January 15, 2013

That's Right, You're Not from Texas

Howdy Beerfriends.

I have been derelict in my bloggerating, and that is the unfortunate side effect of a very good overall thing, which is that I'm in Austin, Texas, working full-time on a tech startup. Yes, I'm still opening the meadery, but we're in that interminable paperwork stage.

Yes yes yes, you all say, truth be known, we're not listening to you. More beer. More art.

And yes, there is lots. For one thing, being in Austin has given me tons of access to lots of new beer. Dear lord, is there a lot of new beer. Winners so far are the near-sessionable Hell in Keller (by Uncle Billy's) and the Live Oak Hefeweizen.
Nice retro logo, in neon.
I know I need to do a best of 2012, but the year's over and those are work-intensive posts, so we'll hold off. First, some news for yinz all:

Craft beer can labels by the numbers

He predicts a rise in multi-style cans like the one Sun King uses. I agree, but it bums me out, since it by definition means fewer designs, and we know how much I love can design.

  • In one of those few good IP stories, my local Weyerbacher acted reasonably and graciously while still protecting their own IP. A Colorado brewery wanted to open under the name Verboten. Weyerbacher makes a beer called Verboten. The brewery called Weyerbacher and asked if it would be cool. They drew up papers for a license. See? No lawyer bills (except for the agreement, I guess), no fighting, no animosity... Everybody feel happy.
  • Some idiot Website that I will not link because I don't want to help them made a bad list of the 20 most influential beers of all time, which was mostly American and typically short-sighted. Then the brilliant Martyn Cornell made the real list, which you should go and read. His can be debated for being predictably Anglocentric (8 of his 20 come from the UK), but not dismissed or really criticized.
  • Brooklyn is building a brewery in Europe with Carlsberg. One newspaper called this "winning the race," which prompted Stone Brewing to respond that if opening a brewery with a mega-macrobrewer was the race, they had no interest in winning. BURN.
  • Budweiser's very interesting and confusing Project 12 has reached its logical conclusion, which is an extremely uninteresting effort called Budweiser Black Crown. It was the least tasty of the beers, has terribly soulless design and branding, and will launch with a Super Bowl commercial. Only Anheuser-Busch-InBev could get there from a weird, crowdsourced attempt at broadening horizons.
Just in case you forgot it was Budweiser.
  • One thing that takes less time and brain power than writing is pinning, so if you haven't seen my Pinterest page, it may feed your need for beer art.
What's that about art? You'd like to see some. Okay, here's some stuff from Intuition Ale Works, which might be the only thing going for Jacksonville, FL.

They do a nice woodcut style, with big sheets of color on neutral backgrounds. And they use cans, so we know I'm excited.

Intuition Ale Works Jon Boat Coastal Ale label
 The Jon Boat does a nice job with a limited color palette, using the gray of the aluminum as a neutral backdrop and two shades of blue. Great text work both in the fish and in the text field on the right.

Intuition Ale Works West Coast IPA label
The West Coast IPA does the same text-in-color thing, with an old car.

Intuition Ale Works Peoples Pale Ale label

The People's Pale Ale plays a bit of a variation, making the third color a darker gray rather than a darker red. But we see the same composition, the same use of text carved out of the main element, and the same discipline with coloration.

Then, in bottles, they've released a beer fitting to honor on this week when we've finally seen a giant squid.

So I am fairly certain this is a straight-up geektastic reference to the Forgotten Realms series, written most notably by the awesome Bob Salvatore. There's a whole area under the earth where there are creatures like Drow elves and deep gnomes and the octopus-headed Illithids (who occasionally play golf), which I believe are referenced here. If I am correct, cheers to Intuition for going full-bore nerd. That is some deep cutting. Also, I like how they turned the color palette thing upside down here, keeping it very limited but dark. Same branding, different look.

Okay, more later from Texas. I leave you with an artist's rendering of an Illithid (aka mind flayer):
The golf thing was a joke. They're pretty evil.


  1. Great catch-up post. Congrats on finding some Live Oak. If you haven't already, you may find Real Ale brewery putting out some decent beers as well (one that's not so session-y if the mood calls for it is Sisyphus). Enjoy the travels

  2. Sigh. Thanks for the back-handed compliment to Jacksonville, FL. I realize it's no Austin, Denver, or Chico, but we've got a beautiful ocean, a lovely river, and a lot of nice people that are tired of being damned with faint praise.

    As if the Jaguars weren't enough of a punishment.

    (Disclosure: I lived in Jacksonville for ten years and was only lured away by a hot man who convinced me to marry him and join him in even-more-beautiful north central Florida. I still miss the beach.)