Good boy, Growler

Naming brews by the bark

By Jim Witmer


Since dog owners must walk their canines regularly, why not make one of the stops a local brewery or bar where they can meet up with their friends, and their dogs can sniff out some new friends, as well?

An establishment with a food license from the Department of Agriculture cannot allow dogs inside, so bars with patios are the friendliest of places for pooches and their owners to hang out together.

There are plenty of local patios that accommodate patrons and their pets, which from my observations, has always been some type of dog. I have yet to see someone bring their cat out to enjoy a beer with them, but most cats are not up for that kind of social experience anyway.

Any good pet should at least be able sit with you while you enjoy a beer. What else do they have to do? But it’s a terrible idea to allow your dog to drink beer, and some dogs will do so out of curiosity. If you really want to give your dog a beer when you are having one too, check out Bowser Beer for Dogs on Amazon. It’s a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated “beer” made of barley and meat broth and includes glucosamine for healthy joints, but no hops. For really spoiled dogs.

If there were no legal restrictions on pets being allowed in breweries and bars, think of the possibilities of marketing a daily Yappy Hour and lots of Growlers.

If I were to ever own a dog, I would then have to choose a name, and of course the possibilities are vast because it would have to be beer-related. A recent brainstorm provided these beer/brewing terms that might fit either the dog or cat (or any other adorable pet), depending on their breed, looks, and disposition. How could I ever make up my mind?

Abbey: Girl kitty (a Belgian beer style).

Bock: Big and strong, yet friendly (a strong German lager).

Dunkel: Dark colored cat or dog (German word for dark).

Stout: See above (highly roasted grains produce a dark ale).

Porter: Ditto to above.

Amber: The color pretty much says it all, female dog or cat. (beer style).

Growler: A dog with attitude (half-gallon glass jug for transporting draft beer).

Gose: Tart, salty disposition (a salty German wheat ale).

Brett: Male cat or dog (a funky tart and sour yeast strain).

Barley: The origin of most beer.

Firkin: A small version of a breed (a cask used to both ferment and serve beer).

Gypsum: Sounds like Gypsy (an acidic water mineral used in brewing).

Krausen: White or creamy colored lively animal (foamy head on fermenting beer).

Nitro: Perfect name for a gassy dog (nitrogen gas added to beer gives it a creamy character).

Plato: Not the philosopher (a measurement of sugar in solution).

Weizen: German Shepherd (German for Wheat).

Zymurgy: Works with almost any animal (the science of fermentation).

Zeus: Just a cool name (and a hop variety).

The many other hop varieties that could work as pet names:

Simcoe, Cascade, Columbus, Tomahawk, Amarillo, Azacca, Chinook, Comet, Liberty, Nugget, Sterling, Summit, Warrior, Zythos.

Hops: Might be a good name for your pet rabbit.

Speaking of rabbits, the Chicago brewery 5 Rabbit products can be found in the area. When you are fortunate to find it, grab some 5 Rabbit 5 Lizard, a Latin-style witbier brewed with passion fruit. Both rabbits and lizards are nice pets that kids should be able to have, anyway.

It seems that brewers are often dog lovers, and that might explain why so many breweries have found a way to incorporate man’s best friend into their image. It’s more likely that naming a brewery using “dog” increases familiarity and projects a common theme that everyone feels comfortable with. Like, for example, the Flying Dog Brewery of Maryland. They are full on with the dog theme. The Hunter S. Thompson bottle label illustrations are some of the best of the best in the industry for their whacky interpretations of a given Flying Dog beer style.

Then, there is Ohio’s own Thirsty Dog Brewery from Akron, which at one time operated a brewpub in Centerville. Their labels are all K-9 inspired themes, and the signature Old Leghumper is a name that other breweries have tried to steal because it just too good not to.

Some have very little in their marketing that to do with dogs, per se.

Take for example BrewDog, one of the most interesting stories of brewing that is developing within our state of Ohio. BrewDog is a Scottish brewery that is now expanding in the U.S., which currently under construction in Canal Winchester (Columbus) and should be open in the fall. They lay claim to the highest ABV beer at 55 percent. Because they could, that’s why. (One of the founders has a background in distilling.) Their irreverent branding gives their beers names such as Punk Ale, Dead Pony Pale Ale, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Born To Die, End of History, and Hardcore IPA. They have released their recipes online, so home brewers can attempt to clone the ones they like (they were home brewers themselves once).

This ambitious company will offer more than one million shares of stock using crowdfunding. The plan is to spend $30 million on the headquarters, brewery, and brewpub. It’s interesting that they won over Europe by introducing their “extreme” American style IPA to the Millennials, who were happy to rebel against the otherwise traditional industrial lager and ale landscape, kind of what happened 20-plus years ago in the U.S. But, they will not be afraid of creativity and getting attention for it. So as of today, we have plenty of quality breweries opening and growing in our state, but this one comes with its own history. What does it have to do with pets or a dog?

Pretty much just the name: uninhibited with a bold sense of adventure.

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Reach DCP beer writer Jim Witmer at

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