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ABV Aesthetics: Saint Archer “India Pale Ale”


Saint Archer Brewing Co. IPA | American India Pale Ale | 6.6% ABV | 66 IBU’s  

Craft beer is an artisanal trade that encompasses the utilization of quality ingredients, technical tools and the artistic spirit of the brewer(s) involved in creating the aesthetic of the beer.  It can be said that beers are designed; from the initial ideas and thoughts of what style of beer will be produced, to the choice of primary ingredients and flavoring additions, to how the beer will interact with the drinkers palette as well as how the beer reflects the identity of its brewery.  Following these same guidelines, graphic designers/artists are creating labels based around the qualities and characteristics of the beer being poured from the bottle.  Designing beers and labels go hand in hand just as pairing specific beers with food and drinking a beer in the proper glassware do.

I would like to introduce Saint Archer Brewery and their beautiful and delicious beer.  The newest craft brewery to emerge from the San Diego mecca who, with help from professional action sports athletes and a renowned SD graphic designer, have already left their mark on our beloved industry.  Enter Dave Lively, the Art Director of Saint Archer Brewery and one half of the established San Diego design agency Lively and Motch, Inc..  Mr. Lively is responsible for the Saint Archer logo and their simple yet powerful designs.  Why does a craft brewery need an Art Director?  My response to this question is much the same as to why a craft brewery needs a Head Brewer or Head of Sales; because it is an essential job which must be taken on by a professional who will help develop the identity of the brewery.  Think of trying to create a beer without using hops; not all of the pieces of the quintessential puzzle are there leaving an unfinished and poor quality product.

Saint Archer Brewery currently has three year round beers being produced which recently started hitting shelves and taps in restaurants, gastropubs and liquor warehouses around Southern California.  Their “IPA” encompasses bold lines and simple, yet clear typography all contained within a vibrant red color.  The color reflects what is to be expected when opening and tasting the beer while reflecting certain qualities associated to an IPA.  The design of the label immediately accomplishes three important factors in design which most craft breweries struggle with for years.  These three factors are: clarity, identity, and creative.  Saint Archer accomplishes clarity by using bold lines and shapes on the front of the beer label surrounding easily read and descriptive lines of text.  Upon seeing the beer in your local store, you are immediately able to identify who brews the beer because of the synonymous design qualities of the creative Saint Archer label, an arrow striking through a set of wings.  Creativity is seen in the eye of the beholder, but I believe the creative use of color, font, shape and design aspects of the label create a strong relationship of creative design.

The symmetry between the seven, yes seven hop varieties used to develop this IPA is balanced with its bitter and strong hop-forward smoothness.  The boldness of using Cascade, Apollo, Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Crystal and Simcoe hops is reflective in the bold red coloring of the label, while the clear lines and typography encompass the clear style characteristics of Saint Archer’s IPA.  Delicious and immediately impressive, the Saint Archer IPA delivers on all fronts completely reflecting its label.  The newest San Diego brewery makes a statement and stands its ground amongst the plethora of breweries currently situated in Southern California.  What sets them apart is their beautiful graphic design and labeling being backed by a strong lineup of beers.

Kurt Slanaker

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