This morning, Quite Interesting tweeted an obscure beer word that I was not familiar with: Gambrinous. The Collins Dictionary, and others, defines it simply as “full of beer,” but I much prefer the more elegant definition from the Urban Dictionary; “To be content and happy due to a stomach full of beer.”
Today is the birthday of John Taylor, who was nicknamed “The Bard of Beer,” although he apparently referred to himself as “The Water Poet.” (August 24, 1578-1653). He was born in Gloucester, and “after his waterman apprenticeship he served (1596) in Essex’s fleet, and was present at Flores in 1597 and at a siege of Cadiz.”
Here’s part of his biography from his Wikipedia page:
He spent much of his life as a Thames waterman, a member of the guild of boatmen that ferried passengers across the River Thames in London, in the days when the London Bridge was the only passage between the banks. He became a member of the ruling oligarchy of the guild, serving as its clerk; it is mainly through his writings that history is familiar with the watermen’s disputes of 1641–42, in which an attempt was made to democratize the leadership of the Company. He details the uprisings in the pamphlets Iohn Taylors Manifestation … and To the Right Honorable Assembly … (Commons Petition), and in John Taylors Last Voyage and Adventure of 1641.
He was a prolific, if rough-hewn writer (a wit rather than a poet), with over one hundred and fifty publications in his lifetime. Many were gathered into the compilation All the Workes of John Taylor the Water Poet (London, 1630; facsimile reprint Scholar Press, Menston, Yorkshire, 1973); augmented by the Spenser Society’s edition of the Works of John Taylor … not included in the Folio edition of 1630 (5 volumes, 1870–78). Although his work was not sophisticated, he was a keen observer of people and styles in the seventeenth century, and his work is often studied by social historians. An example is his 1621 work Taylor’s Motto, which included a list of then-current card games and diversions.
He achieved notoriety by a series of eccentric journeys: for example, he travelled from London to Queenborough in a paper boat with two stockfish tied to canes for oars, described in “The Praise of Hemp-Seed”, which was re-enacted in 2006. From his journey to Scotland in 1618, on which he took no money, Taylor published his Pennyless Pilgrimage. (Ben Jonson walked to Scotland in the same year.)
Taylor is one of the few credited early authors of a palindrome: in 1614, he wrote “Lewd did I live, & evil I did dwel.” He wrote a poem about Thomas Parr, a man who supposedly lived to the age of 152. He was also the author of a constructed language called Barmoodan.
Many of Taylor’s works were published by subscription; i.e., he would propose a book, ask for contributors, and write it when he had enough subscribers to undertake the printing costs. He had more than sixteen hundred subscribers to The Pennylesse Pilgrimage; or, the Moneylesse Perambulation of John Taylor, alias the Kings Magesties Water-Poet; How He TRAVAILED on Foot from London to Edenborough in Scotland, Not Carrying any Money To or Fro, Neither Begging, Borrowing, or Asking Meate, Drinke, or Lodging., published in 1618.
And this is his entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
John Taylor, (born Aug. 24, 1580, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Eng.—died December 1653, London), minor English poet, pamphleteer, and journalist who called himself “the Water Poet.”
The son of a surgeon, Taylor was sent to a grammar school but became, as he said, “mired in Latin accidence” and was apprenticed to a Thames boatman. He served in the navy and saw action at Cádiz (1596) and Flores (1597). Returning to London, he worked as a waterman transporting passengers up and down the River Thames and also held a semiofficial post at the Tower of London for several years. Taylor won fame by making a series of whimsical journeys that he described in lively, rollicking verse and prose. For example, he journeyed from London to Queenborough, Kent, in a paper boat with two stockfish tied to canes for oars and nearly drowned in the attempt. He made other water journeys between London, York, and Salisbury, and The Pennyles Pilgrimage. . . (1618) describes a trip he made on foot from London to Edinburgh without money. In 1620 he journeyed to Prague, where he was received by the queen of Bohemia. His humorous accounts of his journeys won the patronage of Ben Jonson, among others. Taylor also amused the court and the public in his paper war with another eccentric traveler, Thomas Coryate. In 1630 he published 63 pieces in All the Works of John Taylor the Water Poet, although he continued to publish prolifically afterward.
