First, let's take a look at the old one:
The image most associated with Weyerbacher is probably the jester, though, most prominently displayed on the old art for their barleywine, Blithering Idiot:
|You actually become this if you drink a growler of it.|
The typeface is custom, and an interesting mix of traditional old blackletter fonts and some more modern, avant-garde influences that dominate the chaotic feel. They go to the trouble of connecting two terminal letters with an underline, and then promptly stab through it and extend feet below it on both sides. The bell-bottom effects of the R legs and the sharp-angled, blade-like curves of the Y and H bases that leave the logo feeling a touch more entropic than stable. Even the slanted crossbars of the A and H, the downward-pointing middle stroke of the e, and that bottom counter (typespeak for enclosed space) of the b, where the middle bar swings around far more zanily than one expects.
The color is an interesting red, something like a crimson with a dash more magenta in it. There is a very faint halo that helps to bring out the jester and font. If I have a grievance with the logo, it's that that much red, at least on a monitor, seems to take some zip away from the jester. Here's a quick (read: bad) photoshopped version of the image on grey:
|Why so serious?|
Overall, the decision to approach the logo this way is a bold one. Realistic faces, even of cartoonish characters, are rarely in logos - or really even prominently in branding images - because they can so easily put people off. Some people just hate to see eyes of any kind. I saw a version of the art where the smirk was a bit more menacing, and I think this softer one is an improvement, but the reality is Weyerbacher would be being disingenuous if they suddenly started trying to be really bland and approachable to everyone. They make interesting, complex, bold beers (this is why they are beloved by beer geeks like myself), and often they are in the "big beer" range of 9%+ abv. They have beers that I think are quite accessible, like the Merry Monks (a very drinkable 9%) and the Verboten (the name is a reference to a C&D letter, but the beer is very drinkable), but Weyerbacher is not Saranac. So the bold colors, the eye contact of the jester, and the strangely off-putting lettering are all totally in keeping with the brand for a brewery that prides itself on boldness and innovation.
I'll be curious to see not only how the logo is deployed in the coming months, but how the beer labels and identities shift to work with it. With the release today, the massive expansion in the works, and Colin being Mr. Craft Beer 2012, it's exciting times for Weyerbacher and those of us who root for it as an exceptional brewery we happen to have locally.
So what's the worst beer art of the week? Well it comes from Local Option, a Chicago-area gypsy brewer:
|Stay classy, Chicago.|