Session Beer Project. I mean, it is Philly Beer Week now, and Lew is the foremost appreciator of session beers, so it seemed appropriate to search for beer artwork there. A session beer, for those who don't know, is a low-alcohol, high-taste, inexpensive beer. It's something of a lost art in this age of ever-hoppier arms races for the biggest beer possible.
The first thing that piqued my interest there was a PBW-appropriate reminder that Yards Brewing Company's Brawler is 3.8%. Yards is, of course, in Philly, and in the show, so let's start with them.
As you can see, the brawler features an old-style boxer versus a demon. This fits with Yards' early American style in their art. In this particular case, it highlights the virtue of a good session beer, which is a punchy flavor (that's more than a bad pun, it's actually descriptive of what big flavor from low-abv beers is like, in my opinon). Session beers are also something of a throwback style, so this is totally appropriate.
So I was thinking about session beers I like, and thought immediately of the Stone Brewing Company Levitation Ale. We've mentioned Stone for their delicious beer and masculine gargoyle artwork, so let's look at their 4.4% session offering:
So the gargoyle is floating, but still glaring, hinting at the intense flavor of the beer. I love big IPAs, and I like Stone's beer a lot, but Levitation might be my favorite offering by them, because it was such a departure for the San Diego brewery. I can't remember ever getting more flavor for a 4.4% abv beer that costs $4 at a bar.
And lastly, also via the project, I see that there is a new session-only beer company, Portland, ME's Notch.
Oversimplistically, session ales are craft beers aimed at swill drinkers, and Batch 19 is swill aimed at craft beer drinkers. In these cases, brand confusion is an even bigger pitfall, and so art and design becomes an even more important distinguishing factor. Consequently, brewers like Notch are walking a line between an image that is approachable and one that is distinctive. In this case, I hope the stroke of bad luck that Notch ran into with similar design by a high-powered competitor doesn't hurt them; I'd love to get some Notch in PA. After a month, they're doing great, and new craft-esque offerings by macros have largely tanked (Bud Light Wheat, I'm looking at your crappy sales numbers), so my money's on Notch.