Friday, October 2, 2015

Design Trends in Beer: Line Craft

Over the past year we've seen a pretty significant showing in the design and branding world of a technique described as mono-line or line craft. It is defined by a consistent pen stroke throughout the illustration or logo. This style, which has been a popular way of illustrating infographics is making a strong appearance in craft beer, cider and kombucha graphics.

What does it communicate?
When diving deeper into what attracts craft brands to this particular visual aesthetic, we found the following words used to describe their brands: Precision, care, pride, craftsmanship, passion, commitment to quality, balance, consistency

Fleeting or enduring?
This style has quite a bit of range in how it is executed, from very technical and pragmatic to hand-drawn and expressive. With an ability to communicate many things – and provide significant clarity and readability at shelf – we think line craft has some longevity in the category.

Below is a collage of examples we found particularly interesting. Have thoughts, drop us a line!

Baderbrau's October Brunch & Brews

Baderbrau Brewing Company is excited to team up with Tapworks Tavern & Grill this month for a special “Brunch & Brews.” Every Saturday and Sunday from during the month of October, select Baderbrau signature and seasonal beers will be paired with exclusive brunch dishes from the Tapworks team. 

Baderbrau Oktoberfest + Corn Beef Hash – $15.95
beer-braised corned beer, tater tot hash, caramelized onions, peppers, fried egg, choice of toast

Baderbrau Chicago Pilsner + Sunny Side Up Burger – $15.95
fried egg, crispy pork belly, swiss, caramelized onion, fries

Baderbrau Lawnmower Lager + Fried Egg Sandwich – $11.95
fried egg, bacon, cheddar, sriracha aioli, tomato, multi-grain bread, fries

About Baderbräu Brewing Company
Revitalized in 2012, Baderbräu Brewing Company is known for its Chicago Pilsener, as well as seasonal varietals like Lawnmower Lager, Naked Selfie, Oktoberfest, and Red Velvet. Founded by longtime home brewer Rob Sama, Baderbräu Brewing Company continues to evolve and expand its name in the Chicagoland area.  Baderbräu Brewing Company's headquarters is a 25,000 square-foot brewery located in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood that will open in late 2015.  Recent and notable awards include: Chicagoist’s “Beer of the Week” for Naked Selfie and Lawnmower Lager, as well as the winner for “People’s Choice Award” at Lisle Ale Fest.  For more information please visit 

About Tapworks Tavern & Grill
Tapworks, located in the bustling West Loop, was introduced in February 2015 by Tavern Collective. The beer-infused menu consists of sandwiches, burgers, starters, large plates, house-smoked BBQ and more. The beverage program features a unique lineup of 100 local craft beers, wine on tap, craft cocktails and flights of high-end whiskies and tequilas. Tapworks’ design features a loft-like ambiance with exposed timber beams, exposed brick and duct work and subway title.

Tapworks Tavern & Grill is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late-night dining, as well as for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Tapworks is open Monday through Friday from and on Saturday and Sunday from Reservations aren’t required, but may be made by calling 312.682.5898. For directions, menus and more, please visit Tapworks Tavern & Grill at

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Best of Belgian Fest 2015

By guest contributor MC Johnsen

On Sunday, September 13th, Goose Island Clybourn played host to 19 breweries and a crowd of beer-loving fest-goers at Belgian Fest 2015

The markedly casual fest was held in four connecting rooms of the Clybourn pub, creating a mini treasure hunt of beer upon which I was happy to embark. The lobby welcoming committee included crowd favorite Transient Artisan Ales, Middle Brow Brewing, and offerings from homebrewers from C.H.A.O.S. Brew Club. Up the steps and to the right awaited a handful of local taps (Revolution, Ten Ninety, Atlas, Moody Tongue, and Haymarket) plus DeSthil and Side Project Brewing’s booths. If you headed left off of the lobby, Goose Island Clybourn’s taps greeted you at the bottom of the stairway at the room’s end. Up the stairs from there were another handful of handles, including Goose Island Brewing Co.’s “ladies” – beers with female names and Belgian flair, that is – plus Perennial, Flossmoor Station, and others. 

In addition to the casual feel, this event was also uniquely small, affording everyone the opportunity to try each beer at the fest. The event’s uncrowded, relaxed atmosphere allowed attendees the chance to actually hold conversations with brewers or brewery reps without feeling like they were holding up the line behind them. In fact, lines only existed in front of the Transient Artisan Ales booth, where brewer Chris Betts uncapped special offerings every hour from bottles that he’d brought in addition to his kegged choices. After having personally attending quite a few fests with thousands of drinkers and lines galore, this was a refreshing change!

