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The Best Looking (And Tasting) Beers For Beer Can Appreciation Day

Today is National Beer Can Appreciation Day! Are you surprised that such a thing exists? I was. Nevertheless, here we are, and what better way to celebrate the humble beer can than by sharing our favorite art-sporting brews?

As anyone who’s taken a spin through their local liquor store knows, there are a lot of great beer labels out there. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes we get suckered into buying something that just doesn’t taste all that good just because we really dug the art. So to save you from wasting your time and money on lesser beers, we put together a list of some of our favorite brews that match up to the quality of the art on their labels.

This isn’t a hard ranking, we aren’t saying any of these beers are necessarily better than the others, rather I ranked them more or less by how much I like their art. Admittedly a lot of the beers on this list are IPAs and… what can we say? IPAs overwhelmingly have the best art in the game, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles folks.

Here are the best looking and tasting beers for National Beer Can Appreciation Day.

Clown Shoes Beer

Clown Shoes Beer out of Boston takes a page out of comic book culture and creates beer cans with such vivid and distinct art that it’ll make you feel like you need to own each one. It’s an ingenious marketing decision, do you want a Mexican style chocolate stout with hints of coffee and vanilla — basically, spiked Abuelita in a can? Not necessarily, but this one has a four-armed luchador on it double-fisting coffee, and this one has the Grim Reaper holding a blender. We’ll take both!

Alaskan Brewing Co

Long before small-batch artisan IPAs took the concept of can art and went nuts with it, the Alaskan Brewing Co was churning out can after can of brews sporting eye-catching artwork that heavily mined the iconography of the Alaskan landscape. An old red fishing ship for their amber ale, a soaring orca for their Kölsch, a polar bear admiring the Northern lights, and a proud Husky repping their India Pale Ale. We love the whole line partly because of the instantly recognizable art, but mostly because they make a damn fine brew.

Concrete Jungle

The Concrete Jungle Brewing Project generally goes down two design routes, elegant and simple, just the brewhouse name encased by hops, or beautiful matte-finished labels that visually capture the flavor profile of each brew. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for matte-finishes so there was no way the brand WASN’T going to make this list.

Repped on our soft-ranking is the Strawberry Alarm Clock, a milkshake-like IPA, and the hazy coco Fist Fight at the Beach, which features a coconut being punched by a giant hand. Beautiful.

Pipeworks — BREWNICORNSKI

I’m not completely sure what’s going on at Pipeworks but a lot of their beer can art features a Unicorn, sometimes in a top-hat, sometimes in some lederhosen, sometimes… fighting a ninja. What’s with the Unicorns? No idea. But at the end of the day all that matters is what’s behind the label, and in the case of BREWNICORNSKI, you have a great “fluffy” IPA made with Citra and Galaxy Hops with 7.7% ABV — truly one of Pipeworks best.

Wild Barrel Brewing — White Chocolate Raspberry Torte

You’re likely familiar with Wild Barrel Brewing thanks to their insanely popular Hazy Star IPA. These cans are everywhere and it might come as a shock that instead I went with the White Chocolate Raspberry Torte, but what can I say? Out with the old, in the with new. This Imperial Pastry Sour has notes of raspberries, coconut, and vanilla beans that hit in layers, resulting in a dessert beer that you’ll want to let sit in your mouth far longer is socially acceptable.

Beavertown Brewery — 8 Ball

This spicy and earthy rye IPA utilizes hops sourced from America and the southern hemisphere as a counterpart to the Cara malts, resulting in a malty mouthful of a brew. The art, designed by Beavertown in-house Creative Director, Nick Dwyer, is pure madness. Ashen zombies in the foreground, some type of flying fish, a skull over a massive explosion — it’s a lot to take in, but like all of Beavertown’s can designs, it keeps you coming back for more.

Take a sip, stare at some art — it’s like being at a museum, only better because you’re drinking beer.

Anchorage Brewing

If you’ve reached this point in our list, you probably have a pretty good handle on my taste in art, so to mix things up I want to give a shout out to Anchorage Brewing, who make art that isn’t really my thing but can fairly be described as metal as f*ck. Swords, wolves, skulls, muted colors, heavy and inky lines, Anchorage Brewing sources art that makes you want to throw up some devil horns while you crack open a can to some Sabbath, or you know, whatever.

The Follow Us 6.4% ABV IPA is brewed with Sabro Hops and DDH with Strata and features art by Wolf Skull Jack, who also designed the amazing Six of Swords can art.

Brouwerij West — ALLIGATOR

This hazy IPA out of California is brewed with raw barley and spelt, flaked oats and dry-hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo, which work to tamp down the beer’s initial zesty bite, resulting in a smoother and mellower body overall. The art, designed by LA-based painted Yu Maeda, features what I’m pretty sure is what Joe Rogan sees in his isolation tank after doing DMT.

A psychedelic deer, an alien-like third eye, some sort of skull — what does any of this have to do with an Alligator? Hard to say, unless there is something I’m not seeing. If you’re digging on the look of this brew, be sure to check out Yu Maeda’s Instagram, which is full of desert-infused, mildly surreal art that’ll give you a head change similar to this 6.8% abv brew.

Prairie Artisan Ales

This small third wave brewery out of Oklahoma has some of the best can art, and it’s all made by one person — Colin Healey. Colin is the brother of Prairie Artisan Ales founder Chase Healey, a collaboration which consists of Colin visually interpreting Chase’s brews, resulting in a consistent visual brand that makes Prairie instantly recognizable on a store shelf.

Art wise, you can’t go wrong with anything out of Prairie Ales, so we’re repped All Ya’ll and Funky Gold Mosaic — which are the newest brews to come out of Prairie. For hazy IPAs hit All Y’all, and grab Funky Gold Mosaic for something on the sour end.

Mikkeller Beer

Mikkeller has hands down, my favorite beer label art. Designed by Philadelphia-based artist Keith Shore, each Mikkeller label features Matisse meets Yellow Submarine-esque masterpieces that perfectly convey the contents of the can. It’s groovy, it’s weird, it’s slightly surreal and psychedelic but it always matches the flavor profile.

The art is so good that it’ll make you try brews you’d otherwise be uninterested in. Luckily, Mikkeller is a great brewery so whatever you go with, you can’t really go wrong. In the words of Uproxx’s own master of drinks Zach Johnston, “Mikkeller, it gets the job done.”

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