Category Archives: Beer Paintings

“Oh Geez, Rick!” – Morty

“Oh Geez, Rick”,  is a painting I made because I am a home-brewer and a huge fan of the show Rick and Morty.  Every home-brewer loves to brew in the garage. Since I don’t have one, I decided to pretend to have the most amazing garage ever, Rick’s garage from the show.  Every time I make a batch of beer, I pitch the yeast into a big glass fermenter like the one pictured here in Rick’s garage laboratory.  I always think about the life that is being cultivated inside the glass universe in the carboy.  Sealed with an airlock to keep the culture clean, it reminds me of our planet.  We are like the yeast, and the wort (unfermented beer) is like our natural resources.  As the yeast bubbles, and ferments the wort into beer, it is like our planet living out its days.  Once in a while I will double down on a batch of beer and pour fresh wort into the leftover yeast slurry from a previous batch. When I do this, I think how awesome it would be if we were able to buy more time for humanity on planet Earth by just brewing up some more clean air, water, and sunlight.  

The lifespan of any life-form is limited by its resources.  So my question is: if the planet is like a beer fermenter and the garage is like space outside our universe, is there some giant being that wants to eat all our garbage and breath our CO2 to catch a relaxing buzz?  Rick would know, he probably was teasing it with his portal gun.  

Cheers to life! Although it may be fleeting, make sure it is a fun ride!

This original oil painting, and signed art prints are available at my Etsy shop. You can see this painting in person at my art show at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. June 4 – July 1, 2021. I will kick off the show this Friday at 5pm by tapping a pin (small keg) of a wit beer with key-lime, cask-conditioned on Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans and graham crackers!

“Oh geez, Rick!” 11″ x 14″, oil on panel

The Secret Ingredient in Pliny the Younger Triple IPA is Revealed

An anonymous source recently revealed to me that he found out the secret ingredient that makes Pliny the Younger Triple IPA taste so amazing! He requested that I do not reveal his name, because he doesn’t want to be banned from Russian River Brewing for disclosing this information. He was lucky enough to score a permit to Yosemite National Park during Feb. 12-24, when the phenomenon known as “Firefall” occurs. During this time of year only, and during just the right time at sunset, the sun hits the water of Horsetail Falls just right, making the waterfall look like bright red flowing lava! After taking many pictures, he looked down at the bottom of the waterfall and saw something very strange. There was a man filling large containers from the waterfall! He couldn’t believe his eyes! So, he had to find out why the man was doing this, and walked over to talk to him. Turns out, the man was one of the brewers at Russian River Brewing, and he needed the water from that waterfall just at that precise time when it looks like lava, in order to brew Pliny the Younger according to the super secret recipe. We are all in shock that the man shared this sensitive information with my friend, but since that water is so difficult to find, this beer recipe is incredibly hard to duplicate. So, next time you enjoy a sip of that delicious IPA, just remember that it was brewed with extremely rare water from a phenomenon that only happens for two weeks once a year at one of the world’s most beautiful places! That really explains why Pliny the Younger tastes so incredible! This story inspired me to paint this new beer painting of Pliny the Younger in front of the “Firefall”.

This original oil painting, and signed art prints are available at my Etsy shop.

Pliny the Younger Triple IPA in front of “Firefall” in Yosemite National Park. 11″x14″, oil on panel.

Pelican Brewing in Pacific City, Oregon

During my college days, studying art at Western Oregon University, located in Monmouth, Oregon, I spent a lot of time at the local bike shop.  The shop was really cool! Located in a former gas station, it barely had enough space inside to store all the bikes.  It was called Jon’s Bicycle Station. I met Jon the first day I arrived in Monmouth.  The town wasn’t really that big, and I was, and still am, bicycle crazy.  We became great friends!  The shop was so cool, because Jon made it that way.  Since he worked 6 days a week, and home-brewed every Sunday, we would ride every Tuesday at nighttime. We used powerful headlamps to go way up into the mountains, then turn them off and gaze at the stars. The rides were great, sometimes 23 miles long, and often just Jon and I.  We would always meet at the shop, do a quick tune to the bikes, then have espressos, and load the bikes into his old 1970’s Ford F-250, driving a few miles to the logging area on the east side of the coastal range. After the ride Jon pulled out homemade burritos from an insulated cooler where he kept them warm.  These were my favorite times in the Willamette Valley area.  

