There is no shortage of geekiness in the craft beer world. Whether it’s a zombie-inspired beer with actual brains in it, or a not-so-subtle Star Wars reference, or even a brewery’s in-joke about an X-Files star, nerdy pop culture references are on taps and in bottles everywhere. Here are some notable examples:
IMPERIAL STOUT TROOPER // NEW ENGLAND BREWING
Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away (New England), a rebel brewer paid tribute to Star Wars with a stout in a Stormtrooper-designed label that treaded dangerously close to trademark infringement. George Lucas swiftly sent his Sith-like lawyers to tell them to knock it off.
They didn’t. Instead they added a pair of Groucho glasses over top of the label’s Stormtrooper-esque mask.
VULCAN ALE // FEDERATION OF BEER
While many Star Wars-referencing beer names have been released to the chagrin of Disney and Lucas, a legit licensed series of Star Trek-themed beers have beamed down the past few years, starting with Vulcan Ale, a nod to Spock’s home planet. It was also brewed to celebrate Vulcan, Alberta’s centennial in 2013.
SCULLY // GOOSE ISLAND
When Chicago’s Goose Island released a barrel-aged beauty named Scully, X-Files fans’ may have been curious to know if there a link between the beer and a certain red-haired FBI special agent. When the beer changed its name to Gillian – presumably after Scully actress Gillian Anderson – the conspiracy deepened.
But the truth was out there: Turns out the X-Files actress actually worked at the brewpub long before she hunted aliens with Mulder.
TAKE THE BLACK STOUT // BREWERY OMMEGANG
Another nerdy licensed beer series by Brooklyn’s Ommegang turned HBO’s mega-popular and not-at-all-for-kids Game of Thrones series into a line of adult beverages. Take The Black Stout honours the no-fun Night’s Watch with a boozy concoction, perfect for long nights on the Wall. And unlike George R.R. Martin novels (the show’s source material), Ommegang keeps releasing new ones.
WALKER // DOCK STREET BREWING
Inspired by The Walking Dead, this zombie-friendly beer is blood red and brewed with smoked goat brains, so that has to count for something, right? There was also an official TWD brew released after Walker that sounds tame by comparison: The Walking Dead Blood Orange IPA. And no braaaaains in that one.
BREW’S WAYNE AND HULK’S MASH // BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY
The Colorado brewer gets top marks for a dynamic duo of punny superhero-named beers. Brew’s Wayne is an homage to Batman’s secret identity, while “Hulk’s Mash” is probably what the greenest Avenger shouts when he’s homebrewing. There’s no tragic murders or gamma radiation involved in their origin though. Both were brewed specially for the Denver Comic-Con, which makes sense.
THE OWLS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM // DOGFISH HEAD
David Lynch’s weirdo network show got a liquid tribute from Dogfish Head, who brewed a limited series of Twin Peaks-inspired beers that also included a Black Lodge, White Lodge and even Diane. But, inexplicably, there was no Damn Fine Cup of Coffee Stout, Cherry Pie Saison or Red Room Red Ale.
Maybe they can get on that for when the show comes back next year.
DUFF BEER // TOO MANY BREWERS!
If you’re going to crib a reference from The Simpsons for your beer, there’s no lower hanging fruit than referencing Homer’s ever-present go-to, Duff Beer. In fact, so many brewers around the world had created their own knockoff Duff, that 21st Century FOX licensed their own last summer, to crack down on the copyright. But the real Duff is only available in Chile, for now.