Beer is blessedly silent on partisan politics, its only allegiance being to taste. Brewers of this apolitical beverage, though, have been known to throw their weight _ and their funds _ behind political candidates.
In the current campaign cycle, Big Beer backs Republicans while smaller breweries tilt Democratic.
Since January, August Busch III, Anheuser-Busch’s retired chairman, has bestowed more than a half million dollars on Republican causes. Major donations include the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($139,450); Texans for a Conservative Majority ($115,000); the National Republican Congressional Committee ($35,500); and Mike Rounds, the junior U.S. senator from South Dakota ($5,600).
Retired Molson Coors chairman Pete Coors has donated $79,200, all to the GOP. Most went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($39,400) and the National Republican Congressional Committee ($25,000). While this Colorado resident gave to that state’s Republican committee ($10,000) and U.S. senator (Cory Gardner, $5,600), he also contributed to incumbent Republicans from other states, including Kentucky (Mitch McConnell, $5,600).
Democratic presidential hopeful John Hickenlooper received more than $10,000 from breweries and brewery employees, including $2,800 from Kim Jordan, founder of New Belgium, and $2,800 from Goose Island founder John Hall. Hickenlooper, who dropped out of the race last week, is a former Colorado governor and founder of Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing.
California supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, include Jacob McKean, founder of San Diego’s Modern Times ($1,041) and G. Eric Anaya of Oakland’s Temescal Brewing ($243).
Mayor Pete Buttigieg is backed by Barry Braden, co-owner of Berkeley, Calif.’s Fieldwork Brewing ($250).
Who, if anyone, are your favorite brewers backing? To find out, check the Center for Responsive Politics’ website, opensecrets.org.
What’s a double IPA? A triple IPA?
These terms indicate a beer’s potency, but they are not intended as exact measurements. Pliny the Elder (8% alcohol by volume) is Russian River’s double IPA, but it’s not twice as potent as Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA (6.25%). Neither is Pliny the Younger, the brewery’s legendary triple IPA (11%).
The amount of alcohol associated with “double” and “triple” varies from brewery to brewery. Port Brewing’s triple IPA, Hop 15, is 10%, not 11.
Don’t expect precision from these terms. Do expect triple IPAs to pack more of a punch than double IPAs, and double IPAs more than standard IPAs.
Kings of Beer
If you take a continental approach, Saint Archer’s Hoppy Pilsner (5.1% alcohol by volume) is exactly what you’d expect. This is a crisp, summer-weight beer with snappy herbal Europeans hops giving it just enough kick at the end. The first entry in the Miramar brewery’s pilot program, Hoppy Pilsner is available for a limited time in Saint Archer’s tasting rooms.
Why a continental approach? Because this is not a West Coast-style lager. Rather than tangy, resiny Pacific Northwest hops, the varieties used here are softer, more herbal, delivering a gentler beer.
If you’ve pub-crawled in the United Kingdom, you know Greene King. With 2,700 pubs across Old Blighty, this 220-year-old brewery was as British as afternoon tea and crumpets.
Since last week, though, that tea may have been lapsang souchong. Sold to Kong Kong’s CKA for $3.3 billion, Greene King is the latest reminder that the international beer industry is undergoing a massive consolidation. After all, it was just a month ago that Fuller’s, the British brewer dubbed “the Pride of Chiswick,” sold its beverage line to Japan’s Asahi.