My grandmother is from Newberg, Oregon, just up Route 99W from Monmouth. When I was a child, the whole family would often fly down from Alaska to meet up with the rest of the clan at the Oregon coast for a family get-together. We would normally stay in a rental house at Rockaway Beach, so I was no stranger to the Oregon coast. I think it is a really beautiful place on this planet! When Jon invited me to go to Pacific City to ride bikes and celebrate New Years Eve in a big rental house, I jumped at the chance. He would always get these incredible houses and invite all his riding buddies. Since I was a broke college student he didn’t ask much from me. I just had to show up and go for long road rides on Highway 101. Afterwards we would go to the Pelican Brewing brewpub. One time for spring break, Jon got this amazing house directly on the beach in Pacific City. It had a hot tub and a sauna, and 17 beds! The bunk room was impressive, with two levels of stacked beds with room for everyone. My roommate at the time brought his girlfriend’s whole family! We filled that house! I remember running to the ocean from the hot tub — it was so awesome! The Pelican Brewing brewpub was only about 1/2 mile down the beach from that house. Back in the day, the brewery only bottled beers in bombers. I remember buying as many as I could afford and taking them back for a big beach fire party! I did a couple of paintings at that house. The place was called the Wind Jammer on the rental listings. I don’t know if you can still rent it, but I do recommend getting some Pelican beers and walking down the beach!

Nowadays, the Pelican has a production facility in Tillamook, and the beers come in huge cans, six-packs, and still a few 22oz bombers.  It’s not quite the same, but my love for Pacific City is still strong.  If you happen to be in the area, the Grateful Bread Bakery is a good breakfast place, just get there early, as the cinnamon buns are all gone if you sleep in!  Haystack Rock, and  Cape Kiwanda Dune are really cool local geological features making this place stand out!  I heard the surfing is as good as Oregon has to offer.

Cheers to Pacific City, The Pelican Brewpub, Jon’s Bicycle Station, and the Oregon Coast! You don’t have to go to Hawaii to have a great time on the beach!

This original oil painting, and signed prints are available at my Etsy shop.

Pelican Brewing IPA, 11″x14″, oil on panel

Giants Baseball Game at AT&T Stadium

Before the pandemic, going to a baseball game in a crowded stadium was possible. We used to also have weddings, and sometimes we even left our home state to go places.  I went to a wedding in California to see my cousin get hitched back in 2017. Then we went to an amazing baseball game at Oracle Park (a.k.a AT&T Stadium) in San Francisco. I bought myself a Giants ball cap from a street vendor and my uncle had procured tickets for the whole family.  My brother-in-law, and sister met us for pre-game beers at a local brewery called Cellarmaker.  I always wait until the 7th inning stretch to buy a beer at a ball park, because they are kind of expensive. I can milk the abnormally large beer for the rest of the game, even if it goes into extra innings. I think I paid about $20 for my 20 oz beer, so that’s $1 per oz.  This is not a particularly good price, but the selection was excellent. Lagunitas, Anchor, and 21st Amendment were available back when I was there. The Internet tells me that Local Brewing, and Russian River are on the menu now, or will be when we are all allowed back in the park.  We had a great time, and I was really impressed when foul balls went into the Bay, and when gulls were dive bombing for hotdogs.  The Giants didn’t win that game, but everyone wins with a 20oz brew and great live entertainment in the sun.  I hope you get to go to your favorite ball park soon! I have a good feeling the 2022 baseball season will be closer to normal.  In the meantime, buy the cardboard cutout for yourself, and make sure you have a beer in your hand to show how much fun you are having!

Cheers to getting back to normal, and in the meantime, live abnormally well, when you can!

This original oil painting, and signed prints are available at my Etsy shop.