When the English Civil Wars began Taylor moved to Oxford, where he wrote royalist pamphlets. After the city surrendered (1645), he returned to London and kept a public house, “The Crown” (later “The Poet’s Head”), until his death.
Here is one of his most beer-centric poems:
The Ex-Ale-Tation of Ale
This morning, the O.E.D. tweeted as their “Word of the Day,” the all but obselete word “alebush,” which they define as a “n. A bunch of ivy or other plant hung up as a tavern sign.”
I would certainly like to see more bars, and especially beer gardens, using bushes and trees to mark their spaces.
Here’s still another new word that should be added to the beer lexicon. Well, it’s not exactly a new word, but has been around 1876, and most likely earlier. It showed up as the word of the day yesterday on my “Forgotten English” page-a-day calendar.
The word is nazz’d and is described as “confused through beer or liquor; slightly drunk. Nazzy, stupified through drink.” It was apparently listed in “C. Clough Robinson’s Dialect of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876.”
Trying to find out more, I found “Nazzle,” defined as “to be in a dreamy, stupid, abstracted state,” also apparently originating in Yorkshire, and listed in “Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary, 1896-1905.” They certainly sound like related words, though I can’t be absolutely certain.
And I also found this definition:
Nazz’d, or Nazzy, adj. slightly drunk. Stupified. “Gying nazzling alang,” sauntering in a state of abstraction.
That one’s from “A Glossary of Words Used in Swaledale, Yorkshire,” by Captain John Harland, published in 1873.
So my interpretation of the word is that it’s meant to describe a very specific type of intoxication. Maybe buzzed is close to it, although I’ve come to hate that word due to the prohibitionist’s appropriation of it, but an intoxication that’s not complete, falling down, incoherent drunk, but closer to that sweet spot where you’re in a dreamlike state. That’s a good place to be.
Last year, for the members of the North American Guild of Beer Writers, I set up a post-CBC symposium the day after the Craft Brewers Conference ended in Philadelphia. We’ll be doing it again in DC this year, on Friday, April 14. Essentially it’s a mini-CBC and we had six speakers, one hour each, including one panel of three, over the course of the day. When I was putting it together, I wasn’t sure what to call it, but liked the sound of symposium. Merriam-Webster defines “symposium” as “a formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics” and Dictionary.com states it’s “a meeting or conference for the discussion of some subject, especially a meeting at which several speakers talk on or discuss a topic before an audience.”
But I just learned that it has an older, original meaning that made my choice of naming our symposium even more perfect than I’d realized. That meaning, according to Merriam-Webster is “a drinking party; especially: one following a banquet and providing music, singing, and conversation.” And dictionary.com defines it “(in ancient Greece and Rome) a convivial meeting, usually following a dinner, for drinking and intellectual conversation.”
Here’s the Etymology:
Borrowing from Latin symposium, from Ancient Greek συμπόσιον (sumpósion, “drinking party”) from συμπίνω (sumpínō, “drink together”) συν- (sun-, “together-”) + πίνω (pínō, “drink”).
A fresco taken from the north wall of the Tomb of the Diver
(from Paestum, Italy, c. 475 BC): a symposium scene.
This is from the Online Etymology Dictionary:
n. 1580s, “account of a gathering or party,” from Latin symposium “drinking party, symposium,” from Greek symposion “convivial gathering of the educated” (related to sympotes “drinking companion”), from syn- “together” (see syn- ) + posis “a drinking,” from a stem of Aeolic ponen “to drink,” cognate with Latin potare “to drink” (see potion ). The sense of “meeting on some subject” is from 1784. Reflecting the Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion, the modern sense is especially from the word being used as a title for one of Plato’s dialogues. Greek plural is symposia, and the leader of one is a symposiarch (c.1600 in English).
And this is the “Did You Know?” section of Merriam-Webster:
It was drinking more than thinking that drew people to the original symposia and that gave us the word symposium. The ancient Greeks would often follow a banquet with a drinking party they called a “symposion.” That name came from “sympinein,” a verb that combines pinein, meaning “to drink,” with the prefix syn-, meaning “together.” Originally, English speakers only used “symposium” to refer to such an ancient Greek party, but in the 18th century British gentlemen’s clubs started using the word for gatherings in which intellectual conversation was fueled by drinking. By the 19th century, “symposium” had gained the more sober sense we know today, describing meetings in which the focus is more on the exchange of ideas and less on imbibing.
