We love beer. We also love design. So we went on a mission to find the beers with the best design, and determine whether or not they quality holds up to the label. For our second round? Our friend Sam, person of fine taste, selected his favorites to put to the test.
Sam summed up the purpose of the exercise profoundly: Your experience with a beer is not like what we just had with a blind tasting, your experience involves the packaging and how it looks and how the beer itself looks and your knowledge of the brewery of the place you’re in when you’re drinking it.
The rest of the night was slightly less profound, but rather than condensing it we thought we’d share the conversations as they were.
Nomad (blind taste test number 3):
EN, EG, OS: That’s my favorite.
EN: I love the colors and the car.
OS: I love the typography, it feels very vintage.
EG: I love the typography.
SB: It does a good job of helping me understand what the flavor of the beer is going to be just by looking at the packaging
EN: How? because it’s yellow?!
SB: It’s like for drinking in hot weather.
EG: It looks like the beach boys.
OS: Except that it’s nordic and nordic I do not associate with beach.
SB: I associate that car with the beach.
EG: Yeah that car is beachy.
OS: I get the color, but It looks more like a limo to me.
EN: Yeah you’d never strap your surfboard to the top of that car
JB: It makes me think Las Vegas, like ‘50s sleazy. I like it but I didn’t vote for it as my favorite because I hate the superscript, and I don’t like the placement of the brewery name with the beer right under it, that looks off balance.
OS: I really like the type
SB: The style is like a berliner wiesse, but it’s a pun because it’s nomader weisse — I think that’s why it’s a super script.
JB: The label looks very approachable and kind of nursery to me, way more than the beer tastes.
Westbrook (blind taste test number 4):
JB: This was my favorite and the other Westbrook was my least favorite last time. I really like the gold and the black and how it looks kind of like a mess.
EN: “Gose” looks biblical.
JB: Or compton.
EG: I really like it but I don’t want my beer to look that crazy. It looks like it’s going to give me a headache.
SB: I think it’s a really challenging beer to drink and I think that the artwork makes it look that way. I think these are supposed to be salt. Gose is really salty, and these things look like salt and also an atomic explosion.
EG: it’s nice but it kind of looks like bad tapestry art to me.
JB: I like the gold the white and the black. There’s another beer that does orange black and white that’s similar but not this good. Sixpoint crisp lager?
Apex (blind taste test number 1):
EG: This little mouse is so cute. It really pushed it for me.
OS: Oh and it’s silver!
JB: I am not usually a fan of hand illustration on a beer. It’s not really whimsical, it doesn’t really give a fuck.
OS: It feels genuine, not like it’s trying too hard.
EG: Also I love the font.
OS: This isn’t too “done.”
SB: This isn’t put through a hand-drawn filter.
EG: I like the all caps on APEX
EN: I also like that there’s a secret techniques section on the description
Moody (blind taste test number 2):
EG: Wow, so my favorite beer was my least favorite design.
EN: This looks like a hotel bar.
EG: Yes, I definitely have seen Moody written that way before.
OS: This is really interesting because this was a lot of our favorite beers but no one likes the design.
EG: I don’t like how mild the colors are.
JB: It’s such a blah label.
OS: It’s so sad.
EG: It’s terrible.
JB: And the tongue is so bad.
EN: Wait … is it bad for good designed label, or bad in general?
OS: Put it next to PBR and that’s bad. PBR is great looking, it’s iconic.
EG: I really don’t like the color scheme.
OS: It’s very submissive
EN: IT’S A TONGUE YOU GUYS.
JB: Yeah it’s a tongue but its recessive.
EG: I thought it was a bean.
OS: It’s so timid and so...
EG: I think it would do better as a can.
[we all agree]
EN: Well, it tastes really good.
[we taste it again]
SB: I feel like I’m drinking grandma’s perfume.
OS: I love that though.
SB: If that’s what you’re going for, that’s what you got.
EN: Moody tongue, what a terrible name.
OS: I think it’s generally unappealing.
EN: I’ll put it this way: it’s better looking than Bud Light Lime.
JB: 1 was least flavorful
EG: It was the least flavorful but most drinkable
SB: It hardly smells like anything to be except maybe a urinal cake
EN: There were way other beers that were way more urinal tasting, when I got number 3 [Nomad] even close to my face I thought THAT is like pee. I am about to drink some pee.
JB: You wish
SB: Pee is not that sour, I think you’re saying sour is pee.
EG: It’s hard to say because some of these are interesting to taste but I would not want to drink an entire beer.
OS: That is why this became my number 2 [Moody].
EN: Yes I thought I would drink that whole beer.
OS: I feel like I couldn’t sit and drink a whole sour beer and enjoy my way the whole through. I really enjoy drinking a few sips of it and would maybe enjoy a small size, but I could not drink a pint.
SB: 4 is a very straightforward clean sour. there’s very little going on there other than sour.
OS: I thought 3 [Nomad] was cleaner than 4 [Westbrook].
