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?


Thirst Emporiums Of Yesteryear

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?

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.

Click here to see the poster full size.

Synonyms For Drunk Driving

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?

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.


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

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.


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.


Join Me On A Brannigan & Get Bibesy?

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.


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.


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.

Cage, Agraffe Or Muselet?

Most of you already know I’m a freak for obscure words and language more generally, so I’ll always take a look at a list of curious words. One that I recently was looking over at Mental Floss included such gems as a dringle, which is “to waste time by being lazy,” perfectly describing what I was doing when I discovered that.

But the other word was agraffe, which they defined as being “the wire cage that keeps the cork in a bottle of champagne.” I’d heard the word muselet used before, usually in connection with champagne, but many brewers today also use them, though most people I know refer to them more simply as a “cage,” as in a “cage and cork,” or occasionally a “cage and crown.”
But agraffe is a new one on me. A quick search reveals that it’s more often used to refer to a part of a piano, “a guide at the tuning-pin end of the string, screwed into the plate, with holes through which the strings pass.” Most dictionaries I looked at didn’t mention the cage usage at all. Champagne.net does offer this definition.

Literally means “staple” (as in Swingline); in Champagne, this is a large metal clip used to secure the cork before capsules were invented, typically during the second fermentation and aging in bottle. A bottle secured with this clip is said to be agrafé.

Notice they also spell it with only one “f.” Wordnik, in their listing under Century Dictionary does list this usage, as the fifth definition. “n. An iron fastening used to hold in place the cork of a bottle containing champagne or other effervescing wine during the final fermentation.

Muselet doesn’t show up in most standard dictionaries either, but it is defined, at least, by Wikipedia:

A muselet is a wire cage that fits over the cork of a bottle of champagne, sparkling wine or beer to prevent the cork from emerging under the pressure of the carbonated contents. It derives its name from the French museler, to muzzle. The muselet often has a metal cap incorporated in the design which may show the drink maker’s emblem. They are normally covered by a metal foil envelope. Muselets are also known as wirehoods or Champagne wires.

Neither word is included in the “Dictionary of Beer & Brewing” (2nd ed.), but then “cage” isn’t listed in it, either.

So does anybody know? Those of you in the wine world, is either term in common usage, and, if so, is one preferred over the other? Or are they generally only used in France, perhaps? It seems more likely that they were originally borrowed from the French into English, but have since fallen out of use, or perhaps their usage lingers only in the technical jargon of Champagne and sparking wine. Anyone, anyone? Bueller.