A Good Beer Blog

Notes on Design

1. Sunday, 24 October, SG to AML:
Al, I took a bit of time this weekend to try to draw up something that looked like a ye-olde beer-label. I didn't quite succeed, but what I came up with might still be good enough to use (don't feel obligated though). Let me know what you think of this: http://actsofvolition.com/images/beerblog-test.png (also attached to this email). If you like it, rather than just sticking it on the top of the site, I'd like to change the design of the site a bit so that it fits in nicely. Let me know, Steven Garrity
The image Steve sent:

2. Monday 25 October 2004, me to Steve:
That is very good. The colours are spot on and it looks right...but the imagery is German and lager and a little bit Coors. You have to be something of a beer nerd to get that and I am quite mortified even to be writing this, you having done this as a gift, but I think you would want to know why.

I would think the best theme would be more English village or even early industrial England. The days of canals - yes. Most of what I write about are big ales. Lagers arose in the German Alps when brewers around 1500 realized they could store (German for “to store” is “lager”) in mountain caves. It became known as “marzen” (German for “March”) and would be sold in October. Lagers were only popular after 1840 when Carlsberg cloned a yeast that could ferment at 5 degrees Celsuis. From that came refrigeration of beer and from that "Bud Draft Dry Ice Lite" or "the death of flavour". Hence the Busch ads “head for the mountains” bragging that the beer tastes like mountain springs – like water.

Consider these images:

  • Here is a search on Google images for Thomas Hardy Ale: site
  • Here is a small photo of an actual tavern by a canal probably one hundred years ago: site
  • Here is a search on Google images for "railway ale": site. The children’s characters on Thomas the Tank Engine are not unrelated to the life of tavern and ale.
  • One of the more interesting images associated with traditional ale is the medieval figure of the Green Man, which is carved into churches and represents the vegetative world and a northern European Dionysian outlook, something ale which would have – as it is made of grain, hop (a bitter weed of hedgerows) and wild yeast from the woods and orchards: site In terms of brewing, the Green Man manifests in the hops.
Again, your idea to redesign and reconfigure is most welcome and if there were time and money it would be best to walk you though great taverns, get you awash with bitters and stouts, essentially ruin you to make you whole. Consider these five historic pubs on London as recorded in the CAMRA website: site

As you know, I have all the time in the world to share about ale so do not let me take up too much of your time.

A filigree of hopvine perchance?


3. Later Monday SG to me:

I was sure when designing to make sure I could swap out the mountain photo easily for something else. Although, for the record, those mountains are Austrian - hardly Coors ;-). This photo of the tavern might work well.

I'll try it and let you know,

Steven Garrity

4. Later again to SG from me:

Would that be Adolph Coors? They have been stuck with an unfortunate ... shall we say ... mid-20th century, central European thing.

If you do that swap and make the font more William Morris than Kaiser Wilhelm, Arts and Crafts like the Mackintosh style at Horton Brasses that would be very cool, very on point.


5. SG to me:

I'm down to these two attached images as label/logo candidates. You don't have a higher quality version of that Brimington Canal Tavern photo, do you?


6. Me to SG:
No - that was just ripped from the web. If you go sepia with it in your mountain oval I would think that would be fine.


7. SG to me later in the evening:
New design is up - still has be Coors mountains - couldn't do better yet - hopefully it won't humiliate you in the world of beer connoisseurs.


8. Me the next morning to SG:
It is fabulous. And it reminds me of marsen, hefe-weizen and pilsner urquel - wonderful Alpen-ish brews all. I have been un-mountainly and you have made me better. It is quite lovely. Thanks. The auto magical photo borders are snazzy, too.
...and look! Even Melvin likes it!