John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Now if only they made a corresponding line of beer-colored paints.
beer you're drinking (note: if this actually happens, it's probably time to rein it in), there's no need to bug the bartender with your slurred interrogations. Just whip out this handy beer-reference guide, match the colors on the swatches with what's in your glass and bingo: It's Dunkelweizen.
Beertone is a personal project of Alexander Michelbach and Daniel Eugster, who work for an advertising agency located in St. Gallen, Switzerland. They assembled this Martha Stewart-worthy guide because they wanted to meld "beautiful design with the world's most widely consumed alcoholic beverage," they say. The Beertone wheel, an obvious play on Pantone's color guide, is selling for $39 to $59 on its website, which is billing it as something both "useful and fun for everyone that likes color and beer." That's everybody, right?
To assemble the wheel, Michelbach and Eugster had to photograph more than 200 glasses of suds in a special type of glass that prevents reflections. Presumably they then drank this beer, because I can't imagine anything sadder than them just pouring it out. Each brewski gets its own swatch that's full of information: brewery name, alcohol content, an image of the bottle and numerical values for its color in CMYK, RGB, Web and SRM (the last being the “beer color scale”).
This sample shows what goes on each swatch:
Beertone so far covers only Swiss beers, although its makers are trying to get versions for Germany, Brazil and perhaps other countries. It could be a good tool for travelers who can't speak the language of the city they're in and want to know exactly what they're drinking, or even a means to doublecheck that a tavern is serving the right beer. The difference in hue between a Sonnenbräu and a Budweiser might not be great, but with the Beertone wheel you could make sure it's not rice swill in your glass.
Now if only someone would design a corresponding line of beer-colored house paints, we'd be golden. Here are some more images of the Beertone guide from the 2013 A' Design competition, where it won a platinum medal for best design idea:
Images courtesy of Beertone