Beer labels as art

Molly Hatchet

Beer labels have become what album cover used to be, works of art. If you don’t know what an album is, Google it. Growing up, one of the most memorable albums covers was the cover of Molly Hatchet’s self-titled album. In the excellent looking cover, you’ve got a dark Viking-looking dude atop a black stead. The man is carrying a large shield and an even more enormous bloody ax. You can’t see his face, but he has red eyes. In the background is smoke and fire, and what appears to be a vulture or eagle, I’m not sure. Either way, this image captivated me as a kid. Molly Hatchet continued to have great art on their other album covers. Beer labels today are starting to compete with old school record labels. Below are my top five beer labels.

5. Delirium Tremens

bottle of Delirum Tremens featuring a pink elephant
Delirum Tremens

I still remember the first time I saw Delirium Tremens in a beer store. It was unlike anything else I’d seen to that point. Most of the beer I saw had bland labels on traditional brown glass bottles. This beer was different. For one, it had a bright blue label with a pink elephant standing out above the rest. It was also in a light-colored stone-style bottle. The labeling worked because I bought it.

4. Dead Guy Ale

cans of Dead Guy Ale
Rogue Dead Guy Ale

The original Dead Guy Ale is one of my all-time favorite beers and favorite beer labels. Dead Guy Ale by Rogue has an excellently simple label with a black background and a white skeleton. The skeleton is sitting with his arms crossed, carrying a pint of beer in his left hand. He (or she, you can’t tell, it’s a skeleton) is also wearing some hat. I have no idea what sort of hat it is, but it looks cool. Spending a lot of time in pirate territory in Coastal Carolina, I have an affinity for skulls and skeletons. I like this label so much this might end up being one of my next tattoos. It wouldn’t be the first beer label I got as a tattoo. If anyone can guess what beer I had tattooed first, you get a free case of beer on me.

3. Raging Bitch

Flying Dog Raging Bitch beer lable
Raging Bitch by Ralph Steadman

Like Rogue above, I wanted to cheat and say all Flying Dog logos, but I decided to choose Raging Bitch. If you recognize the art, you are not alone. It is none other than Ralph Steadman is best known for his collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson. If you don’t know either one of them, maybe you’ve heard of the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. If not, you have a lot of research to do, perhaps after buying some Flying Dog!

2. Pistil

Pistil by Magic Hat

Magic Hat is yet another brewery with amazing beer labels across the lineup. If I had to choose one, it would be Pistil. The Pistil beer label has a very groovy look to it and makes you feel like you’re in the ’70s. It’s almost like Dr. Seus did the artwork for Superfly.

1. AK Genesis Warrior

This choice was hard. Some of the above labels have been my favorite beer labels for years. Adroit Theory has an excellent artist they use, and their beer labels come closest to matching the feel of those Molly Hatchet albums. The beer label I chose is AK Genesis Warrior Edition because it combines some of my favorite things, beer, and Egypt. The art is incredible, and it looks comic-book quality in the best possible way. So there you have it, those are my top-five beer labels. I encourage you to comment on your own and then very least try the above beers if you want to see more beer labels check out our beer sections.

Posted by:Tyler

Black Dog Beer Shop is a craft beer store in Northern Virginia (NOVA). We focus on delivering the best local craft beers to walkable communities.

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