So that sounds about right, but with more emphasis on the imbibing, at least that was the goal. But I think I need to attend a lot more symposiums.
There are a bewildering number of words to describe that someone has been drinking a bit to much. I’ve collected over 3,000 slang terms, or Drunk Words. There are modern terms, of course, and slang from almost every age of man. Even Ben Franklin had his own list. Another literary take on over-indulging came from Thomas Nashe, who “was a playwright, poet, and satirist. He is best known for his novel The Unfortunate Traveller.” He lived from 1567 until around 1601, and was also “considered the greatest of the English Elizabethan pamphleteers.” One of his pamphlets was entitled the Pierce Penniless, His Suppliction to the Devil, published in 1592. “It was among the most popular of the Elizabethan pamphlets.”
It is written from the point of view of Pierce, a man who has not met with good fortune, who now bitterly complains of the world’s wickedness, and addresses his complaints to the devil. At times the identity of Pierce seems to conflate with Nashe’s own. But Nashe also portrays Pierce as something of an arrogant and prodigal fool. The story is told in a style that is complex, witty, fulminating, extemporaneous, digressive, anecdotal, filled with wicked descriptions, and peppered with newly minted words and Latin phrases. The satire can be mocking and bitingly sharp, and at times Nashe’s style seems to relish its own obscurity.
And this is the sort of introduction of the list, that paragraphs that precede it.
King Edgar, because his subjects should not offend in swilling, and bibbing, as they did, caused certaine iron cups to be chayned to everie fountaine and wells fide, and at euery Vintner’s doore, with iron pins in them, to stint euery man how much he should drinke; and he that went beyond one of those pins forfeited a penny for euery draught. And, if stories were well searcht, I belieue hoopes in quart pots were inuented to that ende, that eury man should take his hoope, and no more. I haue heard it justified for a truth by great personages, that the olde Marquesse of Pisana (who yet liues) drinkes not once in feauen years; and I haue read of one Andron of Argos, that was so sildome thirstie, that hee trauailed ouer the hot, burning sands of Lybia, and neuer dranke. Then, why should our colde Clime bring forth such fierie throats? Are we more thivstie than Spaine and Italy, where the sunnes force is doubled? The Germaines and lowe Dutch, me thinkes, should bee continually kept moyst with the foggie ayre and stincking mystes that aryse out of theyr fennie soyle; but as their countrey is ouer-flowed with water, so are their heads alwayes ouer-flowen with wine, and in their bellyes they haue standing quag-myres and bogs of English beere.
One of their breede it was that writ the booke, De Arte Bibendi, a worshipfull treatise, fitte for none but Silenus and his asse to set forth : besides that volume, wee haue generall rules and injunctions, as good as printed precepts, or statutes set downe by Acte of Parliament, that goe from drunkard to drunkard; as still to keepe your first man, not to leaue anie flockes in the bottonie of the cup, to knock the glasse on your thumbe when you haue done, to haue some shooing home to pul on your wine, as a rasher of the coles, or a redde herring, to stirre it about with a candle’s ende to make it taste better, and not to hold your peace whiles the pot is stirring.
Nor haue we one or two kinde of drunkards onely, but eight kindes.
THE EIGHT KINDES OF DRUNKENNES
Below are the eight types of drunks, as articulated by Nashe, along with commentary by the staff of Merriam-Webster.
- Ape Drunk
The first is ape drunke; and he leapes, and singes, and hollowes, and danceth for the heavens;
From Merriam-Webster: A number of the animals referenced in Nashe’s list have found themselves commonly used in compound nouns, or functioning as a figurative adjective. Ape, however, appears to have largely escaped this fate. It does come up in the expression go ape (“to become very excited or angry”), which is somewhat similar in meaning to the actions of the drunk described by Nashe but as this is not recorded until the middle of the 20th century it is unlikely to have a connection to ape drunk.
