What is in a name as the Hunt for the Red October goes really, really fast?
Thursday, 20 October 2016 15:16

Beer names can be created in any number of ways – they can be factual (Tuatara Pilsner is a Pilsner made by Tuatara), they can be fanciful (Tui East India Pale Ale is not an East India Pale Ale, it is not an India Pale Ale, it is not a Pale Ale, it is not even an ale), they can be puns (Fork Brewing Puns N’ Goses – which is indeed a Gose) or they can be just a little bit weird based on a five-second review given deep into a beer festival (Epic Dankomatic IPA). [1]

I have been involved in the creation of many beer names including Fork Brewing Psycho Keller (an unfiltered Keller bier), Epic Armageddon (because Armageddon is bigger than Mayhem – its predecessor ale), [2] and Eagle Brewing Jawa Juice Intergalactic Brown Ale for May the 4th this year (for some reason I show up highly in searches for “beer writers who may be just a little obsessed with Star Wars.”)

There are some great beer names out there but even a veteran beer commentator such as this writer can still be flummoxed. This morning, at a meeting to finalise the details for our (sold out) beer and cheese event at Malthouse tonight, [3] Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor told me the name of Panhead Hunt for the Red October beer going on tap at Malthouse on Friday.

I had to ask for the name again – thinking there must be some Glaswegian accent interference. Colin then repeated it – slowly. It was a moment made for the famous scene from Wayne’s World when Wayne Campbell exclaims “ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?” Because it is now 2016 rather than 1982 (sadly), the matter was solved in the accepted manner – Colin loaded it up on his phone and showed me the bottle label.

It was exactly as he had said – Panhead Schnelle Fahrt Red Fart Red IPA (6.2%). In the interests of not being held accountable about this – I am going to let Panhead explain the beer and its’... unusual... name in their own words:

“Schnelle Fahrt (pronounced shnelly fart) [4] is a strong Red IPA named in honour of its unique German malt base. Schnelle Fahrt translates roughly as ‘fast drive’, a tribute to those famous Autobahns where, in certain areas, there are no speed restrictions. At Panhead we love the idea of no restrictions, so next time you are at one of the country’s leading craft beer bars, listen out for satisfied customers saying “Wow! That was a great Schnelle Fahrt!” or “I feel like I have one more Schnelle Fahrt in me.”

It would be just my luck if this is the day my mother discovers what a blog is and goes to see what her “little baby boy” is writing about today.

The Panhead Red IPA is the next beer in the Hunt for the Red October Red Beer Showcase at Malthouse. The hunt is a month-long celebration of 25 unique red beers going live across five Wellington craft beer bars in, perhaps predictably, October.

Wanting desperately to raise the tone of this blog, [5] I turned to my beloved big book of “The Oxford Companion to Beer”, edited by Garrett Oliver. It seems too long since I have quoted at some length from it, and it has never let me down.

Until this week – there is no entry on red beer, a style which is either too broad (it just has to be red) or is still evolving a distinct identity. The closest I could find were references to Red Stripe, Red Tuborg and Redhook Ale Brewery (a fine brewery we do not see much of here). None of these were of any use in today’s work.

The only logical explanation, for now at least, is that a “red beer” for The Hunt of the Red October Red Beer Showcase has to be:

a)    Red

b)    A Beer

c)    Not produced before.

Everything else is up to the brewers!

As noted earlier, today Malthouse is hosting an exclusive (25 person) and sold out beer and cheese event with awarding winning British Beer Writer and Famous Raconteur Melissa Cole. It will see her talk through five Fork Brewery beers matched with four artisanal cheeses she has discovered on her travels throughout New Zealand.

It is a creative and exciting menu, and she is an entertaining and informative presenter. At today’s meeting she just casually dropped an incredibly advanced technical brewing term into conversation like it was nothing. That prompted me to confirm to Ms Cole that “right, you are doing almost all of the talking tonight.” Those lucky enough to be attending will be relieved to know that I will be doing the introductions and basic format, then sitting down, shutting up and eating some cheese. [6]

The good news is that Malthouse has already indicated that the popularity of the cheese night means another one is already on the cards. Unfortunately, it will be sans Melissa Cole as she will have returned home to Blighty, but should still be a lot of fun. And now you know when we say limited tickets – we actually mean it!

Next time, we drink to the 20th Anniversary Edition of “Independence Day” – because I bought it today ($9.98!), I am ridiculously excited, and I cannot imagine watching this epic movie without a beer at hand (or possibly something much stronger).


[1] Disclaimer: It was me.

[2] Epic Armageddon seems to have done reasonably well despite being named by me at a beer tasting in the Backbencher when The Impish Brewer Luke Nicholas put me right on the spot. I heard vague rumours of it winning an award in the last couple of years...

[3] We warned you that tickets were strictly limited. Some of you asked “how limited?” The reply was “strictly” and now they are all gone... but continue to the end of the article for some exclusive news relating to fromagery and zymurgy.

[4] The vast majority of beer descriptions take more than five words to completely lose the moral high ground. Stone and BrewDog would be the main contenders to this coveted title.

[5] I know, I was surprised too.

[6] My skill set does include sitting down and eating cheese. Shutting up may be a work in progress.


Cheers

Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


Links

Beer and Cheese event - https://www.facebook.com/events/195352847557163/

Melissa Cole Blog - http://www.letmetellyouaboutbeer.co.uk/

Malthouse Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173

Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting


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