PsycHOPathy IPA by MadTree Brewing

Label Approval by | May 2016 | Issue #112

PsycHOPathy wasn’t the first Rorschach-style inkblot Margaret Weiner created. The first was in elementary school, somewhere between watercolors and potato stamps. Designing MadTree Brewing’s flagship IPA can took a little more research.

“I experimented with different techniques of producing them, and challenged myself to be able to control the outcomes,” says Weiner. “To me, working out how to solve a creative problem is always the most thrilling part of the creative process.”

“For PsycHOPathy, we wanted to communicate some of the madness behind the name and use a color scheme that reflects the bright citrus and grassy hop character,” says MadTree’s Mike Stuart.

It was an ambitious project. “Figuring out how to marry a psychopath with a tree in a way that would register immediately and would be visually interesting and would look good on a can was very challenging and very fun,” says Weiner. “Bonus points, as far as I was concerned, if I could also incorporate hops into the image.”

Weiner ultimately created a sketch that combined the shape of a hop bud, a “maniacal face,” and branches and roots. Then she made a composite of her inkblot experiments in Photoshop to resemble the sketch.

“Everyone sees something a little different,” says Stuart. “As you dissect the image, it appears to be a series of trees, and if you turn it sideways, you might see a group of trees on a pond with a reflection. It’s really in the eye of the beholder.”

Weiner is one of several locals the Cincinnati brewery has tapped to design its packaging since opening in 2013. “Working with local artists is important to retain our connection with the community,” says Stuart. “They are a reflection of the diversity of our community and express that in their art.”

Working with MadTree was a “dream project,” says Weiner. “It’s refreshing beyond belief to devote my brain and my craft to the identity of a flavor.”