Beer at a Giants Baseball Game at AT&T Stadium. 11″x14″, oil on panel, framed.
Maria and I stoked about seeing a Giants game!

The Paintings That Got Censored

You may have noticed that a lot of my beer paintings portray beer labels, which are often registered trademarks, protected by copyright laws, or whatever the legal terminology is. Most breweries are flattered by my paintings, and many of them have bought one, or more, but a few select businesses have decided to hold the letter of the law against me. Well, I haven’t actually been sued (yet), I’ve just received many “cease and desist” notices, and one phone call.  The offended entities include, Heineken, a motorcycle group of thugs (I’d rather not mention its name), Dogfish Head, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and Naturdays.  New Glarus Brewing called me to let me know they’re on to me, but said I could keep selling prints of Spotted Cow as long as I didn’t go too far. To be fair, when I met Sam Calagione at Dogfish Head, he told me he loves my Year of Beer Paintings series, so I think the “cease and desist” had nothing to do with Sam, and came from one of the brewery’s lawyers who had nothing better to do that day. The motorcycle thugs talked about litigation, after I questioned why they asked Etsy to take down my painting of Midnight Sun Brewing’s Fallen Angel only because one of the tags (SEO keywords) mentioned the group’s name. So they extra suck. I deleted the keyword, and renewed the listing.

Art should not be censored!  The art I make with beers from breweries actually helps the breweries sell more beer. It is free and positive advertising. I write a blog post gushing over the brewery whenever I release a new painting. I have to like the beer to spend hours of my time making a painting of it, so of course my review will be positive. Many people who have purchased a beer painting from me have told me they buy way more of that specific beer after they hang the painting. It’s sticklers for the rules that just make life a lot less fun. 

I only have one original oil painting left of the “censored” paintings. The rest all sold before they were discovered by lawyers. This Heineken painting (see below) is 12″ x 24″, oil on panel, framed in a natural wood frame. If anyone wants it, I’ll sell it to you for $195, and domestic shipping is on the house.

I hope you are staying safe, eating right, and drinking quality craft beer!  I toast to the breweries who are supportive of the arts and know that partnerships and collaborations are the way to go!

Heineken in Holland, 12″ x 24″, oil on panel.

Beer Pac-Man

Ready Player One!  Grab your beer and steal those laundry quarters from your roommate for a couple rounds of beer Pac-Man!  This classic yellow hungry fellow wants to go all in and have a few pints.  The Ghosts are stoked because they never have to hide from a drunken Pac-Man.  The corner dots don’t work in this video-game-inspired painting, instead they have become special power-up beers.  Pac-Man thinks he is suave and debonair once he swills a few of these down, but after a six-pack of the yellow fizzies, he is slow and unresponsive.  Not quite a “Game Over,” but definitely a “Bed Time” is happening soon.  Another factor is that after a few of these digital pints Pac-Man thinks Ms. Pac-Man is a perfect 10!

This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at my Etsy shop.

Beer Pac Man by Scott Clendaniel

Beer Pac Man, 8″ x 10″, oil on panel, by Scott Clendaniel

Natty Light Naturdays

Natty-McNatty-Naturdays!  I had a few of these strawberry-lemonade-light-lager-shandies when a friend brought them up to our cabin.  Very refreshing and a nice lower ABV option to swill between double IPAs and imperial stouts.  I love the pink can with the flamingo motif, which is why I chose to put this can in the Flamingo Hotel’s Flamingo Habitat in Las Vegas.  It actually is a pretty good version of a shandy, not as sweet as you might imagine.  For that matter, regular Natural Light is okay, just do me a favor and don’t ever buy the Natural ICE, it tastes like acetone.  Cheers to friends, pink cans of beer, and the love of Saturday!  Get natural this weekend and have a Naturdays!

This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at my Etsy shop.

