Mug Shots

An Oregon microbrew hits the art market

By Kasey Cordell November 9, 2009 Published in the December 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

We all know beer comes in shades of blond, amber, brown, and red. But when you look really closely—as in, with a microscope—you’ll find a universe of greens, blues, and even fuchsia. The fantastical pattern in the frame above is a microscopic portrait of Oregon’s own Rogue American Amber Ale, shot using a microscope outfitted with a polarized light. These so-called “bev shots,” which can be purchased as prints for your wall, are created by crystallizing the beer (or any other kind of booze), then photographing it after it’s been magnified up to 30 times. Michael Davidson, a research scientist at Florida’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, launched the project in the mid-1990s, when he started printing images of booze on neckties and selling them (a perfect fit for the land of Miami Vice and CSI). The shots don’t come cheap: BevShots commands about $2,000 from drink-makers to commission an original microportrait. Davidson has shot dozens of beers and spirits from around the country, but the Rogue American Amber Ale will be the only local brew available for public purchase—prints start at $19.99—when it goes on sale on this July. Move over Playboy calendars, black-light posters, and Matrix screen-savers: brewski art is takin’ over.

Filed under
Show Comments