February 17, 2012

The Best and Worst Beer Art of the Week, Including Stoudts and Fegleys Brew Works

 So for the best of the week, I'm staying local to me (I promise, this isn't a big plug for breweries I know... just worked out that way).

First, Fegleys Brew Works artist Alex Clare has a label for the Amber Lager they've just started bottling.
A somewhat idealized version of steelworkers
One of his stronger works, it's well-constructed in the heroic Art Deco style. In this case, we will suspend our disbelief at the multicultural steelworker parade and appreciate the well-rendered 2-D, hardline style. From a product branding perspective, I wonder if they'll regret not giving this beer a real name. In our part of PA, "Lager" means Yuengling, and it seems strange that a brewery with a penchant for resonant names (e.g. Hops Explosion, Insidious, Hopsolutely) would skip that on a beer where the style is synonymous with a nationally-known local competitor. Still, great label in a very cool style. Though Art Deco was often used for socialist/labor pieces in the early 1900s, it's often associated with the iconic cover for archconservative Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead:
In Rand's mythology, Gods=Job creators, Prometheus=Welfare queen
Still somewhat local, but in a very different style, we have Stoudt's Amber, brewed for their anniversary:
The style is Scherenschnitte, a Pennsylvania Dutch (i.e. ethnic German) style of paper cutting that is, shall we say, fairly common in Lancaster County, where Stoudts is, and in nearby Berks. I just wanted to highlight it since I've never seen it on a beer label before, and breweries incorporating local folk art traditions is quite awesome.

Okay, let's go to the worst:
Just... no.
I know little nothing about Texas Big Beer Brewery, but let's just count the number of awful cliches in this label. Blond woman=blonde beer. Use of "big ass" as a bad double entendre. Use of a woman's figure to somehow suggest that we should drink beer. Texas=big. Texans, I beg of you: Drink better beer.

Two things you should read:

1 comment:

  1. Greg, I disagree with your assessment of this label. As a card-caring member of the great United States of America, I see art as transcendent, speaking to me on many levels regardless of my economic background, accent, or where and how I make my paper reindeer cut-outs. I also see "art" as being funnier when preceeded by an "f". Finally, I like to multi-task, satisfying all of my senses, which is why I am writing this comment while doing 75 down the Parkway-West in my F-350 pick-em-up truck. For those reasons, I appreciate what the Texas Big Beer Big Huge Brewing Large Big Company is doing with this product. It not only quenches my thirst with a massive quanity of swill (22 oz!), but in between gulps I can appreciate a very fine tramp stamp (art) and a bodacious pooper (God's art). Lastly, the woman's figure doesn't subliminally suggest we drink beer. If the label existed to suggest we drink, it would be a mirror glued to a bottle with a caption that said "Drink up, you're an American. You're welcome." Nay, sir, the label exists to tell us what we are enjoying, give us a glimpse into the mind of the mad scientist that brewed this wicked treat, and satisfy our remaining senses while my liver-sense is being drowned. So, when I am enjoying this 1 pint + 6 oz golden hued, unapologetic Texan brew, I think to myself: "Damn... This label is perfect."