At Evil Twin, whatever people might think, our philosophy behind beer names is that we aren’t weird just to be weird. That said, I do like the idea of having names that don’t make sense -- it means that if you see the name, you have to think about it, you have to consider what it is. If a beer is called “Brown Ale,” you forget it a second later, because everyone knows what a brown ale is, and has seen that name 100 times before. But if you see a name that’s more interesting, you’re automatically like, "I wonder what that is?" And that way you just remember it better.
Here’re the stories of how the names for some of my favorites came about, often in collaboration with my wife Maria, who I have to thank for her very creative way of writing, along with, you know, everything else.
Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room
Christmas beers are also big in Denmark, which I always found stupid. What is a Christmas beer? In Denmark, everyone thinks it’s a spiced dark Belgian ale. When I had my bottle shop, I got so annoyed, because even in October, people are coming in, “do you have any Christmas beers??” So I decided I would never make a Christmas beer. But then I changed my mind, and made a stout that has nothing to do with Christmas, just to make fun of it. I actually spent Christmas Eve in a New York hotel room before I moved here, and we ate Thai food, so, not a very traditional Christmas. And it was just a cool name to use, because it had a story about me not really being into the whole Christmas thing.
This is a collaboration I made the first time with Aaron, who owns the Trappist in San Francisco. We had the idea to make a brown ale with coffee, and explained in an email how it would taste, because of the rosiness playing with the coffee, and said, “doesn’t that sound like a wet dream?” So we called it Wet Dream. I didn’t think it would be approved by the government, but they did it. If they knew it had something to do with something sexual, they probably wouldn’t have approved it. But those dudes probably didn’t get it.
So this one is pretty straightforward -- we tried to replicate a biscotti, and used almond, coffee, and vanilla. And that’s pretty much it. Why it’s called Break, it’s like a play on the coffee break, but now you take a biscotti break.
Ryan and the Gosling
The guy on the label is Chad from Crooked Stave, it’s a collaboration with him, and he looks exactly like Ryan Gosling. So it’s a play on Ryan and the Beaster Bunny, and Ryan Gosling. But we didn’t want to call it Ryan Gosling, because we didn’t want to get sued or some shit, so we changed it out a little bit.
Falco is because it’s based on a hop blend called Falconer’s Flight -- sometimes you can’t get all the good hops because everyone wants them, so they created these hop blends that try to mimic some of the good hops. So I made a beer where we only used hop blends, and I wanted to name the beer after that, since it was such a cool name. It has nothing to do with that Austrian pop band, like everyone thinks.
I name beers after people who mean something to me: Lil’ B is Brian Ewing, owner of 12 Percent, Cowboy is my friend Aaron, who owns the Trappist in Oakland. Ed Westbrook owns Westbrook Brewing Company, he’s a very good friend of mine, and we make a lot of beers down there. Ed’s wife calls him Spicy Nachos, and it is so fucking weird, and we tried to figure out why, but they will not tell us. But we’ve all got him as “Spicy Nachos” in our phones. But then it’s actually spicy nachos beer, made with corn and jalapeños, so it was a fun play working the beer from the name, instead of creating the beer first, then naming it. After it was released, someone tweeted that we should go to Urban Dictionary and search "spicy nachos." We did that, then confronted Ed and his wife, but they swear it has nothing to do with that.
Even More Jesus
That’s probably the most infamous one. Even More Jesus actually came from a lost in translation thing, with me being from Denmark. I was discussing something about prices with a business partner, and we were sending emails back and forth, and one of the prices was really high, and I wrote, “Jesus, this is expensive.” And then I did another one, and it was even more expensive, and wrote, “even more Jesus.” And his reply was, “I don’t care how expensive it is, the next beer you make has to be called Even More Jesus.” A lot of people think it has something to do with being Christian, which I am totally not. It’s very catchy, but it doesn’t make sense.
The first time I made it, it was called Istedgade Hipster Ale, since it was made for my shop in Denmark on Istedgade street, which was pretty much the most hip street in Copenhagen. I kinda wanted to make fun of the whole hipster thing, and it was my idea of getting hipsters to drink better beer, other than PBR. So I decided to call it Hipster beer as a joke. I wasn’t sure if hipsters would find it too ironic, too self-reflexive, so they wouldn't drink it, but I didn’t give a shit. If it worked, it worked, and if it didn’t, it didn’t. But it worked! We sell a shitload of that stuff. I have no idea if hipsters drink it though.
I didn’t come up with that name actually. We made the beer for the first time when I was living in Denmark, and it was barrel-aged. So I moved to the States and kinda forgot about the beer sitting in these barrels at this brewery in Denmark. But then it came over and it’s like, time to make a name. It’s a play on, of course, Justin Bieber, and it’s made with blueberries, the Danish word for which is “blåbær,” and when Americans say it, it kinda sounds like “Bieber.” Also I just wanted to make fun of that dude.
I’ve always had this love for very alcoholic, very hoppy IPAs. I’ve always loved the combination of lots of alcohol and lots of bitterness, they just work so well together. So I made the beer, and knew it was going way over the top. It’s 13%, it’s crazy hoppy, it’s going to be way too hoppy. And a Molotov cocktail is fucking explosive in so many ways, and so unbalanced, and it’s just a cool name. And when you drink it, if you don’t like it, you kinda can’t complain about the taste -- you just bought a fucking beer called Molotov Cocktail.
Bikini Beer/Sour Bikini
This has the whole play on being a low-alcohol beer, the perfect beer for the beach. And then we made it a sour beer, and called it Sour Bikini. And again, Sour Bikini doesn’t make any sense at all, but hey, it’s just a fun name.
This one is a collaboration with the Nomad Hotel in New York, and we wanted to bring that into the name. Last year we made NOMADer Wit, a wheat beer, which is kinda like, “no matter what,” and this is the next one after that, that doesn’t really make as much sense, but whatever.
Ryan and the Beaster Bunny
It was brewed originally as an Easter beer, which is a big tradition in Denmark; all brewers in Denmark make Easter beers for some fucking weird reason. Obviously we didn’t want to call it “Easter Beer.” My wife came up with this one -- Beaster Bunny was the fattest rabbit ever or something like that, in London, who got famous for being so fucking fat. Ryan is my old partner, and I wanted to make a tribute to him, combined with this big fat rabbit, so there’s your Beaster Bunny.
Before, During and After Christmas
This one was an IPA, and we released it all year round. So it was again to make fun of the whole Christmas beer thing, so we made another beer that had nothing to do with Christmas, and called it something to confuse all these Christmas beer nuts.
Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø is the founder of Evil Twin, the owner of Torst, and has a pretty great beard. Follow him @eviltwinbrewing.