Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Beer # 593 (or "The Unwritten Rule Of Beer Packaging Aesthetics")

There's an unproven connection between the quality of beer and the quality of the packaging, but I'm willing to say the two correlate more often than not, for better or worse.  If a brewer is serious about the high quality of their beer, they're usually serious about creating labels and logos that are equally as aesthetically appealing to those who are in tune with such things.  It's not always true, of course.  I've had plenty of mediocre beers come in cool looking bottles, but I chalk that up to simple chicanery (and yes, I'm excited to finally use the word "chicanery").  But I think true "taste" carries across many different aspects of a chosen business.
There is an untold number of times I've sat at the counter of a local brewery, looked at their lame logo written in a lame outdated font, and tasted their beers only to find them equally as pointless.  If you're clueless about the appeal of your graphics, I think you're equally clueless about the quality of what your customers are drinking.  The point being, I believe the definition of "taste" applies across the board, equally to the visual & tactile sensory experiences as well as the palate.

Case in point, RUHSTALLER FOUNDER'S BLEND v.1 - Beer #593 in my Big Year.  I wasn't aware of this Sacramento based brewery until earlier this year.  They were originally founded in the California Gold Rush era, and were the largest brewer West of the Mississippi way back when.  Eventually, Prohibition wiped them out, and not until 2012 was the brewery resurrected to pay homage to its founder Captain Ruhstaller.
But I didn't know any of the history behind the brewery until recently.  The only reason I picked up my first bottle of Ruhstaller beer was the packaging.  I gravitated towards the simple, but appealing logo; it's printed on the glass like an old bottle of port, and still looks a bit hipsterish, while still maintaining some old school integrity.  And I really dig the small patch of thick, burlap canvas attached to the top of each bottle.  They went the extra mile to make the bottle not only look, but feel appealing, so I was willing to bet they took as much care in creating a good beer.  And I was right.
Earlier in the summer, I picked up the Capt. California Black IPA and the Gilt Edge California Golden Lager.  Both were damn good, and well worth the chance I took on an unknown beer.  And now, the Founders Blend v.1 again solidifies my impressions of this brewery.  This is a blend of their Capt. Black IPA and 1881 Red Ale.  Dark, hoppy, malty, balanced... hell, not a blend I would expect, but it's just flat out, freakin' delicious.  This brew was produced on a limited run, so don't pass it up if you can find it in the local bottle shop, because it won't be there next time.  I'm glad that simple strip of burlap caught my eye.

There's something about this beer & this band that go hand in hand.  I picture a crusty old sea captain, barking orders at me during a squall on the open sea. As I batten down the hatches, I reach inside my pea coat for a last sip off the ol' Founders Blend, then I bust into a raspy-throated, a cappella rendition of "Cross-Eyed Mary" as we weather the impending storm.  Yarrr Matey!

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