Best Beer Label: Captain Banana Unfiltered Wheat Beer

Voodoo Ranger IPA wins second place

Oftentimes our first impressions of a new beer, chosen out of the myriad options now available at just about any grocer or bottle shop, come from the branding. A good beer label stands out from the crowd, piques our curiosity and represents the beer contained behind the label. We asked a panel of beer experts to nominate 20 of their favorite labels, and then we turned it over to our readers to vote for their favorites. The results are in.

1916 Shore Shiver IPA (Forgotten Boardwalk)
Forgotten Boardwalk's 1916 Shore Shiver IPA displays hints of stone fruit from its hop profile, with a spicy finish. The beer and its label take inspiration from a 1916 fatal shark attack off the New Jersey coast that "made the shore shiver," just like this beer will do on a hot day (but in a good way). Photo courtesy of Forgotten Boardwalk
Foeder Brett Saison (Hi-Wire Brewing)
This oak-fermented ale from Hi-Wire Brewing is light in color, not very bitter and sour rather than funky. The bright pink and white graphic label is just as fun and sophisticated as the beer within. Photo courtesy of Javier Bolea / Hi-Wire Brewing
Destination Moon (Hop Butcher For The World)
Destination Moon, an American IPA from Hop Butcher for the World, is brewed with Galaxy, Mosaic and Apollo hops, lending it flavors of citrus and tropical fruits. A beer bottle, mug, hop flower, keg and cleaver (a nod to the brewery's name) are depicted in constellations across the sky on this graphic, monochromatic label. Photo courtesy of Hop Butcher For The World
Dogzilla Black IPA (Laughing Dog Brewing)
A traditional IPA with a dark malt twist, Dogzilla Black IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing is as bold as the dog on its label, show terrorizing a city of beer bottle-topped skyscrapers. Photo courtesy of Laughing Dog Brewing
Downtown Brown (Lost Coast Brewery)
What's cooler than being cool? "An ice cold Downtown Brown," At least according to Lost Coast Brewery. This smooth, full-bodied brown ale displays hints of caramel and chocolate from the malts imported from England, and the Picasso-like figure on the colorful label certainly seems to be enjoying it. Photo courtesy of Lost Coast Brewery
Devil's Chair IPA (Red Cypress Brewery)
According to local legend, if you leave a beer on a particular bench in the Cassadaga Cemetery in Florida, it'll be empty come daybreak. This bright and fruity IPA from Red Cypress Brewery is the perfect bitter brew to satisfy any thirsty devil. Photo courtesy of Red Cypress Brewery
Saber Tooth Tiger (Rhinegeist)
Saber Tooth Tiger, a limited-release imperial IPA from Rhinegeist, displays a crisp and clean citrus bitterness with hints of papaya and stone fruit. The prehistoric IPA comes with a prehistoric saber tooth tiger on its striking label. Photo courtesy of Rhinegeist
Lily Flagg Milk Stout (Straight to Ale)
In 1892, a Jersey cow named Lily Flagg was the top butter producer in the world, yielding just over 1,047 pounds of butter in 12 months. This milk stout from Straight to Ale is named after the famous Huntsville bovine; hints of chocolate and coffee paired with a creamy mouthfeel from added milk sugars make this one as smooth as butter. Photo courtesy of Straight to Ale
Voodoo Ranger IPA (New Belgium Brewing Company)
A departure from the usual New Belgium Brewing Company branding, Voodoo Ranger IPA takes the label from the classic Ranger IPA and infuses it with a dose of hip, yielding a very cool label to match the golden IPA with a perfectly bitter finish found within. Photo courtesy of New Belgium Brewing Co.
Captain Banana Unfiltered Wheat Beer (Three Heads Brewing)
Three Heads Brewing has a whole host of humorous labels for their beers, but one of our favorites is the Captain Banana Unfiltered Wheat Beer. The image on this easy-drinker with just a hint of banana on the tongue depicts Captain Banana, a daring monkey who dreamed of flight. Photo courtesy of Three Heads Brewing

The top 10 winners in the category Best Beer Label are as follows:

  1. Captain Banana Unfiltered Wheat Beer - Three Heads Brewing
  2. Voodoo Ranger IPA - New Belgium Brewing Company
  3. Lily Flagg Milk Stout - Straight to Ale
  4. Saber Tooth Tiger - Rhinegeist
  5. Devil's Chair IPA - Red Cypress Brewery
  6. Downtown Brown - Lost Coast Brewery
  7. Dogzilla Black IPA - Laughing Dog Brewing
  8. Destination Moon - Hop Butcher For The World
  9. Foeder Brett Saison - Hi-Wire Brewing
  10. 1916 Shore Shiver IPA - Forgotten Boardwalk

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Gary Monterosso (What’s On Tap), Jack Muldowney (The Hop Review) and Ale Sharpton (AleSharpton.com) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience in the American beer industry.

Congratulations to all these crazy creative breweries for their winning labels!