Who hasn't heard the age old sayings, "it's on the inside that counts," or, "beauty is only skin deep." These are ideals we're taught as tots so that we look beyond the surface of both people and things that we come across in our daily lives.
When it's comes to purchasing any kind of beer, wine or booze the first thing we see before the style, appellation or length of aging is the package design. We all want to think we're smarter than being drawn in by a label but it happens, especially as a novice beverage consumer or sometimes just to get your equine loving friend a bottle of merlot with a stable in the foreground.
When I look at a beer menu in a bar or restaurant or scanning the shelves of a bottle shop I'm usually looking for a particular beer, brewery or even a style like when I'm craving a velvety, monster of an imperial stout. That being said even as a slightly more knowledgeable consumer my eyes are often drawn to great label art, a perfect example was when I first saw Against the Grain's beer on the shelves. I didn't know anything about the brewery or their beers but I figured why not try an IPA named Citra Ass Down with some damn cool art on the can which eventually turned out to be a damn good brew.
I'm writing this to showcase the can art from the recent Double IPA releases from Grimm Artisanal Ales, a is nomadic brewery, meaning they lease out brewing equipment from other larger breweries but are based in Brooklyn. For a long time Grimm's hop-centric beers were only offered on draft to ensure consumers were getting these beers fresh and not after spending an extended sojourn at the back of a bottle shops shelf.
Grimm recently got some well deserved notoriety for their double IPAs and shortly thereafter started to can these delicious concoctions. As stated at the beginning of this post, beauty is only skin deep and any one, even those who don't like IPAs or even drink much beer will turn their heads after giving them a taste. When the first, After Image, was released and I saw that my local bottle shop had them in stock and got up in the middle of eating dinner with my girlfriend and literally ran there to get my hands on the last can. While I was most interested in drinking the fresh beer I couldn't help but admire and continue to appreciate the art on the label. It was sleek and simple but also colorful and engaging all at the same time.
To date they have released four of their IPAs in cans and in each one the art seemed to get better and although the Cloudbusting was a bit more cluttered than the others it is was still handsome as hell. Pulse Wave was a simple stated can design that if, and that's a big if, the cans didn't fly off the shelves in just a few hours at every bottle shop in the city they would surely be purchased by an unknowing buyer just looking for something cool looking to pull out of their fridge. I would make an argument for the Tesseract's art to be the best of the bunch. Both the front and backside will make you a bit cross-eyed but just a good reason to adjust your focus back to it's dank hoppiness instead of the can.
Grimm's DIPAs are as delicious as the can art is sexy but do yourself a favor and try anything you see from them. The imperial stout is fantastic and the sours I've tried are both complex and approachable for those who haven't yet jumped on the wild ale bandwagon. I recently made the mistake of only ordering a flight sized pour of the dry-hopped Echoplex instead of a full pitcher, or at least trying to see if that was a possibility. Hopefully more posts about can art to come and even more hopeful for a version two from Grimm as more are released.