A beer label’s look is important. It’s doorway into the drinking experience – both a reflection on and an invitation to the brewer’s art. And here are some craft beer label’s from different regions of the country that absolutely blew us away.
Black Hog Ginga’ Ninja (East)
Connecticut-based Black Hog Brewing’s label is an ecstatic celebration of femininity (and redheads in particular) – and given that it was designed for a Red India Pale with fresh “ginger”, it couldn’t be more appropriate. We like the label design’s unlikely mashup of psychedelic poster art and American magazine illustrations from the 60’s. We also like the beer…a lot.
Flying Dog Raging Bitch (Mid-Atlantic)
When it comes to “the art of the craft beer label” few breweries are as privileged as Frederick, Maryland-based Flying Dog. The label artwork for Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch was designed by Ralph Steadman, a famous British artist best known for his work with American author Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing books and who has brought his manic energy to a whole roster of beer artwork for the brewery. Brilliant…and a terrific Belgian IPA as well.
Azacca India Pale Ale (Midwest)
Founders’ late winter seasonal (Jan-Mar) is named after the Haitian God of agriculture and the hop that was used to brew it. Ironically the label art speaks more to types of glass developed and produced from 1878 to 1933 at the Tiffany Studios in New York that it does to Caribbean mythology. We’ve never sampled Azacca India Pale Ale but obviously we find it inviting.
Odell St Lupulin Extra Pale Ale (Mountain States)
Odell’s labels are all pretty impressive what with their allegorical and subtlety retro hand printed style. Their ode to the mythical wanderer St Lupulin (the patron saint of hops?) is a great example of their approach, but truthfully you could produce a book of great label artwork from this brewery. The beer itself is a May to September seasonal.
Anchor’s Meyer Lemon Lager (West)
San Francisco–based Anchor Brewing’s labels are largely traditional and appropriately Northern Californian in their approach. They tend towards “label” labels with vintage text and font choices a big part of their overall designs. A homage to fruit crate artwork that flourished in California’s central valley the turn of the century, Anchor’s Meyer Lemon Lager’s label is a bit of a departure for them, moving image and color to the forefront, with striking results.