At long last (it’s nearly March), the votes are in! Over 1800 of you rendered your opinions and made all of our contest dreams come true. Below you will find the Top Ten Beer Labels of 2020 from our curated list of 169 beauties and voted on by you, our lovely readers.
The Best Beer Labels of 2020 earn our prestigious ARTBREW award. What’s ARTBREW? Why it’s only our Award of Respect from Thirsty Bastards Recognizing Excellence in Workership!
In case you were asking yourself, “Do we get to see charts?”, the answer is “Fuck yeah, we made some sweet charts of the voting data.”
But first, we awarded some prizes to three lucky voters. Who are they and what did they win?
- The Winning Voters!
- The Best Beer Labels of 2020
- You Promised Us Charts!
- Tenth Place – Bent Water Brewing Suborbital NEPA
- Ninth Place – Whitman Brewing I Can Hear America Singing NEIPA
- Eighth Place – Voodoo Brewing White Magick Of The Sun Wheat Ale
- Seventh Place – Core 3 Brewery Nevermore Black Saison Ale
- Sixth Place – Recon Brewing Immaculate IPA
- Fifth Place – Sun King Brewery Genevieve Belgian-Style Amber
- Fourth Place – Abomination Brewing Company Toxic Earth DIPA
- Third Place – North Country Brewing Melinda And The Night Sky Helles Bock
- Second Place – Mountain Fork Brewery Pappy’s Buck Snort BA Stout
- …And The Best Beer Label of 2020 is – Xül Beer Company Ivy DIPA
- Meet The Commentators
The Winning Voters!
Winners of this year’s giveaway are being awarded prizes from Tavour.com and BeerPrints.com. Sign up with Tavour today and start building your custom box of the beers you love (flat-fee shipping), or enroll in a monthly, bi-monthly, or tri-monthly subscription (ships for free). We LOVE Tavour!
We also love Beer Prints! Beerprints.com is THE marketplace for beer label art you can hang on your wall. Show your support for your favorite breweries and their fine bottle and can art today! Or when you’re done reading this.
(Was that a commercial?)
Winner of One $300.00 Gift Card from Tavour to spend on new and hard-to-find, independent craft beers available across the U.S. AND
One $150.00 Gift Card from BeerPrints.com to spend on fancy beer label-inspired art.
Winner of One Gift Box Set from Tavour valued at $99.00. Winner can choose between Stouts, IPAs, Sours, or Mixed. AND
One $100.00 Gift Card from BeerPrints.com to spend on fancy beer label-inspired art.
Winner of a Sample Gift Box Set from Tavour valued at $35.00. Winner can choose between Stouts, IPAs, Sours, or Mixed.
Thanks to everyone who voted! Your participation is greatly appreciated!
think my phone froze when i tried to vote the first time
The Best Beer Labels of 2020
I’m not sure if I’m doing this right. Am I doing this right?
For the record, the commentators below were randomly assigned each label and did not know the ranking of each label. We also broke from previous years and ordered the labels in “countdown” fashion. Stay to the end, why don’t you…? Or just TL;DR. We get it.
You Promised Us Charts!
But first, let’s look at the data…
Nice, right? And now, THE LABELS!
Tenth Place – Bent Water Brewing Suborbital NEPA
Ben Stoffel-Rosales: How will the world end?
Some say a nuclear holocaust. It begins with a series of eerie rumbles, a quake, first in the ground, then in your skin, and finally in your very soul, which crescendoes into one supreme flash. In the very moment we see the light, we’re already gone, our petrified, greasy faces insta-melted off of our brittle skulls.
This beer is awesome it tastes good and the label is a work of art. space x should launch a metal unicorn into space.
Some posit that doom comes in a smaller package, a microscopic disease. Perhaps we simply succumb to the plague. Or perhaps, it turns us into zombies, mindless beings that are but a knock-off facsimile of humans, who wander aimlessly and devour the warm, succulent guts of other humans.
