Okay, I've been saving them up to a point where I can't justify holding back any longer.
Readers of this blog know that my big beer art crush is Stillwater Artisan Ales, from Baltimore, and their label work by tattoo artist Lee Verzosa. It won best art of 2010 here, and honestly I'm considering a ban on repeat winners just to prevent him from becoming a choice every year. But I probably won't.
What follows is a bunch of his work from 2011. Prepare for gushing art geekery.
Of Love and Regret label. Instead of plotting murder, we've got two ladies throwing down on a field of blood-spattered red. The amusing take on "Debutante" is driven home by the label over the watermaked woman's eyes. The fact that it's so off-center gives the fight a sense of realistic dynamism; the falling woman really appears to be dropping into our field of view. Like many Stillwater offerings, this was brewed and bottled as a collaboration, and the logo of the collaborator, The Brewer's Art, is well integrated into the background.
Of course, this style only works with Stillwater's brand. Owner Brian Strumke, a "gypsy brewer" who rents unused time in facilities to make beer in Europe and stateside, continually makes complex, interesting beer for those interested in some of the more high-end, subtle aspects of beer. He doesn't have a flagship golden or pale ale; he has farmhouse style beers that often defy style characterization. Because of that, he can afford to have art that is challenging, opaque and even unsettling, in a way that Sierra Nevada never could.