It should come as no surprise that a brewery named after a freshwater sport fish will carry fish-themed beer names. But Muskellunge Brewing Co. owner and brewer Frank Estremera is making sure his new Canton brewery will contain fish artwork, too.

He has commissioned Canton artist BZTAT (pronounced Bee-Zee-Tat) -- who's also known as Vicki Boatright -- to create fish paintings for his beer menu. She also designed the Muskellunge logo.

The beer-fish or fish-beer art, which involves acrylic paint on wooden boards, will include Yellow Perch Cream Ale, Rock Bass Honey Nut Brown and Braun Forelle Roggenbier.

"I have a technique of laying the paint and that makes an interesting texture and that's what these are," BZTAT said.



BZTAT is known for creating colorful pet portraits in pop art and contemporary folk styles. Freshwater fish presented a particular challenge. Freshwater fish aren't exactly known for their bright colors, which the artists uses. Silver gray anyone?

BZTAT describes freshwater fish as "drab."

"I am constantly challenging myself to make not just a portrait and not just a pretty picture for somebody but also something that could stand on its own as a valid artwork," BZTAT said. "And the fish are kind of a new challenge for me which I've been enjoying. I've never really painted fish before."

Not to say she and fish are strangers. She grew up in a household with fish tanks and exotic fish, and loved watching them.

"They are just interesting visually," BZTAT said.



It's also the first time that she's worked with a brewery, having made the connection through a friendship with Esterema, who took up fishing at age 4 and has a masterís degree in industrial pharmacy. (You can read more about his brewery and story behind the Muskellunge name by clicking here.) His brewery carries the tagline: Inspired by nature and crafted by science.

"I like beer but I never would have thought of connecting with a connoisseur of beer," BZTAT said. "But life takes you in different directions and challenges. I really admire Frank's approach to making beer and the whole connection of fish to beer."

Muskellunge, a nanobrewery located at 425 Fifth St. SW, hopes to be serving beer in mid-June.