Beer

Here’s what happens when you let an AI name your craft beer

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Certified beer judge Sam Blackmon and longtime beer enthusiast Louie Toro weigh in on the rising price of craft beer.
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Certified beer judge Sam Blackmon and longtime beer enthusiast Louie Toro weigh in on the rising price of craft beer.

Devil’s Chard. Flying Rock IPA. Pimperdiginistic The Blacksmith w/Cherry Stout.

These might sound like real craft beers (well, except maybe for the last one), but don’t ask for them at your favorite brewpub. They’re all names invented by a neural network as part of an experiment on the Lewis & Quark science blog run by Janelle Shane.

Shane, a research scientist, wondered what would happen if a neural network – a type of computer program that can learn to imitate datasets by reviewing examples – tried to come up with craft beer names. She fed hundreds of thousands of real craft beer names, organized by broad categories, into the program and put it to work.

“It worked,” Shane writes. “The neural network produced unique names that were plausible, or weirdly awesome, or so outlandish that they sounded like the sort of beer you could only buy after a multi-day scavenger hunt involving hang gliding, codebreaking, and Fairbanks, Alaska.”

Some of the IPA names include Dang River, Binglezard Flack and Earth Pump. Strong pale ales include Track of the Wind, Thick Back and Strange Fast, while amber ales include Snarging Red, Gate Rooster and O’Busty Irish Red. Finally, stouts include Black Morning, Shock State and Whata Stout.

Shane’s blog post even includes sample labels for some of the AI-generated names. Need more craft beer names? Shane will email you a list of 100 additional names if you sign up for blog updates.

She warns that she turned up the neural network’s creativity variable for those names, so some are pretty weird. Also, there’s a stout named Fart, because of course there is, Shane writes.

Shane has performed similar neural net experiments for Star Wars character and planet names, Pokemon, kittens, paint colors and more.

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