Beer Label of the Month: North Coast’s Scrimshaw

This month’s beer label has been around even longer than last month’s Sierra Nevada Hoptimum label. Quite a bit longer actually. North Coast Brewing has been making Scrimshaw since they got started in 1988. From Wikipedia:

Scrimshaw is the name given to scrollwork, engravings, and carvings done in bone or ivory. Typically it refers to the handiwork created by whalers made from the byproducts of harvesting marine mammals. It is most commonly made out of the bones and teeth of sperm whales, the baleen of other whales, and the tusks of walruses. It takes the form of elaborate engravings in the form of pictures and lettering on the surface of the bone or tooth, with the engraving highlighted using a pigment, or, less often, small sculptures made from the same material.


North Coast’s Scrimshaw Pilsner has a simple label depicting a sperm whale tooth with a scrimshaw engraving of a sperm whale. The artist is the late JD Mayhew, a well known Mendocino Coast artist. The whale seems to be rushing through the ocean water in the intricate engraving.


North Coast Brewing is located on California’s north coast in Fort Bragg. I’ve been to Fort Bragg many times and the first stop is always North Coast Brewing for a delicious meal and a pint or three. Scrimshaw is one of my favorite pilsners. It has bready cereal malt backbone that is missing from macro lagers and even many other craft brewery lagers. From North Coast’s web site:

Scrimshaw is a fresh tasting Pilsner brewed in the finest European tradition using Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops. Scrimshaw has a subtle hop character, a crisp, clean palate, and a dry finish.

North Coast is one of those rare breweries that only makes excellent beers. Other favorites of theirs include Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Le Merle Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, and their new Puck Saison. You can’t go wrong with any of their brews so grab one next time you see it on the shelf, or better yet head to scenic Fort Bragg and check out the brewery. They have a good tour, pleasant gift shop, and tasty food.

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