The Commander’s wife (the Commandress?) asked me to put a question in our next Mailbag. I agreed immediately before remembering that we don’t actually have a Mailbag feature. So I decided to just answer her question:
The question: “Where does Oskar Blues Ten FIDY gets its name?”
I’ve heard multiple theories behind the origin of the enigmatic title of Oskar Blues beloved (by the Aleheads at least), and impossibly viscous Imperial Stout.
1. The simplest explanation is that the brew has an ABV of 10.5% (hence a slangified name that sounds like “ten fifty”) and that number is confirmed on the Oskar Blues website. There’s just one problem…the label on the can actually lists the ABV as 9.5%. It’s possible that the beer was originally brewed at 10.5% and more recent iterations have seen the number drop slightly. That seems a little odd though…why would you lower the ABV of a beer named after its alcohol content? That would be like Victory turning their Hop Wallop into an English Mild.
2. If the ABV theory doesn’t hold true, then perhaps the term relates to the beer’s legendary consistency. Simply put, the brew pours like motor oil. 10W-50 is a grade of motor oil…ergo, Ten FIDY. The issue with this explanation is that 10W-50 isn’t a particularly well-known grade…10W-30 and 10W-40 are much more common. Also, as the Commandress notes, if the beer is simply named after a tangential reference to motor oil, then it’s a “stupid name”.
3. My preferred theory was explained to me by a package store manager in Colorado. The Ten refers to the ABV as noted earlier (9.5% rounded up to 10% isn’t much of a stretch), but the FIDY is something else entirely. There are two things to notice about the way Oskar Blues spells FIDY. First, the slangified version of “fifty” is usually spelled “fiddy”…dropping the second “d” is a little strange. Second, Oskar Blues writes FIDY in all caps. This implies that it’s not a word per se, but is instead an acronym. The package store manager I spoke to told me that it stands for “Fuck the Industry, Do it Yourself”. Obviously, this is a call to all of the beer-lovers of the world to brew their own creations instead of relying on the conglomerate-dominated brewing industry to do it for them. If that seems far-fetched, this third explanation was confirmed by a few other beer distributors on the Interwebs.
So there you have it…three decent theories, but the third is clearly my favorite. If nothing else, it includes profanity. And that’s just the way we fucking like it at Aleheads.