International Tongue Twister Day

Today is International Tongue Twister Day, a day to celebrate those expressions that tend to tie your tongue in knots. A tongue-twister is defined as “a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly, and can be used as a type of spoken (or sung) word game. Some tongue-twisters produce results which are humorous (or humorously vulgar) when they are mispronounced, while others simply rely on the confusion and mistakes of the speaker for their amusement value.” Here are several I managed to uncover that involve beer. Enjoy.


Brewer Braun brews brown beer (Braubauer Braun braut braunes Bier)


Bold and brave beer brewers always prepare bitter, brown, Bavarian beer (Biedere brave Bierbauerburschen bereiten beständig bitteres braunes bayrisches Bier)


Rory the warrior and Roger the worrier were reared wrongly in a rural brewery.


An old seabear sits on the pier and drinks a pint of beer.


A canner can can anything that he can,
But a canner can’t can a can, can he?


Do drunk ducks and drakes drown?


Betty Botter had some bitter,
“But,” she said, “this bitter’s bitter.
If I brew this bitter better,
It would make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter,
That would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter –
Better than her bitter butter –
And she baked it in her batter;
And the batter was not bitter.
So ’twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better bitter.


The bitters Betty Botter bought could make her batter bitter, so she thought she’d better buy some better bitters!


Note: the blue circle is the pump handle for Ad Hop Tongue Twister, a beer from Ad Hop Brewing in Liverpool, England.

Punny Bars

If you’re one of those people who can barley stand a bad pun, you may want to reconsider reading this post. Personally, I’m a ferment believer. I love a good pun, the more groan-inducing the better, but I have learned that there are people in the world who do not agree; and while I can’t understand them, I do try to sympathize. So be warned, weizen up and it will be smooth aleing. Hopefully, bad puns are the yeast of your problems. This post is just for Schlitz and giggles, and for what it’s wort, it will all turn out for the best. Ales well that ends well.

So the website Atlas Obscura partnered with Digg to crowdsource groan-inducing puns that businesses used in naming themselves. You’ve seen them, ones like “Hannah and Her Scissors” or “A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn.” So they put out a virtual call for submissions and got around 3,000 back, whittled down to 1,900 after eliminating duplicates. In the end, they decided that while many submissions weren’t technically puns, but also included movie allusions, homophones, and dirty words, they were funny enough and were in the same spirit so allowed many of those, too. Apparently the most submitted name was for Vietnamese noodles, “9021-Pho,” and there were also inexplicably quite a few hair salons named “Curl up and Dye.”

Then they created an interactive map with all of the punny names, which they called The Ultimate Crowdsourced Map of Punny Businesses in America. They even divided them into major categories, including Cleaning Businesses/Flower Shops/Portable Bathrooms, Coffee shops, Doctors and Dentists, Food Trucks, Hair/Nail Salons, Pet Care, Restaurants and Other (including retail stores, vape shops and lots of yarn stores).


Then there was one other category that caught my eye: Bar/Pubs, which even included one brewery, although I’m not sure I would have listed it. Since it was crowdsourced, I feel certain they probably missed a few, or even a lot, given how many bad or punny bar names I’ve seen over the years. Some of these name you just know had to be created after a few drinks. Do I think alcohol may have been involved? Of Coors I do.

The Full List of Pun Bar and Pub Names:

