A beer story

FG_last plazm canning
This past week saw Fort George Brewery canning the last batch of Plazm Farmhouse Ale. It’s been awesome to collaborate with one of our favorite clients and with The Commons on this project. Thanks to our friends at Fort George for suggesting we make a Plazm beer. Get it while you can! It’s available where fine beer is sold in the Pacific Northwest.

Apparently that includes Trader Joe’s. Niko saw a stack there recently and took a photo of some sweet handmade type on this sale sign.


When we were first brainstorming ideas for this project a, we suggested to Fort George that we put a copy of each issue of Plazm magazine into the brew. We figured it’s printed with soy-based inks and what better way to get “a little bit of Plazm in every can.”

To their credit, the brewers at Fort George would have none of it. Anything that does not make the beer taste better, does not go into the beer. Fair enough. We stuck to what we do best—in this case, designing the outside of the can—and they stuck to what they do best—filling the inside of the can with delicious beer.

Another of our brilliant ideas was to pour a bottle of the original Plazm ale into the brew (also, thankfully, shot down by the quality control mavens at Fort George as a gimmick).

plazm_og_beer.020I’d saved a couple of bottles of the original beer since 1994, and figured they were probably aged to perfection by now. The first Plazm ale (above) was a home brew by Niko Courtelis. He designed the label also and bottled a few cases of the beer for the issue 4 release party at Galleri 8.

A unique thing about this beer was that each bottle contained a plastic doll arm in response to the art by Panacea Theriac that we featured on the cover of the issue (below). Niko assures me that “the doll parts were all properly sterilized” before going into the beer. I don’t doubt that, but I do remember them as being a very real choking hazard.

plazm4I dug up a few other ephemeral items related to the issue since I was taking this trip down memory lane. I collaborated on the cover design with my friend Jerome Schiller. He came up with the “Enjoy Plazm” concept and his wife Juliet Ching hand lettered the typography.  Her original drawings are below as are his early conceptual sketches. 

IMG_4893 IMG_4898

It’s always nice to walk down memory lane. It’s even fun to see some of the lines of copy we didn’t select for the cover. For example, “regular or decap” is pretty funny. On the other hand, “piss in a cup” is pretty bad.


But let’s not live in the past. Experience the here-and-now by going out and getting yourself some of the delicious Fort George Plazm Farmhouse Ale. I can assure you, there is nothing but beer in the beer. And it is delicious. While supplies last.


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