- Lion Drunk
The second is lion drunke; and he flings the pots about the house, calls his hostesse whore, breakes the glasse windowes with his dagger, and is apt to quarrell with anie man that speaks to him;
From Merriam-Webster: When considering how often one encounters another person who might best be described as “drunk and mean,” it is rather odd that we should have lost more than one useful ways of referring to such a person in our language. For in addition to Nashe’s lion drunk a number of Scottish dictionaries make note of barley-hood, which is an episode of bad temper brought about by imbibing. A variant of this word, barlikhood, is memorably defined in the glossary to a collection of British plays from the late 18th century: “a fit of drunken angry passion.”
- Swine Drunk
The third is swine drunke; heavie, lumpish, and sleepie, and cries for a little more drinke, and a fewe more cloathes;
From Merriam-Webster: Some people think that swine have received a bad rap, what with the whole secondary meaning of “contemptible person,” large portions of the world’s population considering them unclean animals, and the general pejorative meanings of the word pig; others think that they likely don’t care much, save to be relieved that some people do not want to eat them. It is unclear to most lexicographers what connection exists between the members of the family Suidae and Nashe’s idea that a swine drunk wants a “fewe more cloathes.”
- Sheep Drunk
The fourth is sheepe drunk; wise in his conceipt, when he cannot bring foorth a right word;
From Merriam-Webster: Sheep are not an animal that is traditionally associated with drunkenness, or misbehavior of any sort, come to think of it. The word for this particular animal has been used to indicate that a person, or group or people, is timid, meek, or in some other fashion unassertive. If you would like to describe someone as sheepish, meaning “resembling a sheep”, but would like to not have to explain that you don’t mean the sense of sheepish that is tied to embarrassment, you may use the word ovine.
- Maudlin Drunk
The fifth is mawdlen drunke; when a fellowe will weepe for kindnes in the midst of ale, and kisse you, saying, “By God, captaine, I love thee. Goe thy wayes; thou dost not thinke so often of me as I doo thee; I would (if it pleased God) I could not love thee as well as I doo;” and then he puts his finger in his eye, and cryes;
From Merriam-Webster: We have all met the maudlin drunk; in fact, the word maudlin began with the express meaning of “drunk enough to be emotionally silly,” and later took on the sense of “effusively sentimental.” The word comes from Mary Magdalene, the name of the woman who is often thought to be represented as washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. Through this representation (which some people think is not necessarily Mary Magdalene) the name came to be associated with tears, teariness, and a general state of lachrymosity.
- Martin Drunk
The sixt is Martin drunke; when a man is drunke, and drinkes himselfe sober ere he stirre;
From Merriam-Webster: There are a number of animals which are called martin; the name is applied to a wide variety of swallows and flycatchers (these are birds), to a kind of female calf that is born simultaneous with a male (and which is usually sterile and sexually imperfect), and also was formerly used to refer to an ape or monkey. Nashe’s martin drunk most likely is concerned with the last of these three possibilities. The Oxford English Dictionary, one of the few that records any of these kinds of drunkards, suggests that the martin in question was chosen by Nashe as a means of referring to Martin Marprelate, the pseudonym of a rival pamphleteer in the late 16th century.
While I think Merriam-Webster got most of these right, I think their analysis of Martin was a bit of a stretch, and I think there’s a simpler explanation. The “Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,” from 1894, includes the following definition for “Martin Drunk:”
Very intoxicated indeed; a drunken man “sobered” by drinking more. The feast of St. Martin (November 11) used to be held as a day of great debauch.
St. Martin’s Day is still an important holiday in several countries, and I think that Martin being used in that sense makes a great deal more sense than the other, seemingly flimsier explanation.
- Goat Drunk
The seventh is goate drunke; when, in his drunkennes, he hath no minde but on lecherie;
From Merriam-Webster: The goat has long been associated with lechery, so it it not surprising that Nashe’s list should reserve this animal for the category of “drunk and horny.” Goat itself has had the meaning of “lecher” since the late 16th century, and a number of words meaning “resembling a goat” (such as rammish and hircine) have also taken on the meaning of “lustful.”
- Fox Drunk
The eighth is fox drunke—when he is craftie drunke, as manie of the Dutchmen bee, that will never bargaine but when they are drunke.
