For example, on March 3rd twenty one federal trademark applications related to beer were filed by various breweries. A snapshot of those applications are seen below.
Many breweries take advantage of the intent-to-use application offered under the Trademark Act (15 U.S.C. 1051(b)). As long as an applicant has a bond fide intention to use a trademark in commerce in the near future, it can file this application to reserve priority in a name even before it is being used.
The large number of beer-related applications also crowds the field of trademarks in the craft beer industry. This makes a trademark search before using a name even more important (although a search should always be done no matter what).
Imagine undertaking significant marketing efforts to develop and promote a specific beer only to receive a cease and desist letter from another brewery who started using a similar name before you. The costs of re-branding far outweigh the cost of an attorney to perform that initial search.
The best tip for choosing a beer name - make up a new word or choose something that is arbitrary and has nothing to do with beer. Those are the strongest types of trademarks and the easiest to protect.