Update: June 9, 2015 – We have renamed this beer “Om Namah Pilsner.” Thank you for all of your great naming suggestions!
Dogfish Head Brewery has a beer named Namaste and politely asked us to rename the beer before legal action would need to be taken. I’m sort of bummed because it has garnered 7 medals for the Yak & Yeti so far including Jeffco County Fair, Colorado State Fair and the All-Colorado Beerfest and Competition (took 1st overall in Lagers!), as well as 2nd place in a national competition called Best of Craft. All that attention apparently wasn’t lost on Dogfish Head.
I wanted to give everybody a history lesson on the beer and then ask for help in renaming the beer.
“Namaste” roughly translates to “I bow to you” and is a traditional Indian/Nepalese greeting and parting gesture. It is usually accompanied with hands pressed together and a bow, of course. Chris Kennedy was my predecessor and I’m presuming he named this beer. If I remember correctly, he started making this beer as a lager but at one point it changed to a Kolsch-style Ale. It was a Kolsch when I came on board but the name was still Namaste Pilsner.
I had recently just graduated from the World Brewing Academy where I spent 5 weeks in Germany and was highly affectionate with classic German Lagers. I had drank plenty of authentic pilsners during this time and longed for fresh examples in America. So my dilemma was: (a) change the name to Namaste Kolsch and keep Chris’ recipe, or (b) do I keep the name, ditch the recipe completely, develop a Pilsner recipe and source a lager yeast?
Ultimately, I chose to keep the name and change the recipe to a Northern German-style pilsner with 100% Weyermann Pilsner malt and about 35IBU’s of Tettnager hops. The yeast I sourced from Del Norte Brewing. You may be thinking that DNB made nothing but Mexican lagers and not German lagers but all Mexican lagers are decedents of German lagers, so where did the yeast come from? When DNB closed its doors, I tried using yeast from two other breweries but the beer wasn’t the same, it was after I switched to the classic Weihenstephan 34/70 that this beer really started doing well. The yeast produces slightly more sulfur than other yeast strains and thus gives the lager more of bite/edge and accentuates the hops/bitterness.
The Namaste Pilsner remains the 2nd best selling beer for us in the summer months behind the Himalayan IPA. We need a new name for this favorite amongst many of us. Any suggestions for a new name?