Brewers served up a lot of liquid creativity. I counted many uncommonly used herbs and ingredients (amaranth, matcha tea, elderberries, lavender, Indian plum sugar, and pink peppercorns, to name a few), and a variety of blending, barrel-aging and souring techniques. Purely traditional Belgian beers were few and far between; the American spirit of individuality was alive and flowing at this “Belgian” fest. 

Standouts included: 

Thicket, Side Project 
This deliciously juicy wine-barrel-aged Missouri Wild Ale with blackberries drank more like a wine than a beer with a sticky berry juiciness, and significantly tart finish. (6%)

Oktoberfunk, Transient Artisan Ales
This totally unique twist on a traditionally malty, sweet, and bready beverage drank as expected at first, but finished with a tart twist and a hint of sweet vinegar. Described as a Bier de Garde (means “Beer for Keeping”)

Saison du South Loop, South Loop Brewing 
This saison was brewed with lavender, and hopped with Nelson Sauvin. Herbal, crisp, clean, and earthy, the hops and lavender blended together in an enjoyably effervescent way. (5.9%)

Savant Beersel, Perennial Artisan Ales
This puckeringly tart Belgian Pale Ale was fermented with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis in Chambourcin Wine Barrels with Chambourcin Grapes for eight months. Cloudy red with a tannic raspberry taste to match. (8%)

Plum Blonde, Goose Island Clybourn
This plum-infused Belgian Blonde ale had a juicy, bright personality and a quenching finish. Aged in wine barrels with Brettanomyces Claussenii, this tart and tasty beverage had me back for seconds. (6%)

MC Johnsen is a professional graphic designer and illustrator based in Chicago, IL. She is also the artist and author behind beer blog Worth a Thousand Beers. In her spare time MC enjoys homebrewing, taking on DIY projects, CrossFit, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. Her favorite coffee beverage is an Americano, and she shares a home with her husband Matt and their dog Dallas in Lombard, IL. You can find her on Twitter @worth1000beers

Friday, September 11, 2015

Maßkrugs in Milwaukee

By Guest Contributor Eric Zeigler

As the first day of September clicks off on the calendar, I begin to get very excited for my favorite time of the year — Fall, and Oktoberfest! Let’s put it this way, being almost entirely of German descent and a lover of all things Teutonic, Oktoberfest to me is like St. Patty’s Day is to someone named Patrick O’Malley. I own lederhosen and I love drinking beer in them. After several years of attending various Midwest Oktoberfest destinations (and having celebrated the actual Wiesn in Munich), I humbly consider myself a good judge of the “authenticity” of the fests available.

Chicago has no shortage of street festivals, but when it comes to celebrating Oktoberfest, they make a half-hearted attempt. All in all, most people are drinking from a plastic “stein” and eating bratwursts from the local grocery. Granted, the Germanic populace isn’t as influential as the Irish and Italian communities in the city, but wearing green felt hunter’s hats and drinking Beck’s does not an Oktoberfest make. So, in an effort to expand your horizons and appeal to the European sense of adventure — you need to go to Wisconsin.

With 42% of the state of Wisconsin of Germanic descent, they take Oktoberfest very seriously. And Milwaukee is the city you want to visit, with two festivals standing head and shoulders above the rest.

The first stop should be "Oktoberfest Milwaukee" (9/11-10/3) at Old Heidelberg Park in Glendale, Wisconsin. This suburb of Milwaukee hosts the oldest and most authentic Oktoberfest outside of Munich itself. Wearing the traditional lederhosen and dirdls at this festival is like someone putting on jeans and a T-shirt to go to a regular bar. Everything from the Oktoberfest beer (Spaten, Hofbrau, Paulaner and Franziskaner) to the food (Spanferkl, Rollbraten and Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)), to the polka music and traditional Schuhplatter folk dancing puts a smile on your face and a general feeling of Gemütlichkeit (geniality and friendliness). Meanwhile, you can try your hand at various smaller carnival-like games or enjoy a large Bavarian pretzel or bag of hot, roasted candied nuts. It is truly an epic experience.

You may also want to try downtown Milwaukee’s "MKE Oktoberfest" celebration (10/1-4). Situated in the beautiful Pere Marquette Park across from the Hofbrau-franchised Old German Beer Hall (one of the sponsors), this equally exuberant festival is initiated by none other than the Mayor of Milwaukee, tapping the first wooden keg to get things rolling. This harkens back to the same tradition in Germany of the Mayor of Munich tapping the first keg. At any festival in Wisconsin patrons are even encouraged to bring their own Maßkrug steins to be filled with the glorious beers produced by Hofbrau. Later, if one is so emboldened, you can try your hand at Maßkrugstemmen (beer stein holding). See how long you can hold a 1-liter glass stein full of beer (about 6 pounds) straight in front of you. Think you can beat the world record of 19 minutes? You’ll be lucky to get to one. At any point, you can retreat from the tent’s festivities by walking around the gorgeous park scenery right on the river.

