A beer, by any other name, still sits nicely on a window sill.
As William Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name?” While Juliet wasn’t referring to hops and barley when she posed this famous question, Name This Beer! IPA–a hazy, citrusy American IPA flavored with tangerine–really puts it to the test. In November of 2016, the Bronx Brewery, Whole Foods Market, Inc. and The Infatuation partnered up to boldly release this delicious brew without a name at all.
Why no name? You’ll notice that under the bottle there are two blank lines. That’s because they literally want their customers to name their beer. In case you aren’t keen to believe them, they say right underneath that, “For real… We want you to name this beer!”
Being a glass-half-full kind of person, I don’t see this as a nameless beer at all. To me, this beer has infinite names. Anybody can name it anything they want. Have too many clever fantasy football team names in your reserves? Name your beer Wolf Cola, and make all of your buddies laugh. Did you get overruled when the time came to name the last family pet? Why not name your beer Dolph Lundgren instead? If you’re afraid you’ll get outvoted, just buy your naming rivals their own bottle. Everybody wins.
Even better, some day the whole world could be drinking your Dolph Lundgren IPA. The contest is no longer accepting submissions, but part of the hook for this beer was that if you shared your name on social media using #namethisbeerwfm, it could be eventually be chosen as the name of the beer forever.
When the time came for me to send in my submission, there was only one name for me to choose: Kato the Fat Cat.
Why Kato the Fat Cat, you ask? Well, about 15 years ago, my wife rescued a Tabby from a shelter in Texas and named him Kato (after Bruce Lee’s character in the Green Hornet). As the years went by, Kato’s belly expanded along with his age, earning him the nickname that now dons his Instagram page–that’s right, he’s kind of a big internet deal, guys… at least the way he tells it.
When I came into the picture, Kato became mine too. Even though he could be a bit of a pain in the ass–although he’s a perfect little baby according to my wife–Kato grew on me, both literally and figuratively, until I couldn’t help but love him too.
Unfortunately, over the last year or so, Kato’s been sick. “Megacolon” might make me giggle every time I hear it, but it’s actually a serious problem for cats. I’ll spare you the details, but it eventually leads to them not being able to go to the bathroom regularly, and sometimes stops them from being able to go at all. The only thing to do for cats who have this condition is to give them lots of medicines, and sometimes weekly visits to the vet to get flushed out.
When I picked up this beer from Whole Foods in the fall, it was a particularly dicey time for Kato. We were hopeful that the medicines would begin to help him, but it was early on, and we just didn’t know if he would make it much longer. Maybe it was inspiration for the medical journey on which we were all about to embark, or just a coping mechanism for our worries, but the name was the only one that came to mind when i grabbed my sharpie to create my contest submission.
These days, Kato is on several medicines–you can see a photo of them here–but he’s doing much better, and we haven’t had to take him in for a vet visit in three weeks. Through all the pills, powders, laxatives and even a daily I.V. drip, he has kept his cuddly demeanor–my wife calls him the sweetest cat in the world, and she’s not really embellishing–and his positive outlook. He hardly makes a peep when it’s time for the meds, even the I.V. needle.
I don’t think Kato the Fat Cat will end up winning the contest–we’ll actually find out on February 12 who the winner is–but for us, there was no better name out there… unless they actually name it Dolph Lundgren IPA. Sorry, babe and Kato, can’t beat perfection.
What would you name your IPA? There are bottles still milling around in my local Whole Foods, so why don’t you go pick one up, grab a sharpie and let us know in the comments below.
Update: Went into my fridge the day after posting this and found another nameless bottle that I didn’t realize I had. Kato’s feeling better, so I decided instead to name it after the new kid in Beer Blog Town. Has a good ring to it, no?
— beersonwindowsills (@beersonsills) February 10, 2017