When Is A Brewhouse Not A Brewhouse?

brewhouse
I know that titles sounds like a riddle, but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to start a discussion about something I’ve been noticing lately that’s starting to confound and annoy me, at least a little bit. I was on a family vacation last week, taking a road trip to the L.A. area to visit some beaches and some friends. As we began our holiday, we stopped for two days in Pismo Beach, and as we drove into town, I could see an intriguing sounding place from the highway called the Shell Beach Brewhouse. Since this was strictly a family holiday, I hadn’t done any reconnaissance on breweries but was secretly happy I’d spotted one. So after a quick dip in the pool (which are like strong magnets for my kids) we headed out for dinner and a few beers. It turned out that by “brewhouse,” they meant taphouse restaurant. Which was fine up to a point. The food was decent, the beer list almost passable, though the service was subpar. But it brings me to the larger point. When is a Brewhouse not a Brewhouse?

Earlier this year — or was it last year? — during a weekend trip to Monterey, I went to the Cannery Row Brewing Company while the rest of the family was shopping. At this point you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it was NOT a brewery, but a taphouse restaurant. Is this a growing trend, calling yourself something that suggests, implies or downright claims that you brew beer? Is it dishonest? I can see an argument that a brewhouse is a house with brews in it, but when I see the word brewhouse, I think of a place where people start to brew beer, with kettles, tuns and raw ingredients … oh, and hoses. Don’t forget the hoses.

ABE-brewhouse

Clearly, there’s no consensus on a naming convention. The Brewhouse in Santa Barbara does brew their own beer, as does the Barrel Head Brewhouse in San Francisco. Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth, Minnesota actually brews, as does Rupert’s Brew House in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Audacity Brew House in Denton, Texas and the Covington Brewhouse in Covington, Lousiana. Also brewing their own beer is the Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island and the Crescent City Brewhouse in New Orleans. And so is the Northwinds Brewhouse & Eatery in Ontario, Canada and the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage, Alaska.

Skirting the naming, sort of, is the Temple Brew House in London, England, which serves its own beer, but the brewery itself is known as the Essex Street Brewing Company, which they explain as:

The Essex Street Brewing Company was founded in November 2014 to create great artisan beers, on site, and delicious to the good people of Temple. We’re really proud of our brewery, which is why it was built at the heart of the pub and the first thing you see as you walk down Essex Street.

But the BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse only used to, and today contracts their beer and trucks it to each location. I mean they … er to be fair, by they, I mean Michael Ferguson, brews the beer at a remote location, but the BJs themselves, which have “brewhouse” in their name, do not brew the beer onsite any longer even though it is exclusively brewed for them, by them.

There’s also the Flipside Brewhouse in Rohnert Part, the town right next to me, The BrewHouse in San Juan Capistrano, and Scotty’s Brewhouse operates a dozen locations in Indiana. Then there’s the Brown Iron Brewhouse in Washington, Michigan and The Brew House in Maryland Heights, Missouri. What do all of these brewhouses have in common? They don’t beer their own beer.

Also not brewing any beer is the Broadway Brewhouse of New Philadelphia, Ohio, and all three McKenzie Brewhouse locations in Pennsylvania, Joe K’s Brewhouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Upright Brew House in New York City, L.A.’s Blue Palms Brewhouse, and the 2nd Street Brewhouse in Philadelphia.

The Brew House & Bistro in Forest City, North Carolina, the Brewhouse Pub & Grille in Helena, Montana and The Brew House Bar and Restaurant in Pearl River, New York, along with many others, at least hint that they’re not actually brewing by including the word or words bar, pub, grille or restaurant in their names, too. That helps, at least a little bit, but still seems slightly misleading.

But what’s clear is that there’s no consensus. There’s plenty of examples of businesses with the word “brewhouse” featured prominently in their name that both brew beer onsite and do not. My list above is by no means complete or scientific, but the result of looking at the first few pages of a Google search for “brewhouse.” It does give a good indication that the use of the term “brewhouse” is all over the map. The actual definition, however, seems less open to debate.

The Dictionary.com definition of a brewhouse is quite simple:

brewhouse [broo-hous]
noun, plural brewhouses [broo-hou-ziz]
1. brewery.