Naturdays Beer Painting by Scott Clendaniel

Natural Light Naturdays. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Polygamy Porter by Wasatch Brewery

I love traveling, and one of the best things about going to new places is seeking out new beers.  Utah is one of my favorite destinations, but for skiing and mountains, not for the beer.  There is some good beer to be found, but the strict alcohol rules make it difficult to purchase, or consume at most establishments.  Luckily, last year they finally upped the percentage a bit, and now you can find 5% beers on draft.  I have been asked to paint the Polygamy Porter for a long time, but until I actually went to Salt Lake City, I had a hard time coming up with a concept for the painting.  When I finally went there last year, we visited Temple Square, where the Salt Lake Temple is located, and took a picture of the monumental temple with the intention of using it for a painting of Polygamy Porter.  This beer is made as a tongue and cheek brew.  The motto for the beer is, “Why have just one?”  This painting is also made to be tongue and cheek, please don’t take it too seriously.  When I was painting it, I was totally concerned that I might offend people, so my answer is please don’t be offended, it’s just a joke.

Cheers to Polygamy Porter!  May the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints take my ribbing and Wasatch’s porter the right way, in good humor, if not in good “spirits.”

The original oil painting sold, but limited-edition prints are available at my Etsy shop.

Polygamy Porter beer painting by Scott Clendaniel

Polygamy Porter by Wasatch Brewery. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Gary’s Retirement Beer – “The Adult” Dunkelweizen

beer label design by artist scott clendaniel the adult

When I tell people I’m the Beer Artist, they immediately think I make beer labels.  I have to explain that I am an oil painter and I make paintings of beers.  I have only made three official beer labels during my career so far, and two have been for special one-off beers for Midnight Sun Brewing Co.  Former MSBC Chef, Chris Hilliard, and I brewed a Dopplebock called Feast with the brewing team.  It was barrel aged in whiskey barrels.  I made a special painting for the label with Alaskan animals drinking and feasting.  When I heard MSBC’s General Manager Gary Busse, a.k.a. “The Adult,” was retiring, I asked if he had plans for a special retirement beer.  He said, “Yes, a dunkelweizen.”  I was excited about it, and said, “I have to do a special label for that!”

What most people don’t know is that Gary has been instrumental to my beer artist career.  In 2006 I made a series of paintings called the Color of Beer, which was the first time I ever painted beer.  The show was a huge success, not because I sold any work at the actual art show at Noble’s Diner, but because when I drove the paintings around town after the art show, I sold them at local breweries and at the home-brew shop.  During a stop at the original MSBC location on Arctic Blvd I sold 3 of the 10 paintings!  Two to Gary and another one to a customer who just happened to be getting a growler filled.  It was because of this type of success that I made my second beer art series, 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.  It took me years to complete the small paintings and then I had no idea where to show the large body of work.  I had grandiose plans to house the show in the Lower 48 (what Alaskan’s call the Continental US), and I had a long back and forth email conversation with Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co.  When that failed, I imagined Deschutes Brewing being the location for the show.  Bend is where beer is more plentiful than water.  When I visited the brewery, I couldn’t figure out where I would hang the pieces.  Two years passed while I was searching for a location and I was chatting with Gary at the new MSBC Loft and asked what they had in mind for art.  Gary explained that Barb Miller was going to do a rotating show every month and have a First Friday event called First Firkin Friday.

A firkin is a 10 gallon keg that is cask conditioned, i.e. fermented just enough in the keg to cause carbonation naturally.  MSBC uses a pin for First Firkin Friday , which is a 5 gallon version of the firkin.  Gary told me he would put a good word in for me with Barb, but that it was a long shot, because she had a specific vision.  Barb and I hit it off, and she made me wait until January to have the show, because it was the first ever AK Beer Week!  The show was a huge success, and I owe it to Gary and Barb!  The following year Gary purchased a large beer painting I made for the next show at MSBC called Another Round, which consisted entirely of MSBC beer paintings.  I continue to make beer paintings today, and completed my most famous series called the Year of Beer three years after the 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.  I showed this series at MSBC as well.

