President Donald Trump was elected a year ago this month, and many people seem to be reacting by drinking more.
But since it’s 2017 and everything is hyperpolitical now, it should come as no surprise that some breweries have gotten in on the commentary.
Craft beer has always been political, of course, but mostly for its own good. The industry has long lobbied for looser regulations, lower alcohol taxes and issues like that. But recently we’re starting to see more branching out into issues that don’t affect the bottom line.
Raleigh’s Trophy Brewing Company got into politics before Trump took office, which isn’t too surprising if you know that one of the owners, David Meeker, is the son of former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker.
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The brewery has a giant anti-gerrymandering mural painted on the side. While the Republicans in state government are the ones gerrymandering electoral lines in their favor these days, Democrats also gerrymandered the state for decades prior. Trophy’s mural fairly includes both a donkey and an elephant.
Breweries have also been home to events that remind us the word pub is short for “public house.” A recent example came earlier this month when state Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady came to Appalachian Mountain Brewing’s Henderson location to speak out against gerrymandering to a packed house.
But then there’s national politics. As Trump has continued airing his anti-press views, two other local breweries have brewed beers that give a nod to his attacks.
Fortnight Brewing in Cary made Malternative Facts, a Scottish ale that will have you drunk-dialing your friends only to claim that no, they called you and that actually you’re perfectly sober.
Gizmo Brew Works in Raleigh followed a similar path, making a beer called Fake News.
They claim it’s a New England IPA, but I read in the New York Times that it’s actually a Russian Imperial Stout.
“This brew was ‘alternatively’ hopped to restrain the bitterness in order to Make Juiciness Great Again!” the brewery wrote in July when they released it. “Caliente, Mosaic, Citra and El Dorado collude to provide a huge aroma of peaches, oranges and tropical fruits. Sure it’s hazy in appearance, but ironically, one sip and the facts become clear. Covfefe.”
Speaking of which, Catawba Brewing Company in Morganton filed to trademark the term “Covfefe” for beer a few months ago, although they don’t appear to have brewed it since then. (In fairness, they’ve been busy at Catawba lately, with the recent announcement they’re buying Palmetto Brewing, the oldest craft brewery in South Carolina.)
Finally, you can’t talk about politics in 2017 without talking about crazy conspiracy theories.
When the Flat Earth Society held its its annual conference this month in Cary – yes, that actually happened – Durham’s Starpoint Brewing livestreamed the various speakers and invited people over for a release of an IPA called Tinfoil Hat, “to celebrate the resistance to knowledge.”
It’ll wash the taste of chemtrails right out of your mouth, and it’s safe for both regular humans and lizard people to drink.
And Starpoint had a pitch for its release event that was as hard to pass up as a Hillary Clinton-sponsored backroom uranium deal.
“Stop letting people tell you that you are wrong because of their liberal science,” the brewery’s Facebook page implored. “Meet like-minded geniuses. See you there.”
What a time to be alive. At least there’s beer.
Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @will_doran