Enjoying a foaming schooner of Bluetongue beer at a local club, I wondered what could be the connection between beer and lizards. We have a friendly bluetongue lizard about 30cm. (12 inches) long living happily in our backyard, but he prefers Adam's ale (water).
I've often heard people say they're flat out like a lizard drinking, which seems to provide part of the answer.
Bluetongue Beer is brewed at Cameron Park, in the Hunter Valley, a picturesque district better known for its fine wines than for beer.
I asked Bruce Peachey, Bluetongue's head brewer, how his company acquired its name. He replied:
Sally Robertson wrote an interesting story about boutique beers in the media magazine B&T, in which she reported:
Still puzzled about the connection between beer and lizards, I googled "beer lizards". To my surprise, I found a great collection of such names from around the world. Here are just a few of them:
Winking Lizard A chain of 12 taverns in and around Cleveland, Ohio. Four year ago Nancy Backas outlined the origin of the name, when she wrote:
Pursuing that lead, I found the Winking Lizard Tavern's website, which announced:
At first glance I thought that the Winking Lizard's dedicated beer drinkers were enjoying an epic pub crawl around the globe, sampling the local brew at every stop, but that sounded too good to be true. Reading on, I found that the tour is restricted to Ohio. Mind you, walking from one tavern to the next would be a long day's march for a small lizard, winking or not.
Tour contestants are challenged to taste 100 bottled beers brewed in various countries, and that's where the "world tour" comes into the picture.
After firing off an email to the Tavern asking for more details, I received this reply from John Lane, the company's managing partner and beverage director:
Over in Illinois, The Twisted Lizard restaurant claims to specialise in great Southwestern cuisine and the best margaritas in Chicago. Its website says "The menu features a traditional array of authentic Mexican cuisine, including fajitas, enchiladas, chimichangas, burritos, quesadillas, and sincronizadas. The Twisted Lizard also offers an extensive array of tequilas (over 20 brands) and fine margaritas, as well as a complete selection of Mexican beers and microbrews."
Then there were Budweiser Beers' famous green lizards, Louis and Frank. In 1998 and 1999 they were featured in a series of three Super Bowl TV spot advertisements. Budweiser once showed a nude Ganymede holding a beer bottle and borne aloft by a bald eagle, and lizards pretending to be three frogs named Bud, Weis and Er.
Crazy Lizard Beer is displayed in The Rattlesnake Saloon of the American International Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The saloon also displays these marvellous drinks, although sadly it doesn't offer tastings:
Another interesting beer from America's Far West is Lizard Head Red. We found this invitation to attend a "promo tasting":
Well, there they are. Which lizard beer would you prefer?
If you know why brewers everywhere, or their advertising agents, chose lizard names for their products, please let me know. In the meantime, I'll have another schooner of Bluetongue, please dear. Cheers!