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25 Beers With Scholarly Significance

beer bottlesCollege students may not be known for their knowledge of beer, but most certainly can appreciate a good brew. There is so much that students can learn from beer, and a few breweries offer not only great beer, but a scholarly lesson as well. Here, we'll take a look at 25 beers with scholarly significance.

  1. Pliny the Elder: Russian River Brewing Company brews Pliny the Elder, a Double IPA that honors a man bearing the same name. Pliny the Elder was, among other things, a naturalist who created the botanical name for hops, Lupus salictarius, which means "wolf among scrubs."
  2. Midas Touch: Drink a beer that was once enjoyed by King Midas, thanks to Dogfish Head. This beer is based on an ancient Turkish recipe from 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in King Midas' tomb.
  3. The Angel's Share: The Angel's Share, made by The Lost Abbey, is aged in freshly emptied bourbon or brandy oak barrels for at least 12 months. It gets its name from the distillers of barrel aged whiskeys who note that a portion of their spirits will evaporate or seep into the oak and be lost forever.
  4. Two Women: New Glarus Brewing Company's Two Women is a collaboration of two craft companies led by women, New Glarus Brewing and Weyermann Malting. It's significant because it nods to the history of women brewers around the world in Sumeria, Norse society, and Europe.
  5. Brian Boru: Three Floyds' Brian Boru honors the memory of Ireland's first and last Gaelic Ard Ri, also known as a high king. His mother was killed by Vikings, and he spent his life uniting the Irish tribes.
  6. Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout: Brewed by Cigar City Brewing, this beer reminds its drinkers of Georgy Zhukov, Marshal of the Soviet Union. He led the Red Army through Eastern Europe in WWII in order to liberate the Soviet Union and conquer Berlin.
  7. Oberon Ale: Bell's Oberon is a classic summer wheat ale. Its name honors Oberon, the legendary king of the fairies, who makes an appearance in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  8. Ninkasi: Ninkasi Brewing Company honors the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer, Ninkasi. Scholars have translated a Sumerian poem known as "A Hymn to Ninkasi," which is in effect a recipe for making beer.
  9. The End of History: At the time of this writing, The End of History is the world's strongest beer. Packaged in stoats and squirrels, The End of History is a study in extreme beer.
  10. Harvey Milk Stout: Harvey Milk Stout from Cambridge Brewing Company is brewed with lactose, an unfermentable milk sugar. It's named in honor of Harvey Milk, a San Francisco community activist who was assassinated in 1978.
  11. Daddy's Little Helper: Rogue's Dad's Little Helper is a nod to the creation of Father's Day. The day was designated after a widower with six children was honored by one of his daughters, leading to the national observation we celebrate today.
  12. Hades: Great Divide's Hades calls to mind the Greek kind of the underworld and god of the dead. It's complex and spicy with noticeable hops.
  13. New World Porter: Avery's porter is a good example of a modern-day porter that honors its English ancestry. Porters were popular with transportation workers in London, and blended from old ale, new ale, and weak ale.
  14. Rugbrod: The Bruery's Rugbrod, or "rye bread" is inspired by the Danish staple of dark, whole grain rye bread, and loosely based on the Scandinavian Christmas beer tradition.
  15. Theobroma: Lovers of chocolate and beer will appreciate this ancient ale from Dogfish Head. It's based on chemical analysis from pottery fragments found in Honduras, which are believed to have held the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink.
  16. Gonzo Imperial Porter: This beer was brewed by Flying Dog in honor of Hunter S. Thompson. It's a limited distribution three time award winner that serves his memory well.
  17. Buffalo Butt: This beer from Rahr Brewing is named after an 1840's brewmaster's vow to create a Buffalo Butt beer. The name was created after a long day of buffalo hunting when a cowboy remarked that a good beer was the only thing that could make him forget about the ever-present buffalo butt.
  18. Routes des epices: Routes des epices, or "spice route," is brewed by Brasserie Dieu du Ciel, and honors the historic spice trade. It's a rye beer with black and green peppercorns that come out in the finish.
  19. Chimay: Chimay is a monk-made beer that supports their life of prayer. Studying the brewery is interesting, as it is made up of 18 monks that tend to beer making. To remain authentic Trappist beer, it must be produced inside a monastery, and monks must own the brewery.
  20. Brother Thelonious: North Coast Brewing produces Brother Thelonious, a Belgian Style Abbey Ale that supports the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. This school offers college level training for promising young jazz musicians, and honors the scholarly contributions of Thelonious Monk.
  21. Guinness: From Guinness advertising to its impact on Irish culture and the creation of the Guinness Book of World Records, the rich history of Guinness has much to offer beer scholars.
  22. Fuller's IPA: The history of IPA offers a look into the historic route between London and Bombay. As sailors traveled from London to India, they wanted to enjoy a familiar beer, but the long journey meant their beer turned sour and musty. To combat this, brewers prevented spoilage by increasing both the alcohol and hops content, which created an unfriendly environment for bacteria, and a beer that could reach India in an enjoyable condition.
  23. Weihenstephan Original: Weihenstephan is the oldest existing brewery in the world, dating back to the year 1040. The brewery site is internationally recognized for brewing science and education.
  24. Redstone Traditional Mountain Honey Wine: Mead is an ancient drink, regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks. Mead is also believed to have spurred the word honeymoon, as a newly married couple would traditionally go into seclusion for a month to drink mead and start a family.
  25. Requiem Espresso Stout: The Gentlemen Scholar brewery released Requiem Espresso Stout in 2009 to honor the 200th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe. It combines a love of artisinal beer, coffee culture, and Edgar Allan Poe.