What’s in a name? The short answer is hours upon hours of agonizing, usually. It is a group effort that goes into giving the beers at Icarus their unique names, as well as making sure they sound as delicious as they taste. A great name has levels to it, but is most importantly memorable and unique. We thought it would be fun to show you the origin story behind naming some of your favorite Icarus brews as you hide inside from Snowmageddon.
Singed Wing Black Ale
This is our classic naming tale that is most often told on tours and behind the bar. For a little backstory, a few years ago Lagunitas Brewing was brewing a new batch of their beloved Brown Shugga Ale. Somewhere in the brewing process, the recipe was messed up, and whatever this new beer was, it wasn’t Brown Shugga. The kicker though was that it was delicious. So they decided to name this new concoction “Lagunitas Sucks.”
We loved that story at the brewery, and when our Citra Sirius Black IPA didn’t have much of a Citra taste to it, our resident painter Josh said, “Welp, we flew too close to the sun and singed our wings.” The rest is history.
Valjean French Saison
We feel that the key to a great Icarus name are levels, and the Valjean French Saison is a perfect example of this. Jean Valjean is the main character in Les Miserables, one of my favorite operas. Valjean is a fantastically written character that shows the entire human condition in one man, and we felt like he needed a beer.
Strength, redemption, resurgence, forgiveness, and peace: who doesn’t want to have these characteristics coming to mind while drinking a brew?
The icing on the cake though is the literal name “Valjean.” What sounds more French than that? Perfect fit for a French Farmhouse Ale. It is always fun to hear people let their fake French accents fly while ordering a pint at the bar. And if you ask who Valjean is, I happily sing the entirety of Act I for them. Everybody wins (Brewmasters Note: I do not Win, Please no more singing).
Birdman Brown Ale
We are big on tying our beers into the actual myth of Icarus whenever we can. Calling a beer “The Birdman” has been on the docket for a while, and when we could throw a little alliteration into it when the Brown Ale needed a name, it was a perfect fit.
On another level though, movie nerd Spence feels that Birdman is about as good as a movie can be. It is beautiful, elegant, visionary, and a deep examination of the meaning of life without ever embarrassing itself: these were all things we felt were awesome to have in the back of your head while drinking a Birdman.
Also, in the film, Michael Keaton’s character refers to the fictional movie Birdman as an allegory for the myth of Icarus. If you want to flex some of your AP English muscles, then the whole film works as an Icarus allegory too. *blown mind *.
Ella Ella IPA
-When we were naming our Ella hopped IPA, we immediately wrote off any references to “Umbrella” by Rihanna and Jay-Z. It had to be done already, right? After kicking around a few less-than-stellar name ideas, someone decided to pull up Untappd and see what the song referencing beer names were.
None. Zero. It was meant to be. We threw the name on the beer immediately. If you somehow aren’t familiar with the song or somehow haven’t listened to it in the last ten minutes, here is a link to the music video: Youtube – Umbrella Ella Ella Ay Ay.
Black Mass Foreign Extra Stout
A sneak peak at your new favorite Icarus beer. In two days, the Black Mass will officially be pouring in the Icarus taproom, so how did it get its name?
Well, most literally, it is a liquid mass that is the color black. Pretty straightforward, right?
On another level, we thought about the book Black Mass and the Johnny Depp movie inspired by it. The movie was about Whitey Bulger, Boston gangster who ruined the working class’s lives and was a free man for an unbelievable amount of time.
At Icarus, we love people. Big ones and small ones, rich ones and poor ones, but we love people. Standing in solidarity, we feel, is one of the most important things you can do, not just as an Icarus fan, but as a human. People always need help, hope, and a friend.
Bulger was unstoppable, until he wasn’t. Justice was finally served for the good guys of Boston and all of America. This St. Patrick’s Day, we thought honoring the Irish-Americans who stood tall in tragedy would be a cool idea. Naming a beer doesn’t feel like enough to honor and help these people, but it brings up the philosophical idea of the importance of standing in solidarity. Help whenever you can however you can. As Gandhi once said, “Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.”
Currently in Fermenters:
FV2: Melt – Habanero Mango Pale Ale
BBT – Black Mass Export Stout
Pilot FV1 – Hazlenut Black Mass Export Stout
Pilot FV2 – Mint Cocoa Black Mass Export Stout
Brews On Deck:
Citra North East IPA
Russian Imperial Stout