Beer Man

As the Election Approaches, Some Breweries Offer Pints of Politics

As the Election Approaches, Some Breweries Offer Pints of Politics
Novel Strand Brewing

Maybe you don't like politics with your beer. Or maybe you think small businesses should stay above the ideological fray so that they don't alienate one group of potential customers while catering to another. It's an understandable take, but one that really isn't possible anymore in a country that is now truly divided.

Even the simplest choices — such as what organization to donate money to or whether or not to support the Black Lives Matter movement or enforce mask rules — can have repercussions. With that "damned if you do, damned if you don't" environment as the background, a few breweries are putting politics on tap. Others are simply encouraging people to vote, including Arvada's Luki Brewery, which is offering people the chance to vote on the style characteristics for its yet-to-be-brewed Democracy IPA, which will be released on November 3 — election day. (Hurry, though, because voting on the beer ends tomorrow, October 14).

"We are...days away from the very last chance to raise your hand and add your voice to the collective opinion of where we as a people would like to go," writes Baere Brewing, which joined with nearby Novel Strand Brewing to make a hop-filled double IPA called Democracy Now Or: How Beer Helped Beat Back Fascism in 2020.

click to enlarge LUKI BREWERY
Luki Brewery
The two breweries haven't endorsed a candidate — and Baere and Novel Strand are careful to point out that a QR code on the beer can simply directs people to "all things voting-registration, deadlines, options, polling places, and how to volunteer." But since this is 2020, even taking a stand against fascism — which wouldn't have been seen as a Democratic or Republican issue in the past — appears to have broken down along party lines.

Raices Brewing, meanwhile, made Vota, an American-style cream ale, in collaboration with the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder. The goal of the beer and of the Ballots & Beer partnership is to encourage people to register to vote and to "remind the community to exercise their right to vote," the brewery says.

Then there's Denver Beer Co., which created its F*UCKING VOTE campaign two weeks ago, complete with yard signs and Crowler labels, and followed up this week with FLY.P.A, which pokes humorous fun at Vice President Mike Pence, who spent part of the most recent debate with a fly on his head.

click to enlarge DENVER BEER CO.
Denver Beer Co.
Of course, DBC has put politics at the forefront of its messaging next door at Cerveceria Colorado, which the brewery opened two years ago as a way to "build bridges, not walls" and to create beers that focused on Mexican ingredients and collaborated with Mexican breweries. Message received.

And speaking of fun, Diebolt Brewing released StrawBIGLY last week. Taking aim at some of the reality-star-in-chief's verbal gaffes, the beer boasts "a spectacular nose of strawberry, fruit and a little funk. It’s flavor is tremendous with some YUGE strawberry, spice, and a little barrel (the barrels were big though, the biggest, believe me) followed by the most amazing tart finish, with a lingering breadiness. It’s so big it’s BIGLY.”

It would be hard not to mention Trump Hands, a session IPA that Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden cooked up during the last election and has since won a couple of GABF medals.

click to enlarge DIEBOLT BREWING
Diebolt Brewing
Want more? "To make it easy for breweries in Colorado to inspire their customers to register and vote," Brewery Finance, Craft Beer Professionals, and local brewery PR specialist Marty Jones have launched Tap the Vote, a non-partisan social media campaign that you can find at "For breweries and beer bars that want to promote the program through their tap rooms with Tap the Vote stickers for to-go beers, Sticker Giant is providing free Tap the Vote stickers to interested Colorado breweries," the campaign says.

And finally, Burns Family Artisan Ales plans to "celebrate our democracy at work," on November 1 with a new American Common-style beer "made for common people," the brewery says. Commonalities is a 4.5 percent ABV beer that will be available at this ticketed event; $10 gets you two sixteen-ounce pours. Wear your I Voted sticker to the brewery and get $2 off your tab.

Oh, and you might heed the brewery's warning — both at the brewery and in life: "We are a non-partisan establishment. Thoughtful discussion is encouraged. Loud partisan rants will be actively discouraged, and those seeking to discomfort others will be asked to leave, no refunds."
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes