When you brew your own beer you are only limited by your imagination. When brewing the beer itself you can use any ingredient you want. A commercial brewer has logistical and legal issues that a home brewer does not. Using 12 types of malt, 10 varieties of hops would be a logistical nightmare for a brewer brewing on a commercial scale. I was able to brew a Ballantine IPA clone using traditional ingredients that Pabst either could not use or chose not to use. You can also use ingredients that a commercial brewer can’t use. Do you want to add Jameson to your Irish Stout? You can, but it is illegal for a commercial brewer to add hard alcohol to a beer.
Brewing the actual beer is only the tip of the iceberg. How often in life do you get to name things? The only examples that come to mind right away are boats, pets, and children. The last one could very well grow up and change his/her name anyway. As our first batch fermented, there was a protracted debate as to what our home-brewery would be called. My original idea was Danvers River Brewing. For most of my life I have lived or worked in communities along the Danvers River, so the name felt appropriate. My girlfriend hated it, along with the next ten ideas I came up with. Since we both love baseball we toyed around with baseball themed names until we settled on Bleacher Brewing Company.
If you are artistic or creative, coming up with labels for your beer can be just as big a part of the hobby as brewing. When giving homebrew as a gift it just looks classier to give a bottle with a cool label on it as opposed to a blank bottle. It also helps the person know what is inside (duh!). Inevitably if the bottle isn’t labeled the person will forget what kind of beer it is.
From there you get to name each beer that you come up with. Until very recently all of our beer names were baseball themed. Before I took my ancient Windows XP PC offline, we would use Photoshop elements to come up with a unique label and logo for each beer. Each label had a similar layout, but each different beer featured a different ballpark and a different background color.
We then would then create albums on our Facebook page, upload the logo and any pictures related to the beer. We created the Facebook page so we wouldn’t continue to spam our personal Facebook feeds with homebrewing pictures and anecdotes. That way friends who wanted to follow our brewing could, and those who didn’t wouldn’t have to un-friend us.
I ordered a ton of blank labels from OnlineLabels.com, and would just print them at home. If I labeled every beer and did more printing, I would invest in a color laser printer. After a couple batches of labeling and then peeling approximately 50 12 oz bottles, we started labeling only gifted beer. I miss creating the labels and may have to buy a Windows 7 PC for the sole purpose of creating and printing beer labels.