BEER Bored History VIDEO

Party Smarter By Knowing How 8 Great American Beers Got Their Name

Party Smarter By Knowing How 8 Great American Beers Got Their Name

Have you ever thought, at one time in your life, about taking a break from your boat race, looking at the brewdogger you’re pounding and have a moment where you wondered, how did this get in my hand? There’s a slight chance you were roofied.

But in the event you weren’t, and you were actually curious about your beer’s history – from the day the brand was founded and named – you’re in luck. Mental Floss did all the work for you. For us. But they kept it domestic, like a real American.

There’s nothing more patriotic than knocking back your home country’s alcoholic crafts and knowing how it all came to be. Just don’t blurt it out like a know-it-all. Tuck that in your back pocket. If you have company and want to impress them, have a buddy ask how the beers got their name, first ensuring no historian-looking freaks are nearby.


“Adolphus Busch’s friend Carl Conrad, a wine and liquor importer, had tasted an incredible beer in a monastery in Budweis, a city that is now located in the Czech Republic. Conrad took the idea back to St. Louis, and he and Busch decided on the name ‘Budweiser’.”



“Using his own money and a family recipe for Louis Koch Lager that he found in an attic, Jim Koch founded Boston Beer Company in 1984. He named the dry-hopped lager after 18th-century Samuel Adams, who was a Founding Father, a governor of Massachusetts, a part of the American Revolution, and a brewer.”


“In 1967, Joseph L. Owades worked for Rheingold Brewery and discovered an enzyme that digested all of the starch, resulting in a beer label called Gablinger’s Diet Beer. Meister Brau of Chicago first manufactured the light beer until Miller Brewing bought Gablinger’s. In 1975 they changed the name to Miller Lite, and it became the first nationally distributed reduced-calorie beer.”


“Back in the late 1800s, miners in Golden, Colorado, worked hard every day and would gather after work and drink Coors beer in a celebratory banquet setting. In 1937, out of respect for those miners, the name Coors Banquet became official.”


“The Best family emigrated from Germany to Milwaukee and started Best and Company in 1844. Jacob Best Sr.’s daughter married Frederick Pabst, and in 1889, Pabst named the brewery after himself. They purchased about a million feet of silk ribbon, and workers hand-tied the ribbons around every bottle of their Best Select beer. At the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, the beer won a blue ribbon award, and Best Select’s name switched to Pabst Blue Ribbon in 1898. “


The Belgian Wit (meaning white, or wheat) beer that’s served with an orange wedge derived from baseball. In 1995, Keith Villa, who is one of only a few Americans with a Ph.D. in brewing, began brewing beer inside Denver’s Coors Field stadium. Called the Sandlot, it was the first brewery inside of a Major League stadium. Taking his experiences from Brussels (where he earned his doctorate), Villa brewed a Belgian beer called a Bellyslide, made with Valencia orange peels and coriander. The Coors-owned beer was in such high-demand that they needed a better name than Bellyslide. “So one day, when a bunch of us were tasting beers, our admin called out, ‘You know, a beer that tastes this good comes around only once in a blue moon,’” their story reads. “And with that phrase ringing in our ears, the Blue Moon Brewing Company was born.”


“In 1896, Adolphus Busch named his new lager after the then-Kingdom of Bohemia (now Czech Republic) town of Michalovice.”

8. COLT 45

“When it was first created in 1963, the National Brewing Company named the beer after Baltimore Colts running back Jerry Hill, who played for the football team from 1961 to 1970, with the jersey number 45.”



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