I may be slightly biased, but will hazard to guess if you take my advice and venture to Milwaukee for Oktoberfest and try one of these Fests, you will not be disappointed. They truly are an experience straight out of Munich.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Guide to Glassware Series: The Stein

In continuation with our "Guide to Glassware" guest blog series with Lakeshore Beverage, we focus this month on the icon stein. Click on the link to read the full article, which highlight's the steins 5 century history, as well as the sensorial benefits of its various designs.

The full beer glass guide infographic:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Design Deconstruction: Deschutes Brewery's Rebranding

Over the past few months Deschutes Brewery has been subtly hinting at new label graphics on social media. They're finally excited to announce that NEW packaging is hitting the shelves as we speak! All of the brewery’s bottles, cartons, and tap handles will be sporting the new, updated look which was designed to better reflect the quality of the beer inside, as well as increase shelf presence and display impact. The presence of the Deschutes Brewery branding is also more prominent to help pull together a family of brands that has evolved over the past 27 years.

The design change was spurred in part to help improve brand awareness and better stand out in an increasingly crowded category. Each brand has its own unique color palette and custom typeface, with the Deschutes logo (and neck label on bottles) in black for the mainline and seasonal brands, and red for the Bond Street Series. The classic illustrations associated with each brand have been retained and refined in the new design to further highlight each beer’s individuality.

“As the craft beer segment continues to grow, and we continue to expand, it’s critical that we stand out on the shelf and reinforce our brand. We’ve incorporated many key elements in the new design that should help us achieve this goal. We are excited to hear what our fans think about the new look!” - Jeff Billingsley, Director of Marketing

The round holding shape and reversed type creates more impact from a distance and is easily adaptable for multiple applications. The mountain illustration was updated to emphasize the hand drawn qualities.

Watercolor-style illustrations were maintained with some warmth added to the color palette and break out of the oval shape to cover more label area. Beer names are easier to read on a straight baseline and have beer specific personality. Consistent placement of the Deschutes branding creates visual blocking and product awareness at shelf level.

In an effort to increase brand awareness around the country, Deschutes created an "outdoor pub of epic proportions." Their custom 400 sq.ft. portable "Street Pub" is on a 7 city tour over 7 months, with 100% of proceeds from pint sales go directly to each city's Boys and Girls Club. 

In addition to the new logo and graphics, they have also launched a beautiful new website, so get on over there and check it out!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sierra Nevada Launches Oktoberfest Video Game

Sierra Nevada Brewing released a secret throwback game on their website to promote the release of their new Oktoberfest beer, which is a collaboration with German brewery Brauhaus Riegele from Augsburg. Much like the father-son leadership of Ken and Brian Grossman at Sierra Nevada, Riegele is also owned by father-son team Dr. Sebastian and Sebastian (Jr.) Priller-Riegele.

The game’s goal: help Kenny the Braumeister collect water, hops, barley and yeast so he can brew enough Oktoberfest beer to go around.

There are two ways to unlock the game:

1) Click around the top navigation area until Kenny appears – then click on Kenny and get to brewing.

2) In the website footer, find the yellow ribbon that says “Locate Beers.” Type in"Prost" and hit enter.Using the keyboard arrows, help Kenny collect all of the ingredients to make his beer. In the spirit of friendly competition, players can share their final score on Facebook and Twitter.

The collaborative seasonal release is available in 6-packs and 16oz draft Nationwide.

About Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. 
Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s premier craft breweries, highly regarded for using only the finest quality ingredients. The pioneering spirit that launched Sierra Nevada now spans both coasts with breweries in Chico, California and Mills River, North Carolina. Sierra Nevada has set the standard for craft brewers worldwide with innovations in the brewhouse as well as advances in sustainability. It is famous for its extensive line of beers including Pale Ale, Torpedo®, Hop Hunter® IPA, Nooner® Pilsner, Porter, Stout, Kellerweis® and a host of seasonal, specialty and limited release beers. Learn more at

About Brauhaus Riegele 
Founded in 1386, Brauhaus Riegele is acknowledged as one of Germanys leading breweries in respect to quality and beer culture. It is located in Augsburg in the heart of Bavaria, where roughly 30 different kinds of craft beers are brewed, among them “Commerzienrat Riegele Privat,” Germany’s beer of the decade. Learn more at