Abe’s on Lincoln, Savannah, GA
Al Smith’s Saloon, East Troy, WI
Anchor Management Bar and Grill, Oroville, CA
Bar Celona, Pasadena, CA
Bar None, San Francisco, CA
Beer and Loathing in Dundee, Omaha, NE
Beerhive Pub, Salt Lake City, UT
Brews Brothers, Galveston, TX
Brews Brothers Taproom, Murphysboro, IL
C’MON INN, Fountain, CO
Catcher in the Rye, Los Angeles, CA
Chez When Cocktail Lounge, Sedalia, MO
Dancin’ Bare, Portland, OR
Deja Brew, Wendell, MA
Devil’s Advocate, Tempe, AZ
Dew Drop Inn, Cincinnati, OH; Washington, DC; Oak Creek Canyon, AZ & New Orleans, LA
Dick’s Halfway Inn, Rosedale, MD
Dupont Italian Kitchen Bar, Washington, DC
Fumducks, Houston, TX
Gordough’s Donuts, Austin, TX
Hi Dive, San Francisco, CA
Holmes Plate,Corning, NY
John’s Plumbing, Greensboro, NC
Kegler’s, Crest Hill, IL
Lei Low, Houston, TX
Longshots, Joliet, IL
LowBrau, Sacramento, CA
Mother Muff’s, Colorado Springs, CO
Mustang Alley’s, Baltimore, MD
My Brothers Place, San Bruno, CA
Neil’s Bahr, Houston, TX
Nice Ash, Waukesha, WI
Olive Or Twist, Portland, OR & Pittsburgh, PA
Paddy O’Beers, Raleigh, NC
Pour House, Hartford, CT; Jamison, PA; Exton, PA; St Louis, MO & Sacramento, CA
Sir Vezas, Tucson, AZ
Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn, Fairbanks, AK
South Side Liquor Box, Toledo, OH
Stocks and Blondes, Chicago, IL
Stowaway Pub,Stow, OH
Swagger Inn, Lyndon Station, WI
Tequila Mockingbird, Ocean City, MD
The Big Legrowlski, Portland, OR
The Crossbar, Havertown, PA
The Crow Bar, Mount Holly, NJ
The Frosty Beaver, Cleveland, OH
The Hungry Beaver, Wrangell, AK
The Picnic Tap, Nashville, TN
The Pour House, Siren, WI; Raleigh, NC & James Island, SC
The Red, White & Brew, Hammond, LA
The Stagger Inn, Edwardsville, IL
The Tapp, Tarrytown, NY
The Tavernacle, Salt Lake City, UT
The Trappe Door, Greenville, SC
The Wine Seller, Williamsburg, VA
The Wurst Bar, Ypsilanti, MI
Thew Alibi, Coos Bay, OR
Thirst N’ Howl, Little Rock, AR
Torrey Pints, La Jolla, CA
Unwined, Discovery Bay, CA
What Ales You, Burlington, VT
Winegasm, Astoria, NY
Wish You Were Beer, Madison, AL
Wit’s Inn, New Orleans, LA
21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA

While the original list is now closed, if you know of one they missed that would fit into the spirit of this list, please add in the comments here. I feel confident there are many more. And if they included beer names, or even just hop pun names, the list would run into the thousands.

Still one of my favorite beer names.

The Language Of Hangovers

While searching for something this weekend, I happened upon A Few Too Many, by Joan Acocella, that appeared in The New Yorker magazine in May of 2008. If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a word nerd, and love language. So her piece on hangovers included this gem of a paragraph, explaining how other languages described a hangover:

There’s some awesome phrases there, it may be time to create a page of hangover words, similar to Drunk Words, Puke Words and Beer Slang, or even my list of Beer In Other Languages.

Believe it or not, apparently the word “hangover,” meaning “a severe headache or other after effects caused by drinking an excess of alcohol,” was first used around 1902 or 1904 (depending on the source). It seems like it would be older than that, but apparently that’s when it was first seen in print in the United States, where the word originated. It did show up a little earlier, in 1894, as hang-over, but meaning “a survival, a thing left over from before.” Prior to hangover’s debut as the perfect word to describe our pain and discomfort, these were some of the most common words people used to describe that feeling.

  • black dog
  • blue-devils
  • bottle ache
  • bust-head
  • carpenters in the forehead
  • cropsick
  • gallon-distemper
  • hair-ache
  • jim-jams
  • katzenjammer
  • morning fog
  • wooden mouth
  • the zings

Here’s “hangover” in just a few languages, with the literal translation in brackets. My favorite is undoubtedly the Finnish word, which is “krapula,” which sounds exactly like you feel when you’re hungover.

