Monday, January 30, 2012

Come Celebrate My First Beer Label for Illustration Ale

A few months ago I was asked to take part in a fund-raiser for the Toonseum, Pittsburgh's only cartoon museum. Every year East End Brewing brews its very own Illustration Ale and asks local artists to design the labels. This year, I was one of those artists along with Mark Bender, Jasen Lex, Nathan Mazur, Ed Piskor and Dave Wachter who all cranked out some really fun labels (as you can see from this teaser image). There's a nice write-up about East End Brewery's involvement with local cartoonists in this post on BrewsReporter.

Now the Toonseum is holding a big, opening bash to celebrate this year's batch of Illustration Ale and you're invited. Tickets aren't cheap, but then again, how often do you get a chance to rub elbows with some of Pittsburgh's most talented recluses? Not to mention the food, drink and your complementary bottle of this limited edition ale. Read all the details in the Toonseum's official press release below:

The ToonSeum, Pittsburgh¹s museum of to the cartoon arts, is proud to announce the 2012 edition of Illustration Ale, a robust Belgian style beer brewed exclusively for the ToonSeum by Pittsburgh's own East End Brewing Company.

Illustration Ale is a 700-bottle limited-edition Belgian specialty ale created as a fund-raiser for the ToonSeum. Two dollars from the sale of each one-liter, swing-top bottle will directly benefit the ToonSeum. The beer is a bottle-conditioned ale, brewed with a spicy farmhouse ale yeast which adds nuance to the rich dark malt character.

As with the May 2010 release of the first batch of Illustration Ale, each bottle bears a label created by one of six Pittsburgh cartoonists and graphic artists, making for a unique six-pack collection. This year's labels were designed by Mark Bender, Vince Dorse, Jasen Lex, Nathan Mazur, Ed Piskor, and Dave Wachter.

"Once again, a group of Pittsburgh artists created spectacular work for Illustration Ale. The labels provide fantastic images for people to ponder while they enjoy their beer," says East End owner and brewmaster Scott Smith. Specially illustrated labels on beer bottles has become a brewing tradition, and Smith, who enjoys his cartoons almost as much as his beer, has worked closely with many local artists (among them Wayno, Jim Rugg, and Mark Zingarelli) to design labels for his beers.

East End Brewing and the ToonSeum will unveil the 2012 Illustration Ale with a special tasting session at the ToonSeum on February 4th at 6:00pm. Guests will not only get the first sips of the special brew, but will also be able to meet past and present label artists, have their bottles autographed, and enjoy the current exhibit, Funky Turns 40. A bottle of Illustration Ale will be included with the purchase of a ticket.

Food presented by: Nine on Nine, Taste of Dahntahn

Tickets for the event are $30 (members pay only $20) and can be purchased online at or at the ToonSeum reception desk, 945 Liberty Avenue Downtown during regular business hours.

So, if you want to spend a nice evening looking at fantastic cartoon art and sampling (what I'm told is) a fantastic local brew, stop out next Saturday and say hi. I will be there with my usual glass of diet ginger ale, pretending to be cool and sophisticated. -v

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