Gary is the General Manager at MSBC.  His nickname at the brewery is “The Adult.”  He is the one who has kept MSBC profitable and in business.  After art shows at MSBC Gary is the guy who writes and signs my checks.  He has worked there for nearly 20 years!  When I asked him what to do for his retirement beer label, he said it had to be a portrait of him with a bunch of kids running loose in the tasting room.  He said the beer would be called “The Adult,” and that it was going to be a dunkelweizen, his favorite style.  I am not a portrait artist and I have had some mixed reactions to my portraits over the years, and I mentioned this at our art meeting.  I gave it my best shot and Gary was slightly disappointed with my first attempt at his portrait.  He said the likeness maked him look like Butt-head, from Beavis and Butt-head.  I gave it another try, working from a new picture that Gary send me of himself, and I finally got it right on the third try.  The  other characters on the label represent employees at Midnight Sun Brewing Co.  It’s pretty easy to identify Davey with his mohawk and Barb struggling over toys with Mark.  I imagined the girl in pink to represent some of the servers, and the others as brewers and workers over the ages.  I know I missed many important MSBC people, but they are represented whether the likenesses are to be found or not.  Leave it to “The Adult” to keep them in line. 

beer painting for beer label design for the adult by scott clendaniel

The painting that I made for the label, which will be a retirement gift for him from me.

What will MSBC do without this parental figure to check everyone and keep the brewery in the black?  Luckily, Gary passed most of his knowledge to Jamie Schmitt, who has big shoes to fill.  I am sure there will be many memories yet to be made at this iconic brewery in Anchorage, Alaska.  With so many great beers and such a high quality bistro, MSBC has found its recipe for success!  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!  I love going to MSBC and love adorning the walls with my paintings every June and January!  Cheers to Gary!

beer label design by beer artist scott clendaniel

Gary with his retirement beer.

beer artist scott clendaniel with beer label design

Of course I had to get a few cans!

Don’t Hang Your Beer Paintings in the Bathroom!

We often hear of masterpieces getting stolen from museums, but how often have you heard about a painting getting stolen from a brewery’s bathroom?  Well, in Anchorage, it happened twice, and both times the paintings were Clendaniel originals!  I’m flattered just a little, but mostly very disappointed with these people’s choices, or maybe just one person’s.
When I was doing the Year of Beer project, Gabe Fletcher, the owner of Anchorage Brewing Co., purchased a few beer paintings, and when he built his new brewery, he hung a painting in each bathroom.  Then one day, the painting from the men’s room was gone!  It was of Calabaza Boreal, a collaboration brew by Anchorage Brewing and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.  It was a hard piece to make, because it had two different incarnations and I depicted both bottles in the painting.  Gabe put out a plea for the thief to hang the art back on the wall, and no questions would be asked.  The painting hasn’t been seen since.  Gabe bought another painting from me of the Experiment, to replace that one, but he didn’t hang it in the bathroom.
Fast forward a couple years, and the thief strikes again!  Maybe it was a different person.  We don’t know.  This time the scene of the crime was the bathroom at Odd Man Rush Brewing Co. in Eagle River.  Last year I painted a piece live in the taproom, and one of the owners purchased it, and hung it in one of the unisex bathrooms.  Several months later, the painting mysteriously disappeared.  Ironically, the beer painting was of the Enforcer IPA.
So the lesson is, don’t hang your 8″x10″ Clendaniel beer art in public bathrooms at your drinking establishment!  I don’t have a problem with the location, I like having my artwork displayed basically anywhere, as long as it is visible to people.  The problem I have with public restrooms is that people seem to believe the artwork on the walls is a free gift.
After hearing that the piece was yanked, I contacted the owners of Odd Man Rush, and set up a date to paint a new one at the brewery.  I completed this painting last Sunday of Enforcer IPA, while sipping on a couple delicious brews, including the NEIPA, and when I was done painting the glass and the beer, I got to drink the Enforcer while painting the background.

Odd Man Rush Brewery Eagle River Alaska Scott Clendaniel beer artist beer painting

The new painting to replace the one that was stolen.

If you see either one of those stolen paintings, please grab it back for the rightful owners.  If you would like to return the stolen pieces, because you made a bad decision while you were a little tipsy, just put them back in the bathrooms, no questions asked.
Cheers to honesty!  Please don’t steal art, just contact me, and I’ll paint your favorite beer… no questions asked.