EG: I liked 3 [Nomad] more but I thought 4 [Westbrook] was more mild. I tasted it and I thought I was drinking apple cider vinegar.
EN: These were my comments: 4 [Westbrook] yuck! This is too sour and bitter! 3 [Nomad], this is like sweet vinegar, it smells acidic and makes you pucker and laugh.
JB: I liked that though.
OS: I liked 3 [Nomad].
SB: I really like 3 [Nomad].
EN: Yes me too, for a sip but I wouldn’t want to drink the whole thing.
JB: Yeah I think I’d get one pint of 3 [Nomad] or 4 [Westbrook] and then switch, but I wouldn’t switch to any of the other beers we tried because 1 was just so boring.
OS: I only thought it was boring in comparison.
JB: Yeah I might just be skewed.
EN: 1 felt like a relief
EG: I had 1 [Apex] first, I really liked it because it was nice.
EN: When I returned to 1 [Apex] I felt like THANK GOD THIS TASTES LIKE BEER.
EG: I really liked 2 [Moody] it was kind of woody.
JB: 2 [Moody] was like perfume.
EN: I loved 2 [Moody]!
OS: 2 [Moody] was my favorite.
EN: Yum! This is a sweet sour and peppery and bright.
OS: I said it tasted peppery, spicy, sweet, flowery, dish soap. I thought it was super floral.
SB: I think 2 [Moody] was very herbal and spicy.
JB: It’s SOAPY.
SB: It is.
OS: It’s very soapy.
JB: But it like tastes like soap, not like floral, just soap.
EN: I didn’t get a soapy taste.
OS: Oh it totally tastes like soap.
EG: I got a woody herbal thing
SB: Yeah, it smells like herbal tea.
OS: I really liked it, it was my favorite, but I really like floral fragrance.
EN: It’s kind of rosy.
OS: I don’t think it’s rosy, and I’ve eaten a lot of flowers. It’s good though. It’s like if arugula was a flower and tasted like a beer.
SB: I think 3 [Nomad] is awesome. It’’s not a beer I would drink a lot of but I think it’s puckery and challenging and funky.
EN: it’s definitely challenging and funky.
JB: I like the funk I wanna lick the funk.
SB: I think it’s awesome. It really stops you in your face.
EN: I felt like I got slapped, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it.
OS: I was trying to decide between putting 3 [Nomad] or 1 [Apex] as second.
EN: Me too but then I thought that I would never drink 3 [Nomad].*
EG: That’s what I did too.
OS: But I get really excited when I have sour beer because I never buy sour beer so its kind of a novelty.
EG: Well, that’s like when I bought a 6 pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade last week and had two sips and was like now I have a 6 pack of this to finish, that sucks.
JB: Yeah but you could drink a whole sour beer, false comparison.
SB: I can drink a lot more of any of these beers than Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
EN: I agree. Actually, I would prefer Mike’s Hard Lemonade over number 4 [Westbrook].
SB: Number 4 [Westbrook] was a rough beer, that one also wakes you up.
JB: That takes you for a ride.
EN: So dank.
EG: So lemony!
EN: It’s like the first juice in your juice cleanse.
SB: If it was hotter outside, I would like both of those sour beers more. They are like a really tart lemonade on a hot summer day.
OS: On a hot summer day I want beer that tastes like water.
SB: On a hot summer day I want a beer that’s like a shandy but just a beer.
OS: But this doesn’t take like beer mixed with lemonade, it tastes like beer mixed with lemon drops.
EN: Or Warheads.
EG: Yes it’s like warheads.
JB: That’s fun though.
EN: It’s fun in the way that you feel like you’re maybe going to die for a second.
SB: I think that’s kind of true for 4 [Westbrook]. This will give you the jim jams!
*EN: Number 3 [Nomad], number 3 [Nomad] is what I just gagged on! It tastes like beer that someone peed in! And then dropped a jolly rancher into!
OS: I don’t think pee is sour.
EN: It’s not the sourness, it’s the puckeryness. It’s the pungent acidicness. I’ve never tried pee, but I feel like it would make your mouth go … like persimmons. No?
EG: I see that.
OS: This is not what I feel like when I think of pee. When I think of pee I think of Bud Light.
JB: And like a fun time.
EN: No, Bud Light is like water.
EG: This is like if you’re a dehydrated person.
SB: It’s not healthy person pee.
EN: OK, we are just talking about a range of pee-like beers now. There is a spectrum of pee-like beer.
EG: This is like really yellow pee.
SB: I think this smells like yogurt.
OS: I get yogurt before pee.
EN: I think there’s a top note of yogurt but the rest is pee. It’s like if you didn’t drink water for three days and then you peed and then put some fresh yogurt on top and then mixed it up.
OS: It sounds like you don’t like it very much.
EN: I DONT LIKE IT AT ALL. I wrote YUCK. And I do like sour beer i just don’t like this. It does taste like pee.
EG: Secret: this was actually my pee.
JB: OMG I could drink a whole pint of this.