  • Chinese (Mandarin): suzui [stay-over drunk]
  • Colombian Spanish: guayabo [guava trees]
  • Finnish: krapula
  • French: gueule de bois [a wooden gob]
  • Hebrew: הנגאובר [severe dizziness]
  • Hungarian: másnaposság [next-day-ish-ness]
  • Icelandic: thynnka [thinness]
  • Japanese: futsukayoi [two-day drunk]
  • Korean: suk-chwi [stay-over drunk]
  • Russian: poxmel’je [from drink]
  • Serbian: мамурлук [crapulence]
  • Spanish: resaca [undertow or backwash]
  • Swedish: kopparslagare [coppersmith]
  • Turkish: aksamdan kalmalık [evening remainder]
  • Vietnamese: dựng xiên [built cockeyed]
  • Zulu: babelaas or babbelas


And here’s a few random slang words for hangovers:

  • American slang, early 1900s: crapulous
  • American slang: PRS, for “Post Refreshment Syndrome”
  • Central American slang: “goma” which is rubber
  • Danish slang: tømmermænd, which apparently means “carpenters”
  • French, antiquated: mal aux cheveux, which essentially meant a “hair-ache”
  • German slang: kater, which means “tomcat,” and people hungover are also said to be “verkatert,” or “catted.” It’s supposedly derived from the word “katarrh,” an antiquated expression for an illness.
  • Italian slang: postumi della sbornia, which means the “after-death of the drunkenness”
  • Mexican slang: crudo, which means “raw”
  • Modern Irish: Ta dha cinn orm, which apparently means “There are two heads on me”
  • Polish slang: kac
  • Swedish slang: baksmälla, which roughly means “a whack on the ass”

And finally, here’s a list I found of “distinctly Irish ways to describe your hangover:”

  • I’m in Lego
  • The horrors
  • I feel like boiled shite
  • Sick as a small hospital
  • I’m puking my ring
  • Bottle of ghosts
  • I’ve had a bad pint
  • Brown bottle flu
  • I’m in a heap
  • Mouth like a fur boot
  • I’ve got The Fear
  • In rag order


Time For An Utepils

The trivia website Dose recently had a list they posted of 21 Words That Don’t Exist In English, But Should. Essentially they’re words in other languages for which there’s no English equivalent, which Dose argues should be added to our dictionaries. Given our history of liberal “borrowing” of foreign words, I can’t see why not. The one word that caught my attention was Utepils (pronounced “oot-er-pillss”), a noun meaning “to sit outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer.”

According to the book “The untranslatables’,” by C. J. Moore, “you have to live through the long dark months of a Norwegian winter to appreciate the annual Norwegian rite of utepils. Literally it means ‘the first drink of the year taken out of doors.’ Easter is barely past, with its tradition of hyttepåske — your Easter visit to your remote cabin — and the days are at last getting longer. Although it’s still practically freezing, everyone is queueing up to invite you to a first utepils get-together ar their favourite bar.

Apparently that’s not exactly correct, and a native Norwegian writing a blog entitled An Enthusiast’s Lexicon, describes utepils more fully:

Actually, utepils simply means any beer enjoyed outside, at any time of the year, but it is true that the first one of the season is a much anticipated ritual. You know spring is on its way when norwegians brave the chilling temperatures and gather around their pints, sometimes even wrapped in blankets. The practice continues throughout the year though – nothing says summer like utepils.

The word itself is made up of two words, ute (‘outside’) and pils, which is simply short for Pilsner, the type of lager beer most commonly consumed in Norway. Interestingly, pils is also used as a slang verb (‘å pilse’), meaning simply ‘to drink beer’. So when you are getting together for an utepils you are pilsing.

Anyway, as our weather in Northern California has been decidedly warm the last few days, I think it’s time I sat out on our back deck, basking in the sunshine with a beer in hand, and enjoyed me a good old-fashioned Utepils. Who’s with me?


