Beer School

10 Beer Names You Might Be Saying Wrong

Sometimes you just start a habit and it sticks, so make sure you are saying the names of these beers correctly and avoid an embarrassing craft beer faux pas when out at the bar.

10 Beer Names You Might Be Saying Wrong

(Posted with permission from Beer Syndicate)

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The pronunciation of some words is regional like tomato (t’may-toe) and tomato (toe-mah-toe), and basically equally correct. Other times, the pronunciation of a word is just flat out wrong, like pronouncing the word “supposedly” as “supposably” or “specific” as “pacific”.

But why on Earth would you ever correct somebuddy who pacifically says “supposably”? Please don’t, because correcting people is one of those Catch-69 situations, like when somebody has ketchup on their face: If you tell them, you embarrass them by pointing it out, but if you don’t say anything, then you embarrass them because you let them walk around with ketchup on their face. Not to mention, maybe the person is intentionally wearing ketchup on their face. Like I said, Catch-69.

Likewise, please don’t go around correcting people who say the words on this list incorrectly.

See DJ Pander’s 10 correct pronunciation lessons on Beer Syndicate, so you can be corrected in the privacy of your own home and not out in public.

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10 Beer Names You’re Probably Saying Wrong

Pliny the Elder

According to Russian River Brewing Co., the brewery that brews this most famous of hop-centric Double IPAs, “Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with “Pliny the Elder”.”

After watching a few YouTube videos featuring employees from Russian River including co-owner/brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo talk about the beer, “Pliny” (the beer) is pronounced “Ply–Nee” where the “Ply” is pronounced like in the word plywood. However the pronunciation of the historical person “Pliny”, who the beer is named after, is actually closer to “Plenny”, like the word “plenty” without the “t”. Here’s a quick YouTube video-pronunciation of Pliny, the man, and here’s another short video about the life of Pliny where you can get plenty of practice pronouncing “Pliny”.

So even though the brewery probably originally mispronounced “Pliny” when meaning to refer to Pliny the man, it’s too late to turn back now. Therefore pronounce the beer as “Ply-Nee”, and the historical figure as “Plenny”.

Festina Pêche

This “Neo-Berliner Weissbier” created by epic brewermaster Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery has been a sour summer treat since 2007, but how do you say “Pêche”? You might hear Sam pronounce it “pesch-ay”, but this French word for peach is closer to “pesch” where the “pe” is pronounced like in the word “petal”.

Now you also know how to pronounce the sweet and sour peach Lambic from Lindemans called (you guessed it) Pêche!

Westvleteren 12

Often proclaimed as the “best beer in the world” (currently rated # 1 on RateBeer, and # 9 on BeerAdvocate), Westvleteren 12 is one of the most coveted beers on the planet. Brewed in limited quantities by Trappist monks in Belgium and officially sold only at the brewery itself and at the abbey-owned café called In de Vrede(In The Peace), Westvleteren 12 can be tough to come by and tough to pronounce. No, this dark Belgian quadruple isn’t pronounced “West-Vet-Air-In”, but rather “Vest-Flayter-In”.

For an audio example of the pronunciation, check out the first 10 seconds of this YouTube video about the brewery.

Still too tricky? Then go with the beer’s nickname: “Vesty”.

Singha

This Thai beer is pronounced “sing”, not “sing-ha” because the “ha” is a silent ha. Ha! “Singha” is an imported word from Sanskrit and refers to a powerful mythological lion in both ancient Hindu and Thai stories. The Sanskrit word was “Siṃha” (Pron: sing) or “Singh” (Pron: sing) also meaning lion, so it seems the Thai word is a combination of those transliterations, but in every case, the word is pronounced “sing”.

Smithwick’s

Smithwick’s is an Irish beer, not English, so don’t be an eejit; say it right: “Smih-dicks”… Not “Smith-Wicks”.

Hoegaarden

There’s such a mispronunciation-epidemic of this word that the brewery prints the phonetic spelling of the word right on 12 pack boxes. No, it’s not pronounced like what Snoop Dogg might call a park in Compton, but more like this: “WHO-Gar-Den”.

 

Want to learn more about beer? Check out these links:

The Craft Beer Quiz
What’s the Difference Between a Pilsner and a Lager?
All You Need to Know About Weizenbocks
Why Your Beer Might Taste Metallic-y

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