With over 4,000 craft breweries in the United States alone, people are having trouble finding unique names for their beers. That’s a problem, because when two breweries accidentally use the same name, it results in potential confusion at best and at worst, a legal battle. Litigation over craft beer trademarks is noticeably on the rise.
I decided to find out whether a neural network can help.
A neural network is a type of computer program that, among its many talents, can learn to imitate datasets just by looking at enough examples. I’ve used them to name kittens, metal bands, Pokemon, paint colors, and more.
I knew I wanted to train the neural network separately for different kinds of beers. Different categories of beers have their own distinct naming conventions; in theory, you should roughly be able to tell a stout from an IPA from a double IPA by the name alone.
Ryan Mandelbaum of Gizmodo sparked this project by putting me in touch with Andy Haraldson, who very generously provided me with a huge dataset of hundreds of thousands of beer names that he extracted from BeerAdvocate.com. There were over 90 types of beer in the full dataset (for example, black ales, belgian dark ales, euro dark lagers, schwarzbier, dark wheat ales, and english mild dark ales). To make the task manageable (and to combine a few datasets that only had a few hundred unique names) Eva Gulotty sorted them into broader groups. And then I set the neural network to work on each category.
It worked. The neural network produced unique names that were plausible, or weirdly awesome, or so outlandish that they sounded like the sort of beer you could only buy after a multi-day scavenger hunt involving hang gliding, codebreaking, and Fairbanks, Alaska.
I give you: craft beer names, invented by neural network.
Dang River Earth Dock IPA Yamquak Bigly Bomb Session IPA Binglezard Flack Jain Is The Dog Earth 2 Sanebus Tower Of Ergelon Toe Deal Juicy Dripple IPA Flying Rocks IPA Yall In Wool Earth Pump Heaven Cat Heart Compost Wicked Geee Text 5 Of The IPA Cockamarin Hard IPA Test Tha IPA Yampy Widee Banger Fripper IPA Oarahe Momnila Day Revenge Bass Cornationn Yerve Of Aterid Ale
Strong Pale Ales (Doubles, Triples, etc)
The Great Rebelgion Trippel Lock Thick Back The Fraggerbar Dankering Third Maus Sip’s The Stunks Belgian Tripel Slambertangeriss Third Danger Track Of The Wind Devil’s Chard Spore Of Gold The Actoompe Brother Panty Tripel The Oldumbrett’s Ring The Vunker The Finger Gunder Of Traz Cherry Boof Cornester Strange Fast Drammnt Humple La Bobstore Barrel Aged Thrennt Rem Wine Barrel Aged Monkay Tripel
Snarging Red Warmel Halce’s Comput Ale Fire Pipe Blangelfest Stoodemfest La Cat Tas Oo Ma Ale Ole Blood Whisk Frog Trail Ale Ricias Donkey Brain Sacky Rover Gate Rooster Cramberhand O'Busty Irish Red Helusto’s Humpin’ Red The Hunty Rickin Organic Red Deaath River Smush Hoppy Amber Ale Rivernillion Amber Special North Wish Leifstic Imperial Red Ambre O Woo’s Omella Imperial Red Ale
I The Moon The Bopberry Stout Cherry Coconut Mint Chocolate Stout Black Morning Sir Coffee Shock State Take Bean Single Horde Whata Stout Shany Lace Black Sink Stout Barrel Aged Chocolate Milksmoke Shump Morning Dave - Vanilla Coffee Stout Avidberry Dark Thomblan Jrankers Java Stout Spulgican’s Chocolate Coconut Pamper Cherry Trout Stout Bold Oot Stout Pimperdiginistic The Blacksmith W/ Cherry Stout
Want more beer names? Want worse beer names? I had so many names that I couldn’t fit them all in this post. Sign up here and I’ll email you a pdf of about 100 more beer names. For these names I turned the neural network’s creativity variable higher and got results that can be described mainly as … interesting. And of course, there’s the inevitable beer named Fart. (It’s a stout. Of course it’s a stout.)
The Problems With BrewDog & New Punk IPA - BrewDog Punk IPA Beer Review!
Whilst I think BrewDog make excellent beers, and whilst I also think Punk IPA still is an excellent beer, I (and many others) feel like it isn’t as good as it was. In this review I give the beer praise but also talk about why the beer has changed (slightly) for the worst.
The Problem With New Punk IPA - BrewDog Beer Review
I train neural networks, which are a type of machine learning algorithm that look at example data and learn to generate more like it. There’s little I have to do other than present a neural network with examples to look at, and it deduces its own rules, often applying them in weird and unexpected ways. Just based on what it sees in the training data, a neural network can generate recipes, names of metal bands, or names of kittens.
A bunch of semi-plausible but nonexistent beers resulted. Then I heard from Old Nation Brewing in Williamston, Michigan, who were almost finished brewing a new beer, but still hadn’t managed to find a name for it.
They explained what kinds of keywords they were looking for: Juice, haze, New England, Vermont, citra, Belgium, spicy, clove, saison, farmhouse, “all these trendy new hazy IPA names”. I searched my database for any beer names having to do with these keywords, and threw them all into the mix for the neural network. It worked. But before I share with you the name they chose, let me first share: the rejects.
Now, not all of these were terrible. Although some of them definitely were.
To get a sense of what was in the dataset, let’s start with the lowest-creativity output setting. These are the beer names that the neural network felt best exemplified the original dataset. As you can see, there are a lot of saisons. There’s also a lot of French, although not so many examples that the neural network ever quite got the hang of French articles (I sympathize).
