel was sent to a ship graveyard. However, the ship was brought back to the sea, with the intentions of serving as a ferry in the late 1920s. Sadly, the ship came loose during a storm, resting on the shore of New Jersey. Nine decades later, it still sits there today. In honor of the S.S. Atlantus comes the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Concrete Ship. Laid to rest in seven-year-old Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrels, this brew lends notes of roasted coffee and malt on the nose and chocolate and vanilla on the tongue. With a strong 10.1-percent-ABV rating, this beer is set to sail into any stout lovers heart.

Rick and Mortmunder :: Export Lager, 5.2% ABV
54-40 Brewing Co. (Washougal, WA)
Wubba lubba dub dub! Golden in color, hoppy on the tongue, and easy on the way down, the Rick and Mortmunder lager is a nice way to start your next intergalactic adventure (or binge watch adult cartoons).

Punch You In The EyePA ::  American Imperial IPA, 9.25% ABV
Fifty West Brewing Co (Cincinnati, OH)
Less of a punch and more of a, well, hard slap, this IPA successfully toes the line with bitterness from the hops balanced with malts. Tropical notes on the nose and the taste make for a balanced brew.

Mike Tyson’s Voice :: American Stout, 5.5% ABV
Bearded Owl Brewing (Peoria, IL)
Don’t let this brew’s dark, heavy appearance scare you away. It might look like it packs a serious punch, but one sip will reward you with light chocolatey flavors and strong notes of coconut. Coming in at just 5.5-percent ABV, this beer a has an unexpected soft side.

Bees Better Have My Money :: American Wheat with Orange and Honey, 5.6% ABV
Morgan Territory Brewing
(Tracy, CA)
This light-bodied ale is definitely a sweeter interpretation of the famous Rihanna song, brewed with local honey and finished with citrus notes thanks to the orange zest.

Who’s A Good Boy? :: Chocolate Raspberry Imperial Milk Stout, 9.1%
Barrage Brewing Co. (Farmingdale, NY)
Strong traces of chocolate and fruit indulge the nose on this heavy-hitting stout. Hints of raspberry bite at your palate before being pacified by smooth waves of chocolate. According to the brewer, this beer was christened Who’s A Good Boy? simply because it was the next name on an ever-growing list. The team at Barrage Brewing Co. works together to keep a running tab of clever names that will eventually belong to delicious drafts. Name ideas come to team members in moments of unencumbered ingenuity and unexpected strokes of inspiration. In the case of Who’s A Good Boy? it was born from a television commercial starring a particularly adorable dog. But nonetheless, we think this beer is definitely a wag-worthy treat.

Glitter AF :: Blonde Ale, 4% ABV
Mt. Lower Brewing Co. (Arcadia, CA)
Glitter beer is definitely a thing, and it definitely shined bright at GABF. Aptly named, the Glitter AF was a stunner. This light raspberry-hibiscus ale tinted with a rose hue (also on trend) swirled with bits of glitter. Mildly tart and a low ABV of only four-percent, this ale is made to shimmer out on the patio in the sunshine.

Daddy’s Water :: American Red Lager, 3.8% ABV
Beyond The Mountain Brewing (Boulder, CO)
As described by the brewery, this beer is “perfect for mowing the lawn, watching the game, and making terrible dad jokes.” An easy-drinking, soft-hitting lager, Daddy’s Water is the epitome of a crack-a-cold-one-with-the-gang kind of brew.

Peyton Garcia and Morgan Carter