The Austin Chronicle

The Year in Food

The 2014 tastes we just couldn't stop thinking about

By Anna Toon, January 2, 2015, Food


1) JESTER KING/LIVE OAK KOLLABORATIONSBIER Featuring the uncanny likeness of Live Oak Brewing's Chip McElroy (albeit with very high, tight buns), this collaboration between Live Oak head brewer Dusan Kwiatkowski and Jester King illustrator Josh Cockrell playfully antagonizes while also offering a subtle criticism of the objectification of women in the mass marketing of beer.

2) 5 STONES ARTISAN BREWERY ALOHA PIÑA This whimsical, psychotropic label from artist Haley Householder aptly personifies the award-winning Aloha Piña brew with Día de los Muertos-meets-Raoul Duke imagery.

3) REAL ALE/SURLY/THREE FLOYDS BLAKKR IMPERIAL BLACK ALE The massively hopped BLAKKR Imperial Black Ale plays dark and fiendish. Fittingly, Michael Berglund's label evokes medieval alchemy with its three-headed chimera. Metalheads take note.

4) JESTER KING SNÖRKEL The aquatic Snörkel label reflects the beer's ingredients (Logro Farms oyster mushrooms and sea salt) while mining Wes Anderson's color palette and Futura font. As with all Jester King labels, "This is an adventure."

5) BLUE OWL BREWING SPIRIT ANIMAL Brewmaster Jeff Young's spirit animal, the owl, graces each of the sour-mash brewery's signature cans. Designed by Bitch Beer's Jessica Deahl, the label combines clean, eye-catching design with green, hop-like patterns ... and David Lynch.

6) INDEPENDENCE BREWING POWER & LIGHT Designed by Jose Canales, the Power & Light label's midcentury art deco style is mirrored in its typography and color scheme. Inspired by Austin's Seaholm Power Plant, the label is at once simple and iconic.

7) UNCLE BILLY'S BREWERY GREEN ROOM IPA The brainchild of the former Uncle Billy's brewmaster Michael Waters, the label reads as a Ziggy Stardust-influenced exercise in hop worship. Borderline obscene, the label somehow pulls off "hop juice," without eliciting a dry heave. As part of a rebranding effort, the label will soon be discontinued. Get it while it's glam.

8) ODDWOOD ALES SAISON Flannel shirts, beer, and beards were around long before the much maligned "lumbersexual." Designed by Thuy Pham and Sixto-Juan Zavala and inspired by paintings of Abraham Lincoln chopping wood, the working man featured on the picturesque label for the Oddwood Ales Saison is an ode to the saison style of beer, first brewed to quench the thirst of farmhands.

9) OASIS TEXAS BREWING SLOW RIDE Influenced by Dazed and Confused, the color and font of the Slow Ride label will take you back to muscle cars and 8-tracks. A subtle tire tread and small details abound for the keen eye, lending a classic Americana feel for a classic American pale ale.

10) HOPS & GRAIN PORTER CULTURE Like Slow Ride, the label for this Baltic porter has a specific Seventies feel. Bright purple, "de corous" and Foxy Brown-esque, Porter Culture is ready for the disco.

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