Saison De La Saison Saison De Saison Saison Du Saison Saison De Le Petite Saison Farmhouse Saison De L'Imperial Saison Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saison De Saison Saison De La Barrel Aged Saison Barrel Aged Saison De La Saison Saison De La Series Saison D'Ete Saison De L'Autimne Saison Du Ferme Saison De La Lemons Saison Du Beer Saison Du Bier Saison Du Bear Saison Du Farmer Saison De Man Saison De Mountain Saison Du Chard Saison Du Pant Saison De Life Saison De La Mort Monkey Free Stand Saison
At a higher creativity level, we see more farms and tables (and oddly, monkeys). The French, if anything, gets more questionable. The quality of names has maybe - maybe improved. And they’ve somehow ended up spookier.
Sunshine Muster Saison Stick Lake Rock The Sun Saison Black Bot Saison Farmer’s Blend Sunny Farm French Saison De Pants Saison Du Liver Winter Monkey Saison Du Pies Field Peach Saison Friends Lich Saison Primitia Molassic Saison Strange Biere De Table Saison Saison Du Le Pencher Say The Table Forest Monk Saison De Chine Summer Death Creeping North Saison Saison De Boo Spring The Dead Saison Series De Sucker Saison Firetementus Monkey Saison Saison De Lo Parpy Saison Du Carl Saison
At the next-highest creativity level, the good names have gotten better, and the bad names have gotten a lot worse. Oddly, although it doesn’t explicitly appear in the dataset, the neural network has inferred the existence, and importance, of chard. Some of these look like they could be My Little Ponies.
Fongelmorenda Storm Fink Silent Plow Side Road #1 Speltranoux Winter Blood Star Dance Dandarina Britched Rye Saison Bomble Saison Side Creek Saison A Shit Farmhouse Ale Red Suck Mas Saison Dark Grave Saison Farm Fight Belgian Chard Five Bool Brown Hibiscus Vintumbland Farm Stone Hunking Of Mist Barrel Aged Clander Friend Saison Fromp Fleur De Celloquence Forress Crogion’s Swill Saison
At an even higher creativity setting, the neural network’s unpredictability increases. It begins making up more words. It begins swearing. It starts taking liberties with English, as well as French, grammar. Old Nation Brewing chose a name from this creativity level.
Summer Dangs Saison Flasha Plaraggina Farmen’s Are No. 10 Ginger Mauustic Saison La Barrel Toee Saison Flopphive Ixpicy Touranhome The Slow Ale From The To Don’t The Mountain Pogle Voe Love Mutty Mab Farmhouse Ale Kreathertag Haburia Grapecart Farmer Lure Poply Bitch Hoepolo S Mocket Clothberry Ale Speciel Farmhouse Ale Green The Wosk Rooly Ganger Dry-Hopped Clow Ride City Saison Series: Barrel Oged In Ermeds’s Oit Bittirges Burcumber Jane Rad Sunshine Bear Chroee The Thangbaile Daving Of Du-Shandburs Fucksing Pear Farmhouse Ale Rednock White Bunch Over Hoppy Trick Saison The Sliger
At this highest creativity setting, I stopped. Perhaps you can understand why.
ChiphooolBoi Nerlious Mayycone Funky Ever varumper You Saison De Mage Clushing Fleur Dull? Beoobegie Nard Gel Mar Blick Disc Saison Barrel Aged Flaribrest Stutty Rye Undonchop Plop Aged The Sprong Greenhunke Mal? Saison De Slushie The Atterasin’s Hoot Double It Jackal Runt Pigzelia Ectel Goat Hurid'r Gobfin Rustic On Oats 4h Finer Petit Pock Folle Belly'ss Attrepid Ghost Doirry-Fermier Yulla De Abadma Dank Your Sromb King Recerd New England Blend Series renkip Ensishp Earthsseo The Oake
So, what did Old Nation Brewing finally choose? I introduce to you the very first beer named by a neural network:
The Fine Stranger
Old Nation is pleased to introduce The Fine Stranger! This unique beer is the latest in the New Orthodox Series of beers. A blend of Old World and New, The Fine Stranger combines a strong, peppery, fruity Belgian Saison yeast strain with the low-bitterness/high-flavor hop goodness of the New England style. We added a special hop blend of Mandarina Bavaria and Vic’s Secret in the boil and double dry-hopped it as well. The result is a slightly peppery, fruity hopped beer with the characteristic New England Haze that New Orthodox beers are known for.
Available now if you’re lucky enough to be able to shop for beer in Michigan.
Pioneering Japanese craft beer brewery Hitachino Nest Beer opened a new brewpub inside Shanghai’s Sinan Mansions late last year. Here’s a look…
Ten of Hitachino’s classic brews on tap currently…
Nothing brewed exclusively in Shanghai yet, but I’m told there are plans…
They have the facilities all set up and ready to go…
We popped in for a few drafts…
They also have all their bottle releases available for purchase and consumption…
There’s a full menu offering Japanese comfort foods, like deep fried chicken karaage and kushiage, which we ordered, but service was severely lacking taht day and they forgot to put in our order, so we managed on bar snacks…
The first two floors are tastefully with art that spotlights Hitachino’s design history…
A cool look into the visual development of their iconic owl…
The brew pub takes up the first two floors of this mansion, while the third floor is a teppanyaki restaurant and the fourth floor houses a private whiskey bar.
The place is pretty easy to spot from the outside and has become a bit of an Instagram magnet thanks to this guy…
I plan on going back to try the food, if they bring our order this time, so will keep you posted.
The one in my fridge! Long version: I try (and manage pretty well) to avoid buying twice the same beer. There’s too much variation to stick with the same drink… this approach has some downsides obviously but for the time being I’m gonna stick with it. So, cheers! This one’s from a plane actually so please pardon the poor pour :)
Awesome Husband and I bought collective non-surprise anniversary gifts this year. (Mostly. There ended up being one thing on each side that was a surprise, because we think alike.) I feel like this picture sums up our…well, us…pretty well.