Scientists hold the most conventional answer, that global warming will cause our demise. They forewarn that our insatiable lust for inventions and industrial production will slowly turn up the celestial thermostat on earth, and over centuries we’ll slowly liquify into puddles of gore in a sauna of our own hubris.
With Suborbital, Mike Shaughnessy presents a more venturesome and delicious alternative answer to this question. The balance of bright and cool colors, the attention to detail, and the poppy sensation of this label is the perfect embodiment of the beer itself. I encourage you to try this beer a sip before the world ends.
All of their beer art is amazing! One of the first MA breweries ( in my opinion) to really make art and color and design part of their aesthetics. Always an individual. You can always tell a bent water beer.
Ninth Place – Whitman Brewing I Can Hear America Singing NEIPA
Ben Stoffel-Rosales: How does one encapsulate American patriotism in an image? Whitman Brewing could’ve taken the easy route: a bald eagle firing hot dogs out of a machine gun; George Washington eating a Big Mac in a Monster Truck; a jean shorts-clad Uncle Sam chugging Four Loko while he wrestles a grizzly bear. Now, that’s the easy way to do it. But Whitman Brewing went for something more subtle, more imaginative and more cunning. And they nailed it.
Great tribute to a wise man whose words speak volumes! The design, like the voice of Whitman, is timeless.
“I can Hear America Singing” is a poem worth re-reading. It expounds a vision of America as a unified chorus of voices, a multi-million-person symphony stretching from sea to shining sea. From this nuanced myriad of thoughts and voices arises our picture of America: a nation where diversity and unity are balancing and codependent forces.
The cherry on top is that in the image, we see an author (presumably Whitman) writing at a desk. Outside his window: a Jetson’s-looking futuristic metropolis hums in perpetuity. For me, this ties it all together.
I think it’s fair to say that today’s politics is characterized by intense polarization. But realize: Walt Whitman wrote this poem on the eve of the Civil War. Our difference in ideals is what drives change and is, in fact, what defines us as American. It’s always been that way. It will always be that way.
I’ll end this note with the last few lines of the namesake poem:
At night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
Eighth Place – Voodoo Brewing White Magick Of The Sun Wheat Ale
Joah Hastert: Y’all remember Madballs? Those things were super rad. Despite being made of foam, they were dense enough that they hurt like fuck when you got one whipped at your back, and if they ever got soaked, they were deadly. Good times. Well, this artwork evokes a sun Madball rendered as a new-school tattoo flash design. I totally dig it.
Tom Ness is an incredible artist and deserves to win this contest. I will always consider him a very close friend. His talents are incredible and I’m excited to see where his future leads him.
Seventh Place – Core 3 Brewery Nevermore Black Saison Ale
Take thy beak from out my heart
Craig Gunderson: With Nevermore, Steph Stevenson has decided to tell a different story than Poe’s, or perhaps what happened after? The Raven’s eyes still burn fiery as it eviscerates the narrator’s “tell-tale heart” and I think we all can relate to the “bleak December” depicted here.
Is that the “radiant maiden” Lenore in the doorway? Very likely, right along with her purple curtains (Really, Lenore? Purple curtains?).
Stevenson has adeptly captured the spirit of both the poem and the spirit evoked by a Black Saison.
Steph has always been an amazing artist and this beer artwork is no exception! The scene is so detailed and perfectly captures the spooky Edgar Allen Poe feel. I can’t wait to see what she does next!
Sixth Place – Recon Brewing Immaculate IPA
Nick Wetmore: I love how playful Recon Brewing is with their label design and Immaculate IPA is no different. This mountain of hands desperately reaching up, clambering for this one glorious glass of beer. I love the Pythonesque humor of the design, but please don’t ask me about the glowing tire floating above the pint. Recon Brewing really owns the #onamission because they are upping their game year after year. I have to travel to Keystone state and visit this brewery ASAP.
A label as beautiful as the hazy inside!
