Beer Browsing

Valerie Miller, April 02, 2013

I love beer. It’s kind of a problem. I take about 20 minutes to decide on a beer at a bar. I get up to look at all of the taps or the beer cooler even before the server comes over. I want to make sure I am aware of every beer they offer so I can make the best choice. Yeah, I’m kind of a nutjob that way. I’m a Miller girl at heart, obviously. But, when I’ve got a little extra money and am feeling adventurous, I like to explore the world of specialty beers.

Not only do I love exploring beers for their taste, but I also love exploring beers for their design. My favorite bottles are the silk-screened bottles, but there are some really cool paper labels too. I have a small collection of bottles displayed in my kitchen; some I’ve had to sneak out of bars in my purse, others were purchased in local liquor stores.

In Milwaukee; Groppi’s Food Market, Whole Foods, and Discount Liquor are favorite browsing places. Although the sweeping panorama is lovely, just standing and looking from a distance is not the best idea. Bottles must be removed from the shelf, turned to see the whole design and, at the same time it’s a good idea to locate the description of the beer itself to determine if it’s actually drinkable. I’ve been known to take a chance just because of the design, but it’s so much more satisfying to discover a beer I love to look at and love to drink.

There are a few breweries that produce bottles that always jump out and catch my eye among the rows and rows of brown glass.

New Belgium makes a Lips of Faith series that always turns out a great bottle. I like drinking a lot of those beers too, so that’s a plus.

New Belgium Lips of Faith

Lips of faith

The Rogue designs stand out on shelves with nice graphics and heavy ink coverage.


I haven’t been able to find any Russell Brewing Company beer in stores, but I have admired it on the internet. Here are a few samples of the cool stuff they do.


Also known for larger, silk screened bottles, Southern Tier has some nicely inked designs.

Southern Tier

Shiner Brewery doesn’t produce silk-screened bottles, but I love everything they do. Both the taste and the look.

Shiner Group

And here are a few from my own collection. (Mind you, I’m not the one with photography skills here at McDill.)

My Bottles

A great place to browse beautiful beer, whether it be for design inspiration or thirst purposes, is