Beer has Gone to the Dogs

by Steve Lonsway

One of the most important decisions a brewery or brewpub owner has to make is the naming of their operation. It needs to fall in line with the overall feel of the location, the décor, the vibe and certainly the beer names should fall right in line as well. How is this done? People look deep within themselves to find that motivating factor, something that they believe in whole heartedly.


This is where sometimes it goes to the dogs – literally! Dogs have been known as man’s best friend for centuries and for anyone out there who owns one, you know how much they become a part of you. A lot of breweries throughout the world use dogs as their inspiration. Some choose to honor Fido by naming their brewery after him or her, and you certainly don’t have to look very hard to find dogs inspiring a beer name. Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland and Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio both take this concept to heart.


Flying Dog’s portfolio is littered (pun intended) with names like Blood Line, Double Dog, Snake Dog, Doggie Style, DOGtoberfest, Tropical Bitch, and Raging Bitch, and the names are portrayed on their labels uniquely with artwork created by Ralph Steadman.


Thirsty Dog Brewing has a tamer looking pooch on their logo and utilize beer names like Blood Hound, Citra Dog, Labrador Lager, Dog Days Ale, Irish Setter Red, Whippet Wheat, Rail Dog and my favorite, Old Leghumper. 


Sea Dog Brewing (Maine, New Hampshire and Florida), Bird Dog (North Dakota), Hair Of The

Dog (Oregon), Bike Dog (California), Laughing Dog (Idaho), and Lead Dog (Nevada) are just a small sampling of more breweries you’ll find with dogs in the title.


Dog inspiration is alive and well in the Fox Cities too! Bare Bones Brewing (Oshkosh and soon Menasha) is a prime example. Find their Dog Daze IPA in their Unleashed series; Bitch in Heat or Blue Nose Wheat, inspired by Finn, the owners Blue Nose Pitbull.  Stone Arch Brewpub is in the game as well in partnership with III Dachshunds Brewing with their recent re-release of Ankle Biter Ale.


Dog breeds that have a beer or brewery named after them include Sheepdog in Texas and Bulldog Brewing in Indiana, and some breweries even have an on-staff canine. Shackett’s Brewing in Bristol, New Hampshire and Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado are examples.


Of course, fun is sometimes poked at dogs’ mannerisms. Leglifter Ale, Tailwagger Wheat, Chasing Tail Golden Ale, Barktoberfest, Wet Snout Peanut Butter Stout, or even A Dog Ate My Homework are all beers on the market.


It wouldn’t be fair to have all this dog talk in the beer world without having beers made for dogs.  You can find that too – Bowser Beer Beefy Brown Ale or Porky Pup Porter made from beef, chicken, or pork or find Bark Brew, Dawg Grog, or Pork Bone Broth Dog Brew by Busch.


It’s doggone out of control!