Last night though, I got round to labelling my growing collection of homebrew. I am no artist and so it is highly unlikely that you would ever see my labels entered into the Brew Your Own label competition, however when faced with a bank of amber bottles each with a golden cap, it gets tiring trying to remember what you put where. I tried using a system of coloured dots on the cap, but that kind of fizzled because I couldn't remember what the dots meant. Yes I made a note of it, but that's seems to have been tidied up at some point and thus lost to the ether.
The answer then, at least for me, has been shipping labels. Simple, printable shipping labels. Download the template and away you go, remembering of course not to label the bottles you are keeping to one side for competition purposes. Although I am as artistic as a "cluster of colour blind hedgehogs, in a bag", I do like words (I know few other people who find it interesting that "center" is the older spelling variant and dates from medieval England). Words, at least in their printed form, need fonts, and so I love to play with fonts to get the right look for the label. Here are a couple of my favourites.
As you can see, I like simplicity - just beer name, style, hops, ABV and the pet name I have given my homebrew "operation" (ahem, cough, splutter). The font, the apparently much overused Algerian font, made me think of journeys during the ages of discovery, which ties in with this beer being in some ways, hopefully, similar to the porters that were shipped from London to India - you know the type, extra hops and that kind of thing.
On Monday evening, admittedly a day late, I bottles my version of the International Homebrew Project Milk Stout - a recreation of the 1933 Milk Stout brewed by Barclay Perkins. Again, keeping it simple is my motto, and the first creation of this label was black text on a white background, but it just didn't work. I liked the font because it bought to mind the styles of the 1930s, but what to do about the look and feel of it? I tried changing the colour of the text, but to no avail, then taking inspiration from the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster, I inverted the black and white and hey presto.
Ok, they are not the most creative labels on the planet, but I like them - probably mainly because I no longer have to play mental gymnastics every time I fancy a homebrew. I do wonder though sometimes if I think far too much about my beer and brewing.