Even the Oxford Dictionary definition is pretty succinct: “noun; A brewery.” And those definitions are not just a recent development indicative of a word in transition. The Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary from 1828, as updated in 1913, defines a brewhouse as ” n. A house or building appropriated to brewing; a brewery.” So it’s fairly unambiguous, there’s little room for nuance in those definitions. Which is comforting, because that’s certainly the sense in which I’ve always understood the word.

new_10_hl_fully_automatic_operated_copper_brewhouse_25_10831

When a bar uses the word(s) brewing company or brew pub in their name that seems even more questionable since the words are less ambiguous even than brewhouse. While the Cannery Row Brewing Company is the only one I can remember by name, I’m pretty sure I’ve run into a couple of others over the years. If you know of a place that calls itself a “brewing company” but isn’t, let me know in the comments below, please. For obvious reasons, it’s much harder to search for businesses with brewing in their name but that don’t brew. Google doesn’t parse that information, sadly.

Brewpub, or brew pub, however, seems even trickier. A much newer term, at least in common use, I would not have thought anyone would call themselves one without actually being a brewpub. But the Iron Horse Bar & Grill, in Montana, used to be called the Iron Horse Brew Pub, but changed their name, perhaps bowing to consumer pressure. I don’t know exactly when it changed its name, but the 2012 edition of the “Moon Spotlight Missoula & Northwestern Montana” travel guidebook still lists the brew pub name (and discloses their lack of brewing) so it must be pretty recently. Their website URL is still “ironhorsebrewpub.com.” Since they opened in 1991, that suggests that they were known incorrectly as a brew pub for at least 21+ years. Or is it technically a pub that serves brews, and that makes the name okay? That seems to be stretching things, but perhaps that’s the argument.

So it seems clear that a brewhouse in the ordinary meaning of the word is a brewery. And brew pub, brewpub or brewing company seem even more obviously misleading if brewing is not done onsite. Yet a number of bars, restaurants and the like are calling themselves a “brewhouse” without doing any actual brewing on premise, and there are at least a few instances of the other variety.

My question for the beer collective hive mind is this: Should an establishment not brewing beer be permitted to call itself a brewhouse, brewpub or brewing company, or is it misleading the public? Or does it simply not matter? I realize that there’s probably not any meaningful way to actually stop someone from calling their bar or restaurant whatever they want. But it seems like social pressure could be brought to bear. Or maybe I’m just being a pedantic grammar nutcase. What’s your take?

Time For An Utepils

norway
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?

Utepils

Thirst Emporiums Of Yesteryear

beer-word
Brian Stechschulte, who by day is the executive director of the San Francisco Brewers Guild, by night wears many hats: photographer, blogger and more recently, historian. In addition to his All Over Beer website, he’s launched Bygone Beer, a beautiful look at beer history and breweriana.

In a blog post yesterday, Steam vs. Lager, he unearthed an interesting newspaper article from 1910 about the tensions between steam beer brewers and lager brewers in local bars in San Francisco. But toward the end of the old clipping, in the last paragraph, was a delicious old term for a bar or tavern that’s fallen out of favor in modern times: a “thirst emporium.” Now that’s a great term I’d love to see revived.

A quick search for the phrase reveals that it pretty much only shows up in old newspaper articles, and not that many of them, so that even in its heyday it was probably never too popular. I did turn up one print ad for a soft drink, or soda, further suggesting that it could also be applied to non-alcoholic establishments. Still, let’s start working that into conversations and writing. Bring back the “thirst emporium!”

Beer, Ale Or Brewski?

beer-word
Today’s, and indeed this year’s, final infographic is entitled Beer, Ale or Brewski? Created by Dragon Search Marketing, it shows the most common terms used to refer to beer by people using social media, and the popularity of each of them. I set out at the beginning of 2013 to see if I could post a new infographic every day, and it turned out to be easier than I anticipated. Certainly, they ranged in quality quite a bit. Some were truly epic while others were filled with errors, somewhat unattractive or even truly awful. Oh, well. It was fun. Happy 2013 everybody. See you next year, wehn I’m sure you’ll be able to find me drinking a beer, an ale or even a brewski.

beer-variation-infographic
Click here to see the poster full size.

Synonyms For Drunk Driving

olcc
While no one in their right mind condones driving drunk, a fact utterly lost on prohibitionists like MADD and Alcohol Justice, I thought the latest video PSA from the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) was a clever holiday video employing holiday music and lights showing nearly two-dozen synonyms for being drunk. I wonder if they got these from my list of around 5,000 Drunk Words? Please be safe this holiday season.

