Call for Valley Brew Pale Poster

Enticing Vintage Beer Ads

From the whimsical and sexy to the downright weird, these posters get the job done.

Despite what countless social media posts, fridge magnets, and t-shirts might suggest, Ben Franklin never asserted that "beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy." (He did praise wine in similar terms in a letter to a friend — but that's another story.) Still, for thousands of years, humans have been brewing beer, and for hundreds of years breweries have been advertising to a thirsty public. Here, we offer a selection of eye-catching beer posters, while recalling a confirmed quote from another great American, Homer Simpson: "To alcohol! The cause of — and solution to — all of life's problems."

Bot Beer swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images Bot Beer A poster advertising beer from a Flemish brewery — and an image that might be familiar to sharp-eyed fans of "The Big Bang Theory." (A reproduction of this hangs on Sheldon's kitchen wall.) No Laughing Matter Buyenlarge/Getty Images No Laughing Matter Nothing says "Party time!" quite like an old-timey clown and an aggressive goat. It's About the Beer swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images It's About the Beer An undated illustration by Albert Fisher, with no indication at all of what brand of beer the happy young women is holding. It's just ... beer. Wonderful, refreshing beer. Hop to It Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images Hop to It Yes, yes, this kingly amphibian is quite impressive. But we admit to a certain fondness for the character in the background, evidently diving for a frothy mug. A Wet One Heritage Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images A Wet One Birra San Marco was founded in Venice in 1908. And the gondoliers cheered. Up and Away swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images Up and Away The artist Jean D'Ylen, who created this poster, reportedly once said that a poster "must be expressive, colorful, and have an attraction which captures the attention of a passerby." Bravo, Monsieur D'Ylen. Acting Thirsty swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images Acting Thirsty Japanese actress Machiko Kyo's likeness silently exhorts double-fisted drinkers everywhere to get busy drinking Asahi. Eyes Wide Beer swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images Eyes Wide Beer This fellow is either astonished at how good his beer tastes, or is shocked at how bad it is. We're going with the former. Foam Alone swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images Foam Alone That is either a very small, albeit stylish, man or the mug of beer he's hoarding (and ... licking?) is enormous. Whatever the case might be, the gentlemen is clearly thrilled at the prospect of drinking that blonde ale. Who can blame him? Hey, Sailor swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images Hey, Sailor What's especially intriguing about this poster is that it feels like an old-school version of bad Photoshopping. Is that the sailor's (disembodied) hand holding the glass? Or does it belong to someone else who is offering him a drink? No matter. His anticipation is a joy to behold. Ride and Imbibe swim ink 2 llc/Corbis via Getty Images Ride and Imbibe When a rooster commands you to drink French beers, you don't ask questions. You don't hesitate. You drink French beers. Vous comprenez? Get Your Goat Buyenlarge/Getty Images Get Your Goat Two goats and a frau celebrate the joys of bock beer ― brewed in the fall, drunk in the spring ― in this 19th-century poster. According to the folks at Anchor Brewing: "The beer we now know as bock originated in the Northern German city of Einbeck, probably as far back as the 1400s ... The name 'Einbeck' was pronounced as 'Einbock' in the Bavarian accent of the region, and 'einbock' means 'billy goat' in German. Shortened to 'bock,' the name remains with us today, as does the visual pun of the goat on the label." So now you know. The Art of Beer Heritage Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images The Art of Beer Very few painters and illustrators are more closely associated with the Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries than the Czech master, Alfons Maria Mucha. This poster is a fine example of his decorative style. Extra points for the very attractive model's crazy floral headpiece. Medicine, Man Heritage Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images Medicine, Man This is not an especially clear or easily decipherable poster, but a closer look suggests that beer was quite popular in hospitals and private men's clubs. What we like about the ad, however, is the notion of a smiling nurse bringing a patient a bottle of stout or ale. Where have those days gone? And when, oh, when will they return?
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