There is a fact flying around the internet at the moment which states that craft beer makes up 4% of the current US beer market. Now that sounds pretty low to us, but if we were sitting at, say for instance, around 0.5% sales a couple of years ago then things are going in the right direction. One of the driving factors in its rise in popularity is the people behind the companies, gypsy-style brewing, and the meticulous design and nuances each brewery holds. Some of the cans are just too good to chuck away.
Magic Rock Brewery has been making a lot of noise on the British beer scene over the past 18 months. Their playful army of artwork is certainly backed up by a full range of unique, memorable beers, which is surprising since Yorkshire and words like “vibrant,” “unique,” and “colorful” are rarely seen in the same sentence. For artwork, our top pick is their Grapefruit Highwire.
Beaverton’s wacky, punchy, B-movie-inspired artwork certainly made people take notice of what they were doing. This slightly irreverent way of thinking set the ball rolling for many burgeoning beer enthusiast to start brewing their own. Colorful, humorous and certain to stand out on the supermarket self. If it catches your eye then it’s done its job.
We know little about this Scottish brewery, other than it being a one-man show by Glasgow-based Jake Griffin. Each batch is brewed in rented space at local breweries, and all the slight surreal artwork is done by the brewer himself. Ishmael is crisp, subtly sweet IPA.
The lads from Venice, CA did a good thing. They saw a gap in the market for an American-brewed premium lager and were smart enough not to pigeonhole themselves as a craft beer specialist. The end result is a deliciously simple light larger, with a clean and timeless logo.
Brewdog is a big name in beer these days, we all know that. But if it wasn’t for a couple of the special edition concoctions they probably wouldn’t make this list, due to their matter-of-fact can designs. However, the curiously named Albino Squid Assassin has shown its face. We’re assuming this recipe came after the actual artwork was designed, unless we’re missing a really obvious link to this deliciously malty red rye IPA.
Any number of Mikkeller’s beers could legitimately appear on our “Best in Show” list. The brewery really finds it hard to put out any bad designs. Each beer has certified coolness; brash, a little surreal, irreverent and always far from dull. But which beer do we choose? The mighty strong American Pale Ale: Better Half, complete with 50/50 illustration.
Noble Rey know fun when they see it. They also know how to design kickass illustrations for each beer on their roster. Each comes complete with almost as curious a name as the brewery. Take the signature American Brown Ale, named after B.A Baracus, or their Sex in a Canoe light lager. We have little clue to how these monikers match up to the actual taste of the beers but we do know we’re destined to collect the whole set.
Hell or High Watermelon, Sneak Attack, Hop Crisis, Toaster Pastry… these guys sure know how to name a craft beer. 21st Amendment brewery has been a certified Cool Material favorite for a while now, and that’s partly due to the sweet looking illustrations. As we’re currently riding a summer high, we’re all about their Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer. What’s more, it’s got a pensively content looking Lady Liberty on the front.
To commemorate the opening of Tate Modern’s new Switch House building in London, the gallery hooked up with British design legend Peter Saville to create a limited edition Pale Ale. The unique design of the can was created to reflect the industrial aesthetic of Switch Houses’ purpose-built gallery space and Peter Saville’s graphic design background. These brews are going to be hard to come by, so if you do get your hands on one, the last thing you’ll want to do is send it for recycling.
You can tell a lot about a brewery from what they slap on the front of their cans: wrestling-loving bears, pimped out golf carts and eye-patch wearing bright red unicorns certainly set the scene. We’re a little unsure what that scene actually is but everything 11 Below Brewing is creating is definitely memorable. The company was set up by a group of old oil hands who became bored of the same-old-same-old, and decided to make a selection of easy-to-drink, flavorful beers. The resulting collection of brews look far too nice to be tossed in the garbage.
These humble cans by Pawtucket’s Foolproof Brewing may not have that instant wow factor of some of its other, more colorful brothers, but there’s just something about their low-fi designs that work so well. Let the brewery’s “not too malty, not too hoppy” Barstool American Golden Ale be a lesson to us all – he who shouts loudest isn’t always the most knowledgeable.
The description of this classic pale ale is, “as complex as it is casual.” Confusing, sure, but we’re always up for a challenge when it comes to drinking beer. William Street Beer Co have a weirdly contradictory way with illustrations; light-hearted, vibrant, but somehow keeping things quite regal and traditional. Clean, colorful, and distinct – that’s Cliff Top American Pale Ale.
Bewgooder’s Clean Water Larger is too good to chuck away for a couple of reasons. In early 2016, these guys set out to to provide clean water to 1 million people by donating 100% of their profits to charity. Sell beer, give water. It’s that simple. The strong message is accompanied by a kick ass orange and pale blue illustrated can, and a refreshing, zesty finish.
Another Glasgow-based brewery we’re currently loving is Drygate. These lads have recently begun experimenting with cans, and with this comes a whole new range of beers. Currently these tasty treats are quite hard to get hold off, but believe us, it will be worth the wait. Our early favorite is Disco Fork Lift Truck – a 5.0% mango-infused pale ale. Plus, it’s the only chance you’ll get to see disco dancing Martians in tube socks in 2016.