Since When Is Being Uninhibited A Disease?

bullshit
The prohibitionist propaganda machine that is Alcohol Justice is out in full swing today. They just sent out a tweet to the faithful, telling them. “Raising alcohol taxes reduces harm…it’s a fact.” We obviously have a different definition of what constitutes a “fact.” I tend to think of a fact as something not open to debate, not a position that everyone doesn’t agree with, or for which there is no counter-argument.

But the tweet also included the graphic below, which is a bottle showing all of the bullshit “harms” that AJ insists are caused by alcohol. I won’t get into each of them, or how almost all of them are potential things that can happen to a person who drinks immoderately, or can happen to any person for as many other reasons as there are people. They aren’t caused by the drink any more than a hamburger causes a heart attack. They may be a contributing factor for some people, but their continuing insistence that they are directly caused by any amount of alcohol goes a long way toward proving how out of touch with reality they are and just how fanatical and intrenched they’ve become in more recent years. Most people you and I know have been enjoying alcohol our entire lives without contracting any of these diseases or devolving to a life of crime. In fact, the moderate consumption of alcohol might actually make one healthier, a “fact” that Alcohol Justice now refuses to acknowledge, even as the FDA’s latest dietary recommendations make clear.

bottle-harms-bs

But look at the biggest one on the bottle, just below “liver disease.” Disinhibition? WTF? Since when is loosening up and not being such a tight-ass a disease that not only rivals brain damage, but given its prominent position on the bottle and the size of the type, appears to be one of the worst problems they associate with drinking. How many mental issues and how much stress is relieved by the occasional drink after work or with dinner, bringing about a “loss or reduction of an inhibition,” which is the Merriam-Webster definition of disinhibition. How is letting one’s hair down, so to speak, something to be feared and avoided? Given the company it’s keeping on their bottle of harms, it certainly seems clear that they regard it as a disease. I continue to marvel at the new and inventive ways that prohibitionists can try to pass judgement and make those of us actually “living” our lives feel guilty for enjoying ourselves.

The Essential Map Of Europe & Environs

european_union
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.

essential-map-europe
Click here to see the map full size.

Cenosillicaphobia

beer-word
Here’s an interesting word I’ve been seeing around the internet: Cenosillicaphobia. According to some sources, the Fact-Archive and the Urban Dictionary, the word means “the fear of an empty glass,” as “commonly experienced by drinkers.”

Although I can’t find it listed in any of my regular dictionaries, it seems to fit at least. It’s not in either of my two unabridged ones, including the Webster’s International 2nd edition, which my librarian sister-in-laws tells me is the gold standard. The closest word in my O.E.D. is “cenotaph,” which means “empty tomb.” So along with “sillica” for glass, the word “cenosillicaphobia” seems to fit the meaning, the “fear of an empty glass.”

So look at the photo below. If seeing the beer glass empty causes you to shudder involuntarily, you probably have cenosillicaphobia. Luckily, a cure is as close as the nearest keg, can or bottle.

empty-beer-glass

Join Me On A Brannigan & Get Bibesy?

beer-word
I stumbled onto yet another list of old words, this group on the Matador Network. 20 obsolete English words that should make a comeback includes some pretty cool words, like Scriptitation, which I think I engage in every single day. Scriptitation is “[a] 17th-century word meaning ‘continual writing'” But two in particular caught my eye as beer-related.

Brannigan

Noun – “A drinking bout; a spree or ‘binge’” – Brannigan was originally a North American slang word, but it is now rarely used. “Shall we go for a brannigan on Friday?” can be a more sophisticated way to discuss such activities.

I can’t imagine the root of that, unless of course there was some gut named Brannigan who was well-known for binge drinking.

Bibesy

Noun – “A too earnest desire after drink.” – “Bibesy” may have been completely made up in the 18th century and it’s unclear whether it ever made it into common use, but it could easily be used today: “Wedding guests waited anxiously for the bar to open; bibesy should be expected after such a long, dull service.”

Not sure about that one either, but there were a few other gems, too. “Twitter-light,” for example, once meant “a romantic way to refer to the hours as the sun goes down,” but I suspect would have a completely different meaning. Then there’s something I’m often accused of: Perissology. “Perissology” means the “Use of more words than are necessary; redundancy or superfluity of expression.” I completely disagree and will write a short, 10,000-word rebuttal on why it’s not true.

I’m not sure I’d vote for either of these beer words to make a comeback, but it’s always fun to find them.