While bigger breweries have tended to license European or global lager brands, regional and micro brewers have often turned out their own product under what they imagine to be a Germanic-sounding name. Here are some we’ve come across in our rambles.
Davenport’s Continental Lager. Let’s start with easily the laziest attempt to imply a European heritage we’ve come across. Could they not at least have called it Continentalbrau? (c.1973.)
Elgood’s Iceberg. Clever this one – a suitably Germanic word, but also an early use of coldness as a marketing angle. (Frank Baillie said it had ‘a pleasant flavour’.) (c.1973.)
Firkinstein. This seems to have originated in 1986 at the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol, which David Bruce sold off to Allied in 1988.
Litchborough Litchbrau. It wasn’t long into the microbrewery boom of the 1970s before an ersatz lager came along, from Bill Urquhart’s Litchborough Brewery, founded in 1974. Bill’s daughter recalls it selling quite well.
Greenall Whitley Grunhalle. One of our favourite names. It was strong, apparently. Is it the same Grunhalle conceived by Randall’s of Jersey and licensed to other brewers? Or did great minds think alike? (c.1973.)
Hall and Woodhouse Brock Lager. Sounds a bit like ‘bock’, nice Germanic ring, but also another word for badger, from the Old English. Nicely done. (c.1973.)
Hilden Hildenbrau. ‘A distinctive brew which undergoes several weeks conditioning’, said Brian Glover in 1987.
Ruddle’s Langdorf Lager. Brewed at Langham. Geddit?
Samuel Smith’s Alpine Lager. AKA ‘man in a box’. Bore the Ayinger name under license for a while, but now back under it’s original, retro, 1970s name.
Taddington Moravka. We remember this being launched in, we think, 2008. Not ersatz Germanic, in this case, but faux Slavonic, and very coy about its Derbyshire origins.
Vaux Norseman. Apparently ‘passed through a cooling unit’, according to Frank Baillie, so could have been called Norseman Extra Cold, if they’d thought of it. (c.1973.)
Young’s Saxon. Young & Co. produced various lagers over their lifetime. Saxon was on sale in the early 1970s, but we remember seeing the plainly-named Young’s Pilsner on sale c.2004. Not fondly remembered.
Have we missed any corkers? And does anyone remember drinking the obsolete beers listed above?
Of course, continental brewers have also been known to apply Ersatz English names to their attempts to brew ales...