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With clever craft-beer names running dry, brew makers turn to song lyrics

Yalla Yalla, Totally and Super Soul Citrus are some brews from Half Hours on Earth Brewery that took inspiration from song lyrics.

Denise Balkissoon

Hoptical Illusion, Hoparazzi, Hopnotist, RoboHop and even Total Eclipse Of The Hop: these are all already actual Canadian beer names. The growth of craft beer is great for people who prefer to drink locally made and small-batch brew, but has led to an interesting problem for the people making them: The puns are all taken.

For inspiration naming its beers, one small brewery in Seaforth, Ont., is leaning on its playlist. At the tiny Half Hours on Earth Brewery, co-owners Kyle Teichert and Kristen Harburn mine the music they listen to when it comes time to name their sour and farmhouse-inspired ales.

The brewery's name comes from a song lyric by the now-defunct New York indie rock band Silver Jews: "Half hours on earth/What are they worth/I don't know," from the song Trains Across the Sea.

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Their dry-hopped sour ale is called Yalla Yalla after a song by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros, while Chicago punk bank Screeching Weasel and their song Totally were borrowed to name a tart farmhouse ale with raspberries and hibiscus.

But it's not all indie rock and punk. Rapper Warren G gets a nod with a farmhouse wheat ale with orange peel and funky brettanomyces yeast. Super Soul Sis was a song from his debut album Regulate…G Funk Era, the cover of which featured the MC leaning on a street sign at the corner of East 21st Street and Lewis Ave in Long Beach, Calif.

The Half Hours label for Super Soul Citrus sports a modified version of the same street sign, now reading "Main Street" in honour of the brewery location in Seaforth.

"We listen to music while we're bottling together, and sometimes a song or a lyric just clicks as we begin to realize the beer's character," says Teichert.

As well as bringing a sense of whimsy and a touch of the duo's personalities to their beers, song snippets also serve a practical purpose. "We're often left with very little time to think up ideas for names of beers," Teichert says. "Sometimes we'll be listening to music and choosing the name as we're bottling that specific batch. It's sometimes very last minute, which means it's a good thing we still print our own labels, too."

Beers from Half Hours on Earth are currently available in person on Saturdays at 151 Main Street South, Seaforth, or online to be shipped via Canada Post.

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