The Guinness toucan is easily the most iconic bird mascot in beer history, but the storied Dublin brewery also boasted an ostrich and a pelican in its colorful, avian advertising menagerie of yesteryear. Truth be told, any of the three Guinness birds illustrated by John Gilroy would be a tough act to follow in the world of brewery marketing, but this week’s featured beer makes a worthy attempt by featuring the world’s largest bird – the Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) – in all its barelegged magnificence.

A vintage Guinness advertisement by English artist John Gilroy (1898-1985), still the gold standard for marketing featuring struthionids.

The improbably named Pantless Thunder Goose is a double India Pale Ale by Mast Landing Brewing Company of Westbrook, Maine. Devoted internet observers may recognize this beer’s unusual name from a humorous fad that emerged several years ago in the wake (pardon the pun) of the Boaty McBoatface controversy, when that dubious name won what had been intended as a serious online poll to name a scientific research vessel. For some time after that, the hive mind of the internet was inspired to engage in an infantile but good-natured effort to bring forth a whole host of silly new names for animals, resulting in a wholesale renaming of living organisms not seen since Carl Linnaeus published his Systema Naturae in 1735. The best examples of this crowd-sourced taxonomic exercise – dubbed “#TheInternetNamesAnimals” – reduced each zoological form to its most basic defining characteristics with childish but uncanny simplicity, generating such humorous neologisms as “beach chicken” for members of the family Laridae, “stab rabbit” for the porcupine, and – yes – “pantless thunder goose” for the ostrich.

Pantless Thunder Goose is brewed in the hazy New England IPA style and hopped with El Dorado, Topaz, and Mosaic hops, three varieties known for their pungent and fruity aromas. The intricate bouquet offers tropical layers of mango and pineapple, the sweet perfume of ripe summer peaches, and hints of spearmint and freshly sliced watermelon.  Beneath the soft, billowing head lies a seemingly sun-kissed brew bursting with bright citrus and lychee flavors, with a slight nip of piney bitterness in the finish.

A note of caution about this beer’s alcohol content: at a walloping 8.3 percent by volume, having more than one 16-ounce can could mean you’re headed for a drunken argument about whether this thunder goose is actually “pantless” “pantsless”, “pant-less”, or “pants-less”, depending on the pedantry of the company you keep. Consider yourself warned.

Good birding and happy drinking!

Mast Landing Brewing Company: Pantless Thunder Goose Double India Pale Ale

Four out of five feathers (Excellent)

Written by Tristan Lowery
Tristan Lowery’s busy homebrewing schedule took a hit in 2010 when he discovered birding and found that scanning the waterfowl at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on a frigid midwinter morning could be just as much fun as standing over a steaming mash tun in a sweltering Queens apartment in August. While his growing commitment to birding has undeniably diminished his brewing output of ales - fine and otherwise - Tristan finds that birding still affords him plenty of excuses to at least keep drinking beer, especially when celebrating life birds, lamenting unsuccessful chases, and capping off an exhausting Big Day or Christmas Bird Count. After leaving behind a hectic cooking career in New York City’s fine-dining scene, Tristan moved inland to the New York's Capital District, where the relative abundance of Pileated Woodpeckers almost makes up for the fact that he’s only seen a single Sanderling in Albany County ever. When he isn’t birding his local patches in urban Albany, Tristan works in energy regulation for the State of New York.