From Merriam-Webster: Many of us are somewhat familiar with the extended uses of fox, often implying slyness or craftiness, and which range from being used in expressions (crazy like a fox) to simply being on of the figurative meanings of the word itself (“a clever crafty person”). Less commonly known is the sense of fox (which is now somewhat archaic), meaning “drunk” (although, it should be noted, without any connotations of craftiness). And even less commonly known than this is that Dutchmen will not bargain unless they are drunk … we think Nashe may have made this one up.
So what do you think of his list. It’s over 400 years old, but still seems to hold some universal truth. Although perhaps a more modern list might look a little different. We may have to look into that.
Here’s yet another new word that should be added to the beer lexicon. Well, it’s not exactly a new word, but has been around at least since 1824, and most likely earlier. It showed up today in my twitter feed, from Merriam-Webster, as part of their Words at Play series. The word is snotter and has several meanings, the most common being nautical — A fitting that holds the heel of a sprit close to the mast — and others along the lines of “to snivel; to cry or sob.” And more recently snotter is used as another word for snot.
But Merriam-Webster today highlighted an older, less-common meaning of the word in their Words at Play piece entitled “‘Snotter’, ‘Groak’, and 6 More Words Associated with Bad Habits.”
Here’s the definition that should be folded into our beer lexicon:
Definition: to breathe noisily
Snotter is a dialectal British word, and, as is so often the case with dialect words, carries a certain trenchant charm. It also has a variety of closely-related meanings, as it may be used to refer to snoring, sniveling, sniffing, snorting, or simply as another way to say snot.
If you’ve ever been a beer judge, or even were in a room watching other people judge beer, then you’ve most likely encountered a snotter. There’s a whole lot of noisy breathing going on during beer judging, whether it’s one long draw or a series of short, quick sniffs. Frankly, if you’re not a snotter, you’re probably not doing it correctly.
A few years ago I wrote an article for the Brewer’s Association I called Papa’s Got A Brand New Beer that was for Father’s Day. It featured a number of names that beer people have given their kids, celebrating their love of beer. My old friend, Adam Lambert — who I’ve known since he was in college and working part-time for SLO Brewing — recently tweeted “I think we need a blog for beer related kid names.” While setting up an entire new blog on that topic seemed too much, at least for me, I figured a page of People’s Beer Names could work.
I can only assume there are more that I haven’t run across. If you know of any to add to this list, please let me know by commenting here. I’m especially interested in names that parents have already given, so if you know a name that’s already been bestowed on a child, please let me know who (I don’t need exact name, just something like “employee at x brewery/bar/distributor/etc.”) so I can refer to without naming names.
Here are the names I already either know of, or seem possible.
- Brett: confirmed — Brett Porter is head brewer at Goose Island/ABI, and formerly with Deschutes
- Brewer: theoretical — appears in baby name books
- Bud: fictionally confirmed — Bud Bundy, character on Married… with Children, named after Al Bundy’s favorite beer
- Cooper: confirmed — son of a man with 20 years in the draft dispensing business
- E.S.B. initials: unconfirmed — rumored story told to Jay R. Brooks for a name like “Ethan Sebastian Brown”
- Flanders: possible — for the Belgian beer style, Flanders Red
- Porter: confirmed — son of Jay R. Brooks, and also the son of Chris Graham, COO of MoreBeer
- Stout: confirmed — A Facebook friend knows one
- Abbey: possible — for Abbey-type breweries
- Amber: confirmed — daughter of Geno Acevedo, El Toro Brewing, and middle name of the daughter of Colorado beer write Dan Rabin
- Burton: possible — for the beer-brewing city in England
- Cascade: possible — for the hop variety*
- Crystal: possible — for the malt variety
- Genny: possible — for Genesee Cream Ale, nicknamed “Genny”
- Heather: possible — for the shrub used in brewing
- India: confirmed — A Facebook friends knows a couple whose daughter got her name at least in part because they love IPAs and homebrew
- Iris: possible — for Cantillon Iris
- Kate: possible — for Portsmouth Kate the Great
- Mara: confirmed — daughter of British beer writer Martyn Cornell, Hebrew for bitter
- Matilda: possible — for Goose Island Matilda
- Sierra: confirmed — daughter of Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing
- Sofie: possible — for Goose Island Sofie
- Vienna: confirmed — daughter Jennifer Talley, Auburn Alehouse
NOTE: * – I’ve seen many suggestions for different hop variety names, but most seem somewhat forced. Understanding that a name could conceivably be anything, I only want to list names that seem reasonable or have actually been given to a kid by his or her parents. For another example, I’ve seen several mentions suggesting “Bock” or “Lambic” as names, but unless someone’s actually named their kid those, they don’t really seem that likely to me. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of suggestions like that out there on the internet. really more bad suggestions than good ones.
