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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Best Microbrew Beer Labels

One nice thing about the booming microbrewery trend is that it gives drinkers a chance to appreciate a ton more label art. What follows are eleven of our picks for the coolest, sexiest, weirdest and UGO-iest beer labels on Earth.

By K. Thor Jense
from http://www.ugo.com/

Microbreweries have a leg up on the big breweries when it comes to their consumer-facing identity. Free from the constraints of stuffed-shirt marketing teams, microbreweries are able to go over the top with their beer labels; offensive images, parodies, girls, whatever they want to do, they more or less can.

We present to you the best microbrew beer labels we've scoured from our searches across the Internet. A bold list that includes Satan, Satan ripping parts of male testicles and oh yeah, girls. You don't need a bland label with mountain ranges or fields of wheat when you have companies willing to let actual artists design beer labels. These Davids in a world of Goliaths show their love for their brews by putting extra care and attention on the outside of the bottle. So next time you're picking up a 30-rack, take a moment to browse the shelves and take in the sights beyond mass-produced beer.

Enjoy the best microbrew beer labels and if you think we missed an awesome one, comment below and attach a link. We want to see your favorites.


Ruckus Hoptimus Prime
Credit: Ruckus Brewing
11

Ruckus Hoptimus Prime

What better way to start this list than with a beer that pays tribute to the mightiest of the Autobots? New York-based Ruckus Brewing Company needed a powerful name for their new Double IPA, which packs a veritable Allspark of hop tartness. Five different hop varieties and a two-week dry hopping process are required to build this bad boy, so the concept of a Transformer of beer is more than appropriate.

Clown Shoes Brown Angel
Credit: Clown Shoes Brewing
10

Clown Shoes Brown Angel

The folks at Massachusetts brewery Clown Shoes actually got a lot of flack from the craft beer community over the label for their Brown Angel double brown ale, which only proves that beer nerds have too much time on their hands. This rich, dark ale has a strong presence, with hints of coffee and chocolate balanced out by citrus from the hops. The label pictures a mighty foxy mama doing a hot squat while wearing a pair of the brewery's signature oversized red and white shoes. Looking at hot chicks is one of the most traditional beer-based activities in the world, so why not save time and just put one on the bottle?

Unibroue Trois Pistoles
Credit: Unibroue
9

Unibroue Trois Pistoles

Canadian brewery Unibroue is well-known for their truly epic beer labels, which feature paintings of bizarre occurrences in Canadian history. The best is the art for their Trois Pistoles Belgian strong dark ale. The small town of Trois Pistoles was having problems building their new church. The pastor bound Satan in the form of a huge black horse held captive by a blessed bridle, and the horse hauled all of the stones from the river to the construction site. But when a villager felt sorry for the beast and removed the bridle, Satan escaped before hauling the final stone, and the church is still missing that one stone. The painting depicts the evil horse fleeing back to Hell. Awesome.

Left Hand Wake Up Dead
Credit: Left Hand Brewing
8

Left Hand Wake Up Dead

Colorado's Left Hand Brewery recently redesigned all of their packaging, and it was a change for the better. Hiring different local artists to tackle each beer was a smart move, and all of their labels are pretty great. Our favorite is the seriously metal design for Wake Up Dead, their awesomely heavy stout. Cellar-aged for four months, the beer has tastes of raisins, coffee, licorice and chocolate. Plus, hoisting a bottle of this makes you look like a serious badass.

Wasatch Polygamy Porter
Credit: Wasatch Brewing
7

Wasatch Polygamy Porter

You have to have big balls to open a brewery in Utah, what with the Mormon-run state's draconian alcohol laws that prohibit drafts over a certain percentage of alcohol. You have to have even bigger balls to name a beer after the Church of Latter-Day Saints' biggest shame. And yet, Park City's Wasatch Brewery did just that with their saucy Polygamy Porter. A medium-bodied ale with rich, layered flavors, the label mocks the old-school Mormon's drive to secure multiple wives for the Kingdom of Kolob or wherever they go.

Nils Oscar Lundgrens Lager
Credit: Nils Oscar Brewing
6

Nils Oscar Lundgrens Lager

As much as we try to fool ourselves into thinking that we're civilized creatures who enjoy wearing pants, every man is actually a filthy Bigfoot waiting to be unleashed on the world. That's why we love the hilariously ghetto artwork from Swedish brewer Nils Oscar on their sadly no longer produced Lundgrens Lager. One of the best Swedish pilsners, this golden lager is eminently drinkable, and the more of them you toss down, the more likely you'll resemble the hairy chap on the label who just doesn't give an F about society.

Nimbus Dirty Guera
Credit: Nimbus Brewing
5

Nimbus Dirty Guera

Let's cleanse our palate with another hot chick, OK? The babe depicted in the buff on the label for the blonde ale produced by the Nimbus Brewing Company out of Tucson, Arizona sure has everything we're looking for in a label model - long, flowing blonde hair, dangerous curves, spectacular skin - oh, and you can see her face reflected in the little mirror. Look at that. Oh my god, that's a monkey's face. We got boners over a monkey lady. Just go on to the next one, okay?

New England Gandhi-Bot
Credit: New England Brewing Co
4

New England Gandhi-Bot

We're actually cheating a little bit on this one, because Connecticut-based New England Brewing Company issues all their beers in cans, not bottles. Manybeer fans claim that cans actually improve the flavor of beer, and they are more environmentally conscious than bottles. Whatever the reason, the world may never know why New England decided to name their double IPA "Gandhi-Bot," but they went all the way with the label, which pictures the Indian spiritual and political leader transformed into an awesome android.

Jester King Black Metal
Credit: Jester King Brewery
3

Jester King Black Metal

For a beer to name itself after black metal, it had better just be as punishing as Hell. Texas microbrewery Jester King knew they were taking a difficult challenge when they developed their 2011 seasonal Imperial stout, which is a brutal draft of 10% ABV beer with incredibly pummeling flavors. The brewery claims that intense metal was played to the beer throughout the entire fermentation process, imbuing the beverage with concentrated evil. The label, with the image of a corpsepainted death lord on it, is just as harsh as the beer inside.

Caldera Vas Deferens
Credit: Caldera Brewing
2

Caldera Vas Deferens

I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to think about when I'm drinking is something going wrong in my scrotum. But leave it to the insane geniuses at Ashland, Oregon's Caldera Brewing to name a limited-batch brew after the little pipes that move your sperm around, and then illustrate the bottle with a cartoon devil ripping them in half. I don't know if this qualifies as a "vasectomy in a bottle," but this Belgian strong style ale made with blood orange zest and orange bitters packs quite a kick in the pants.

Dieu Du Ciel Rigor Mortis
Credit: Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
1

Dieu Du Ciel Rigor Mortis

And we close with where we all wind up - in the grave. French-Canadian brewery Dieu du Ciel illustrates most of their labels with lovely, nubile young women, but the Rigor Mortis Quadrupel ale is the exception. This is an incredibly powerful beer, and it's only brewed once a year. Aged for six months before release, once it's gone it's gone. Much like the fragile, temporary dream we call life.



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