Beer & Hieroglyphics

Perhaps it’s why I became a writer, but I’ve always been fascinated by languages, and especially different alphabets. They always seemed like secret codes, and few more so than Egyptian hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics are, of course, one of the earliest forms of written communication. They were once thought to be the oldest form, but more recent evidence seems to suggest that Sumerian writing most likely predates the Egyptian writing, and that they probably developed independently.

Not surprisingly, since beer was so important at the dawn of civilization, even though the number of individual hieroglyphics was limited (compared to modern vocabularies) there were several beer-specific hieroglyphics. How many there are is uncertain. E.A. Wallis Budge compiled a list of over 1,000 that was published in various forms between the late 1890s and 1920. But the standard reference is generally thought to be Gardiner’s Sign List, created by British Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner in the 1950s, containing around 750 common form hieroglyphics from the Middle Egyptian language.

Gardiner’s Sign List is organized into 26 categories that are assigned a letter and then a number to keep them straight. For example, “E” is for “mammals” and E6 is a “horse.”

So here are the Egyptian hieroglyphics that have to do with beer and brewing, at least from the Gardiner’s Sign List. I’ve also included different views of the same hieroglyphic, that is different ways that it was written or expressed. The Letter and Number is, of course, how each is classified in the Gardiner’s Sign List.

A36: Brewer


Alternative Images:
A36-brewer-1 A36-brewer-2 A36-brewer-3 A36-brewer-clay A36-brewer-color

A37: Brewer (Variant)


Alternative Images:
A37-brewer-1 A37-brewer-2 A37-brewer-3

M39: Basket of Grain


Alternative Images:
M39-basket-of-grain-1 M39-basket-of-grain-2 M39-basket-of-grain-3 M39-basket-of-grain-4 M39-color

O50: Circular Threshing Floor Covered with Grain


Alternative Images:
O50-grain-floor-1 O50-grain-floor-2 O50-grain-floor-3 O50-grain-floor-4 O50-grain-floor-color

O51: Heap of Grain on a Raised Mud Floor


Alternative Images:
O51-heap-of-grain-1 O51-heap-of-grain-2 O51-heap-of-grain-3 O51-heap-of-grain-color

W22: Beer Jug


Alternative Images:
W22-beer-jug-1 W22-beer-jug-2 W22-beer-jug-3 W22-beer-jug-4 W22-beer-jug-color

W23: Beer Jug (Variant)


Alternative Images:
W23-beer-jug-1 W23-beer-jug-2 W23-beer-jug-3 W23-beer-jug-4 W23-beer-jug-5 W23-beer-jug-6 W23-beer-jug-7 W23-beer-jug-color

Beer From Around The World

Today’s infographic, entitled Beer From Around The World, created for Legal Info 360. On their website, the infographic is somewhat different, and is interactive. One interesting stat I hadn’t seen before is they state that there are 15,235,126 breweries in the world. With around 7.2 billion people in the world, that’s roughly one for every 473 people. Does that seem to high to anybody else?

Click here to see the infographic full size.

On Geeks & Nerds & Snobs

The definitions of how we follow our passions seems to be a popular topic of discussion lately. Are we geeks, nerds, snobs, enthusiasts, connoisseurs or aficionados, or just annoying? I tackled this question in my first article for Beer Advocate magazine, way back in 2007, in “Freaks and Beer Geeks.” In that piece, I defined a geek as “an obsessive enthusiast, often single-mindedly accomplished, yet with a lingering social awkwardness, at least outside the cocoon of their chosen form of geekdom.” I’m still pretty happy with that definition, it seems to fit most of the geeks I know. And as I’m one myself — something I gleefully admitted in Living in the Silver Age for All About Beer — I tend to prefer being around other geeks. In my experience, we tend to run in packs. We’re tribal.
Here’s what I said in early 2007.

Beer Geeks. You probably know one of us. Hell, if you’re reading this magazine you may be one, too. And even if you don’t or you aren’t, you probably know what we’re talking about. We’re the Trekkies — excuse me — Trekkers of the beer world. You can find us at our countless conventions — a.k.a. beer festivals — wearing the uniform: beer t-shirt (occasionally tie-dyed), denim, baseball cap with brewery logo and in winter a hoodie, ditto logo. We’ll go anywhere in the world to find great beer.