Today is the birthday of Peter Roget. He was born in 1779, in London, the son of a Swiss clergyman, and became a doctor, but was obsessed with making lists since at least the age of eight. I can certainly relate. Thanks to several bad incidents in his life — both his father and his wife died young, and a favorite uncle committed suicide in front of him — he suffered depression most of his life, and worked on his thesaurus as a coping mechanism. When it was first published in 1852, the full title was Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition. After his death, both his son and then his grandson continued to work on new editions of what become known as Roget’s Thesaurus, the first reference book of its kind, although there are now dozens of similar books available.
I’m not sure if I’m so fascinated by words because I’m a writer, or if I’m a writer precisely because I love words. I have a long list of Beer In Other Languages, exhaustive lists of Drunk Words, slang terms for over-indulging and puke words, for when you really over-indulge. I’ve also looked at The Language Of Hangovers, but finding Beer Slang has proved far more difficult for some reason (although I should point out, that last one is a work in progress that I’ve only worked on a few times since first posting it in 2011).
As most beer historians will point out, beer as a generic term is fairly recent. Just ask Martyn Cornell or Ron Pattinson. And ale and lager as over-simplified subdivisions below beer is even trickier. But the fact remains, apart from wholly slang terms, there aren’t very many words which also mean beer, apart from beer. You might immediately offer “cerveza,” but that is, of course, in Spanish. So, because it’s Thesaurus Day, I checked out a few, and here’s what I found:
On Roget’s Thesaurus online, a search for “beer” yields this sparse response.
#959 Drunkenness: Nn. beer, barmy beer — beer.
Roget’s International Thesaurus 1922
Oxford Dictionaries Thesaurus
The Oxford Dictionaries website reveals just this.
ale, beverage, brew
informal jar, pint, booze, wallop, sherbet
NZ Australian hop
WordReference gives this list of words.
malt beverage, malt liquor, brew, suds, the amber brew, slops, brewskie, the amber nectar (slang), lager, lager beer, bitter, stout, ale, pale ale, alcoholic drink, booze (slang), a pint, a half, draught beer, draft beer, tap beer, cask ale
Curiously, only amber nectar, and booze are listed as “slang,” yet virtually all of them seem like either slang, specific types of beer or modified types of beer, like “draft beer.”
The thesaurus at Infoplease online yields this:
1. beer, brew, brewage
usage: a general name for alcoholic beverages made by fermenting a cereal (or mixture of cereals) flavored with hops
The OneLook Thesaurus gives their top 100 beer-related words, though many don’t even make sense. You can even keep going, 100 new words at a time, and not surprisingly they get even less related to beer as you go deeper, some ridiculously so.
This is the graph of beer synonyms that the Visual Thesaurus creates:
Graph Words Online Thesaurus
The Graph Words Online Thesaurus gives a very similar answer to the Visual Thesaurus:
Collins Dictionary Thesaurus
The Collins Dictionary Thesaurus gives this list of beer synonyms:
Visuwords created a colorful graph of beer words, though very few true synonyms:
Snappy Words created this similar graph of beer words:
The conclusion is pretty much what I expected. There just aren’t many other words that mean beer. Apart from goofy slang and colloquialisms, there’s just no good generic words for it. One strange one that kept coming up was “brewage.” I’ve never heard that come up in conversation, have you? “I’m sitting here enjoying a glass of brewage.” It just doesn’t roll off the tongue. Maybe because it’s too close to sewage. But along with “brew,” it appears to be the most common synonym to come up. How is it possible that one of the most common words for beer is one nobody actually uses? I guess I’ll just have to keep enjoying my beer without any colorful words to substitute. C’est la vie. Happy Thesaurus Day.
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.
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.