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Drink Democrat or Republican? Half Moon Bay 'Alection' Begins

Brewing Company invites public to weigh in on presidential choice with a beer.

Voters won't have to wait until June to signal who their favorite Republican candidate is in this year's presidential election — nor wait until November to choose a Democrat or Republican for the Oval Office.

"Beerocracy" in action has arrived in Half Moon Bay.

With its trademark tongue-in-cheek humor mixing beer and politics, the unveiled dueling partisan beer bottle labels on Tuesday for its second Presidential Alection.

This isn't the first time the restaurant and brew pub located next to has bottled political beer since the 2008 election. In Oct. 2010, the Brewing Company sent five bottles of their beer to then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other California leaders as a way to celebrate passing the state budget after being 100 days overdue.

"We thought it would be an interesting thing to do to get people talking about about what's going on in Sacramento,"  Brewing Company founder and owner Lenny Mendonca told Half Moon Bay Patch shortly after Budgetary Alement had been released.

While one Presidential Alection bottle features a photo of 2012 candidate President Barack Obama against a Democratic blue background, a white silhouette against a Republican rust-colored background is printed on the second bottle.

Though the bottle labels are decidedly partisan, the beer inside is politically neutral. In-house brewmaster Kirk Hillyard's Pillar Point Ale (a traditional English-style Pale Ale that is "well-hopped and nutty, not unlike the current battle for the Republican seat," according to the Brewing Company) is featured inside both Democratic and Republican bottles. Hillyard makes the ale with English Maris Otter malt and East Kent Goldings hops. 

Whether Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or Ron Paul's face will appear on the final version of the brew pub's Republican bottle is a mystery for now. On June 6, the day after the California presidential primary, the Brewing Company will release the bottle label featuring the Republican party's nominee and announce the winner of the Alection primary on its website and Facebook page.

In the meantime, Brewing Company customers can vote for who they believe should or will win the presidential primaries and/or general election by ordering the Alection Democrat or Republican beer and asking their server for a ballot.

In 2008, the Brewing Company's Obama Ale got four times more votes than the McCain Ale. Whether the results of the second Alection will be as prescient as the first is anyone's guess now, but in the meantime, it seems likely that "beerocracy" in action will jumpstart a series of political discussions in the months to come.

Join the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for their monthly Brews and Views talk on Feb. 2 at the Mavericks Event Center (107 Broadway Ave., Half Moon Bay) from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. This month's topic is “The Power of Deliberative Polling." James Fishkin of the Center of Deliberative Diplomacy at Stanford University and Zabrae Valentine of California Forward are guest speakers. The moderator will be Lenny Mendonca, Director of McKinsey & Company and founder of the Brewing Company.

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