Fifth Place – Sun King Brewery Genevieve Belgian-Style Amber
Craig Gunderson: Do I have a thing for dragons? I’ve certainly drawn a couple in my time… I’ve got a dragon-themed Magic: The Gathering deck with an “old school” Nicol Bolas and all of my dual lands in it…
I’m definitely a dragon purist. Red, featured here, is by far the best color for dragons. Horns? Check. Bat wings? You know it. Eyes that suggest an intelligence far beyond mere animal instinct and primal rage…? Okay, Craig Spearing, get out of my head.
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!
Fourth Place – Abomination Brewing Company Toxic Earth DIPA
Sam Heimer has done some of the best labels I’ve come across and his numerous labels for Abomination Brewing are all world-class!
Josh Hastert: It started off innocently enough. One night we were hanging out on the porch and Earl tossed an Old Style can into the compost pile. We bitched at him, but he insisted that it would compost, but it just might take a bit longer (by 730,000 years according to the Bing search). Anyhow, next thing you know there’s a busted birdhouse, an old CRT television, and half of a fiberglass hot tub with a family of disagreeable possums living under it. Then came the Pontiac Fiero, an Arthur Treacher’s marquee, and a towering pile of bowling benches. After a while we all really stopped caring, so when Vasilli offered us each 800 bux if we’d let his buddies “store” some barrels of industrial byproducts, we jumped at the chance. Since then, the dog’s gone missing, the bath water glows in the dark, and all the wildlife around the house looks sketchy as fuck. Probably wasn’t the best idea, but we’ve got a PS5 in every room, bitches, so that weird-ass deer is the GrubHub driver’s problem now.
This is the first in the spooky hoofed ruminant entries (see Buck Snort next). Here’s a really cool example of Lovecraftian imagery in a 5-color silkscreen poster art style.
Third Place – North Country Brewing Melinda And The Night Sky Helles Bock
Nick Wetmore: This label is as magnetic as the band who co-created this beer. It reminds me of a woodblock printing from centuries ago. From the beautiful strong female on the label to the dark brooding night sky, all make me want to study the label and try to learn more. The imagery is powerful and mysterious and a German Bock should be. One sip and I want to listen to more Melinda And The Night Sky. Bravo.
Exceptional use of illustrative elements and elaborate border art to create an unique look. Has a Peter Max and Elizabethan look that fits the flavor and or mystique of the brew/beer.
Second Place – Mountain Fork Brewery Pappy’s Buck Snort BA Stout
What a fantastic mixture of art and story in a single label.
Josh Hastert: This label reminds me of one time I went camping up in the North Woods. After a quite pleasant evening spent washing down a ten-strip with Gundy’s homebrew mead and a half bottle of Malört, my guts started rumbling. I decided to get up to ruin a tree’s evening and check up on that extremely suspicious squirrel across the way, but as I emerged from my pup tent I came nose-to-nose with an honest-to-goddamned Wendigo hellbeast. After that all I remember is wailing, running, panic, and waking up hours later naked, hairless, and covered in feces and squirrel guts. Long story short, now I have to change my license plates if I go camping in a National Park. Stuck-up jerks.
My residual emotional trauma aside, this art does a great job of meshing indigenous, mythological, and neo tribal design elements.
Fantastic beer…gets me pissy drunk every time
…And The Best Beer Label of 2020 is – Xül Beer Company Ivy DIPA
Craig Gunderson: I saw a shirt once that boldly reminded me that beer is technically a vegetarian meal. It didn’t say anything about butterflies, but I don’t think vegetarians eat those.
I’m going to have a really tough time talking about this label without referencing John Totleben’s work on Swamp Thing. That’s certainly a compliment where I come from, but not to diminish the work of Angryblue. He’s clearly influenced by the finest legends of comic horror art and making it his own.
Ivy, the plant, represents Nature that you can’t control. It creeps and it grows and it clings to things. This is the spirit of Xül’s Ivy DIPA – Nature unchecked and allowed to take over. If Ivy is the name of the woman featured on this label, she is welcoming of Nature’s embrace.
Congratulations Xül Brewing and Angryblue! Ivy is THE BEST BEER LABEL of 2020!
Bad ass, colors really pop, the beer also encompasses your taste buds like ivy growing wild.