If you’ve followed the ever-growing craft beer scene, one aspect which you’ve grown accustomed to by now is the visually striking and creative use of images and words on many of the labels. With many craft breweries so small, and the traditional avenues of advertising being simply out of reach financially for the brands – other than social media pages hosted by the brewers themselves, and reviews on numerous beer rating sites (Beer Advocate and RateBeer come to mind), a racy, original and creative label not only stands out in a wall of similarly-shaped bottles and visually identifies the brand, but hopefully provides an idea of the wonders which lie inside the bottle. And if not, it will certainly display the wacky boldness of the brewery itself. Perhaps, we should think of craft-beer labels as mini-billboards, rather than mere labels. Many of these brewers are uncompromising – dedicated to crafting the best and most original brews they can imagine – so don’t think for a second that a brewery which produces a beer called “Arrogant Bastard” is going to display it in uncontroversial packaging.
Our beer buyer, Perry Koon, recently shard with us a few of his favorites.
Justin Blabaer: I can’t think of few beers labels as outrageous as Evil Twin’s Justin Balbaer. This blueberry berliner weisse boasts a distorted image of pop star Justin Bieber in a teen heartthrob magazine. The description on the beer states “OMG! It’s JUSTIN BLABAER!!! If you have “Blabaer Fever,” then this is the only cure. We stuffed so many blueberries into this beer- it’s going to make you shout, “Oh, Baby!” This is dedicated to AVSB, A&F YFFL-EW, MW, RWM, BE, SS, RC.” Ratebeer: 94 This tart, wheaty Berliner Weisse with a heavy blueberry component would go great with a Roast Turkey or Pork Loin with a fruit (cranberry, orange) glaze or sauce.
Evil Twin Justin Blabaer Bluberry Berliner Weisse – Buy Here
Gigantic Bang On!: Gigantic Brewing’s beers always stand out as examples of eclectic labels. Here we have some furry monster pushing around a bicycle full of mustaches. If that doesn’t convince you to try this delicious pale ale, I don’t know what will. Try this with a Gastropub burger with Dijon mustard, arrugula, blue cheese and raw red onion. And the bitterness with cut through some onion rings very nicely.
Gigantic Bang On! – Buy Here
Stillwater Debauched: Stillwater’s labels are indeed some of the most thought provoking, creative and artistically rendered that we have seen ( have a look at their “Jaded” and “Of Love and Regret” offerings), and this is no exception. Gypsy brewery Stillwater just released their Debauched Saison. It is a Scandinavian farmhouse ale brewed with whole juniper bushes, farmhouse ale yeast (brettanomyces) and a touch of smoke. The label also has a design that looks like it just came out of the Old Testament. Ratebeer: 97 Try this with a Beef stew, Chicken Pot Pie or a Shepard’s Pie.
Stillwater Debauched Saison – Buy Here