We are also known by other names: snob, fanatic and hophead, among others. But fanatic never quite caught on, hophead is generally reserved for fans of IPAs and other hoppy beers, and snob never crossed over, retaining its mostly derogatory meaning. Originally, a snob was someone who made shoes, a cobbler, before migrating to a person of the lower classes who wants to move up and then on to its present meaning of a person who places too much emphasis on status or “a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to others.”

Occasionally kinder, gentler terms are employed like enthusiast or aficionado, but they never seem to strike the right chord for some reason. Most of us prefer to be known simply as beer geeks though, oddly enough, the word geek meant originally a fool and later referred to the lowest rung of circus performer, one who may even have bitten the heads off of live chickens, as popularized in a 1946 novel, “Nightmare Alley,” by William Gresham, about the seedy world of traveling carnivals. In that book, to be a “geek” was to be so down and out that you’d do virtually anything to get by, no matter how distasteful or vile.

Like many old words that were primarily derogatory, its meaning has now been turned on its head. Beginning probably with the original new nerd, the computer geek, it was taken back as a source of pride. So today there are band geeks, computer geeks, science geeks, film geeks, comics geeks, history geeks and Star Wars geeks, to name only a few, all of them proud to call themselves geek, because of the shared passion that is so central to its modern meaning. Today a geek is an obsessive enthusiast, often single-mindedly accomplished, yet with a lingering social awkwardness, at least outside the cocoon of their chosen form of geekdom.

But then there’s the on-going debate about whether we, or anybody really, is a geek, a nerd, a dork, a snob, or whatever. Not that these labels matter, but they must at least a little bit, since people keep talking about them.
Beer Geek Speak last year asked Snob, Geek or Nerd…Which are you??, Anti-Hero Brewing also tackled Beer Geek vs. Beer Snob and Modern Drunkard has the Subtle Art of Beer Snobbery. The point is, do a Google search for geek vs. nerd or geek vs. snob and you’ll get a lot of hits, and most of the top ones, particularly comparing geeks and snobs, are about beer drinkers. Clearly, this is on our minds.

I think a lot of this is coming from the fact that beer is trying to climb out of the muck and ooze that has kept it down for decades, kept it a drink of of the hoi polloi, with many manufacturers more worried about quantity than quality. Changing that has been a struggle, for a variety of reasons, but the notion that beer is every bit as sophisticated and worthy of respect as any other beverage has been difficult to achieve. Why that is would make for an entire book, a very thick book even, but this endless debate over labels is just one manifestation of that, I believe. And so we see the endless comparisons to wine, which annoys many of us to no end. I’ve written extensively about my own frustration with this, and earlier today Jen Muehlbauer had a terrific piece on that very subject: Fancy beer: pinkies out or middle fingers up?

Earlier this morning, a UK colleague, Phil Mellows, shared an interesting article from Slackpropagation entitled On “Geek” Versus “Nerd”, first published this June. A more general discussion, in it author Burr Settles defines a geek as an “enthusiast of a particular topic or field,” saying “Geeks are ‘collection’ oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer,” whereas a nerd he defines as a “studious intellectual, although again of a particular topic or field. Nerds are ‘achievement’ oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.” He later draws a further distinction, saying this. “Both are dedicated to their subjects, and sometimes socially awkward. The distinction is that geeks are fans of their subjects, and nerds are practitioners of them.”

He then mined the data from several million tweets to create a statistical model showing geeks and nerds plotted on an x/y axis showing their relative geekiness and nerdiness. Here’s how he described the results:

The PMI statistic measures a kind of correlation: a positive PMI score for two words means they ”keep great company,” a negative score means they tend to keep their distance, and a score close to zero means they bump into each other more or less at random.

With that in mind, here is a scatterplot of various words according to their PMI scores for both “geek” and “nerd” on different axes (ignoring words with negative PMI, and treating #hashtags as distinct):

And here is the plotted chart, though I added beer since his data didn’t include beer geeks or beer nerds. And frankly, I just picked a hole where I thought beer might fit, but I really can’t say where beer would properly fit along the continuum. Where do you think it belongs?

