I’m not a dad, but I’ve been succumbing more and more to the dorky allure of the dad joke lately. There’s just something so liberating about embracing the groan-inducing riff, the painfully obvious observation, the high-five that begs to be left hanging. The dad joke is often a joyously degenerate form of punnery, and the beer geek in me grabs onto those cheap puns and runs with ’em.
It doesn’t hurt that the beer world loves a good pun, or a bad one, more than just about any other industry outside of maybe nail salons and lube and filter joints. As the impression spreads that there are no new beer names under the sun, breweries rely on puns and wordplay to generate something new, like personalized license plate applicants replacing letters with numbers. And like those license plates that read B4DGERZ, the puns actually do little to distinguish the beers they name. My gosh, it’s the beer that’s important?
There are the hop puns. These have been around for what feels like ages, and much has been written about them. The puns on the gose style are newer, but are both running rampant and ruining what was already a sketchy skill level at pronouncing the word. It’s GO-zuh, but you’d never know it from the words breweries choose to riff off of it.
Locally, there’s MobCraft’s Hop Gose the Grapefruit. Both Flying Dog and Canadian brewer Good Robot have a Goseface Killah. Try to differentiate between the half-dozen or so Gose the Gozerians; at least that one gets close to the actual pronunciation. (Plus, it’s a Ghostbusters reference, which will always win points from me.) I encountered my first gose/rose pun at the Central Waters anniversary party. That was a fun surprise.
This all comes to mind after my Oscar night beer menu, which was a deep dig into my stash to find beers with names that directly, indirectly, or dad-jokily referenced film. I chose three.
Prairie’s Apple Brandy Barrel Noir, which actually has a film projector on the label. I would’ve picked it for the film genre reference of the name, regardless. The apple flavor from the brandy barrel was strong, but the depth of roast in the grain bill balanced that sweetness with bitter. Nice luxurious mouthfeel. It was my favorite of the night.
Crooked Stave’s L’Brett d’Or, which reminded me of the Palm d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. Also, “or” in French is indeed “gold,” the color of both the Oscar statuette and the beer. It had almost no sediment, which was a surprise. There was a zippy white pepper note at the back end, and a really pleasant amount of Brettanomyces funk. This was a 2013 bottle, aging wonderfully.
The Lost Abbey’s Deliverance Ale, which was consumed without a single tasteless Ned Beatty reference, I promise you. This was an odd one, a blend of the brewery’s bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angel’s Share strong ale. There was almost zero carbonation left in the beer (a 2014 edition), and while the palate was deep and dark — chocolate, stewed fruits like plums and prunes, and a little tobacco — the stillness of the beer made it a very slow sipper to end the long Academy Award night with.
I regretted, around 6 p.m., that I hadn’t grabbed my bottle of the Bruery’s Filmishmish, which would have been the hokiest possible selection. There was a bottle of Deschutes Mirror Mirror barleywine I could have opened for the Snow White reference, I suppose.
The night ended on what seemed like the dad-jokingest moment possible, as Warren Beatty appeared to be “humorously” dragging out the reveal of the Best Picture winner at the end of an already long night. It turned out the truth was much more confusing than just a schmoozy old actor being a goof under the spotlight, but as it relates, I can promise you one thing. If you’re drinking with me at some future Oscar party, I assure you I will never tell you we’re having an L.A. beer only to replace it at the last minute with something completely different from Miami. Even when I’m dropping dad-joke bombs, I still take my beer themes seriously.