Click here to see the original chart full size.

To me, this is interesting stuff, even though in the grand scheme of things none of it really matters. As long as you’re comfortable in your own skin and know who you are, what people call you you or even how you label yourself means almost nothing. But where we fit into the world does matter, at least to each of us, so I think that’s probably why I find this fascinating. We may not be able to pick our family, but our friends, our passions and the tribes we join do matter deeply and on a very personal level. They form a part of the architecture by which we define ourselves. I identify myself as a beer drinker, and that means something to my self-image, as I imagine such labels do to most of us. It’s how we see ourselves and present ourselves to the world. It only seems to go wrong when other people choose the labels for us. For example, I’m fine with geek, and nerd doesn’t bother me, but I don’t care for snob, even though I can think of plenty of instances when I have been a snob. In part, it’s a perception of the words as labels themselves. They’re not static, but in constant flux, their meaning changing subtly all the time.

And here’s one final bit of interest. In the comments, there’s one from a Hannah Fry, who’s the host of Number Hub, part of a British YouTube channel started by James May called Head Squeeze. After this post was initially published, she entertainingly devoted one of her weekly videos to the question of what distinguishes geeks and nerds. Enjoy.

Relative Prevalence Of The Word For Beer In Europe’s Ten Most Spoken Languages

Today’s infographic graphs is similar to yesterday’s one showing “the relative prevalence of the word for beer in the world’s ten most spoken languages (by # of native speakers),” but instead shows the same metric for Europe. The map was also created by“>Floating Sheep, and was a follow up to yesterdays.

Because simply mapping references to beer in the world’s most spoken languages yielded a relatively homogeneous result due to the significant number of references to “beer” and “ale” in English, we thought a more locally specific analysis would be appropriate. So we instead mapped references to beer in twelve languages spoken primarily in Europe that were not included in our earlier map. And while this map obviously doesn’t include all of the many languages spoken on the continent, these languages were chosen because of their relative prominence within a larger sample of languages.

Click here to see the map full size.

Despite the usefulness of this particular grouping, it remains useful to consider how some of the most spoken languages in the world stack up to these more country-specific languages, so in the map below we reintroduce references in English, as well as references in German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, to some of Europe’s more widely spoken tongues.

While this graphic complicates the picture provided by our first map — there continues to be a significant amount of content in the expected, native languages of each country — English remains prominent throughout Europe, especially in reference to beer.

Click here to see the map full size.

Relative Prevalence Of The Word For Beer In The World’s Ten Most Spoken Languages

Today’s infographic graphs out the “the relative prevalence of the word for beer in the world’s ten most spoken languages (by # of native speakers). However, because of the fact that there were no points at which the number of references in the world’s sixth most-spoken language, Bengali, were greater than references to each of the other nine languages, we have excluded Bengali in this particular case. So while we’re sad to see Bengali left off the map, the fact that a language with 181 million native speakers has so few references to “beer” is telling of either vast inequalities in the way Bengalis are represented within the geoweb, or perhaps just their general distaste for beer.” The map was created by Floating Sheep, one of my favorite websites.

Click here to see the map full size.

“Zooming in to Europe only further accentuates the relative dominance of English among these languages, with significant portions of Portugal, Spain, and Germany even showing more references to beer than in their native languages. Interesting, however, that much of France is a mixture of English and German references, even in the much more southern portions of the country.”

Click here to see the European map full size.

The Essential Map Of Europe & Environs

Today’s infographic was sent to me last night by my good friend Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew, and the soon-to-be-published In Meat We Trust. She knows of my love of language and especially beer words. I have my own growing collection of the word Beer in Other Languages, but Feòrag NicBhrìde of Scotland created the Essential Map of Europe and Environs, which is essentially a map showing the various ways in which Europeans refer to beer, helpfully divided by language types or origins.

Click here to see the map full size.