Commander in Craft – How Trump Has Left a Mark on Craft Beer

Commander in Craft – How Trump Has Left a Mark on Craft Beer

President Donald Trump may very well be the most influential human on Earth; an influence that has spilled over into craft beer.

Love him or hate him, the President of the United States is an impactful figure, regardless of who is assuming the position. Has there been a more polarizing Commander in Chief than Donald Trump? Divisive, alienating, discordant, mobilizing, charismatic, impactful and stirring are all words that come to mind when thinking about Donald Trump (all for better or worse, depending on who you ask). It seems that no matter where you go (on Earth), who you talk to, or what you’re talking about, Donald Trump has a likely chance of coming up in conversation. Donald Trump has not only impacted society and politics in extreme ways, his impact and influence has entered into the sphere of craft beer.

Craft beer is an art form. Politics and art have gone hand in hand since the dawn of humanity. As a social studies teacher, I love analyzing the interaction between politics, society and art in all of its mediums. From political cartoons, to billboards, commercials, anti-government protest music, poetry, paintings and more, it is fascinating to interpret political statements through artistic creations. This of course extends to craft beer. Brewers have the unique challenge of properly matching their carefully brewed beer to a poignant, relevant, catchy name for their label. Since he exploded onto the political scene in 2014, it seems that President Trump has been quite the muse for brewers around the world.

There have been a number of craft breweries all over the world that have dedicated and devoted new, interesting craft beers to honor the 45th President of the United States. A new fascinating way to make a political statement, nearly all of the beers featured in this piece are a form of political protest in nature. It’s an interesting exercise to look beyond these creative and fun labels and names and analyze who the brewers are and their motivations for creating such beers.

Chinga tu Pelo – 5 Rabit Cerveceria

American Blonde Ale – 4.8%

The story behind 5 Rabit’s Chinga tu Pelo (Fuck Your Hair) is captivating.  You may remember Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign announcement, when he came out swinging with this:

In response, 5 Rabbit Cervecería, a Latin-inspired and Latin-owned craft brewery, had been producing a house beer exclusively for the Trump Tower in Chicago, to serve as their house Blonde Ale. The following morning 5 Rabbit informed their business contact at Trump Tower that they could no longer do business with them. Rather than dump numerous kegs of the blonde ale, resulting in a huge financial loss, 5 Rabbit called upon their local contacts in the bar industry and asked if there was any interest to buy the remaining kegs. The response was viral. By the end of the day, all of the kegs were spoken for, and the blonde ale was redubbed Chinga tu Pelo, or, Fuck Your Hair.

We would be doing an injustice to the community we serve (and live in) by engaging in business with someone who does not accept our role in society and expresses a rhetoric of hate and ignorance towards us. On a personal level, if I did, one of the things that scares me the most is sending the wrong message to my daughters. We are active members of this immigrant community and we need to stand up for ourselves, and more importantly, for those who do not have the voice or means to do so. The very foundation of the United States of America was built on acceptance and inclusion. That is what drew us here, and that´s what why we feel so strongly about this. As a company, an integral part of our vision reads that we are “not only based in, but also look to promote a strong and positive image of Latin America, its heritage and people.” It would be hypocritical of us to sustain the relationship. — Andrés Araya, founder

According to 5 Rabbit, the protest isn’t over.  From 5 Rabbit, as a means of continuing the vision of the beer, and their larger vision of solidarity towards Latinos and Latinas, and other victims of prejudice and oppression, they are pleased to announce the Chinga Tu Pelo Collection: a series of products, apparel, and prints by Chicago-based graphic designer Zach Harris.

Each month a portion of the sales of all products in the collection will go to support a charity that aligns with their vision for solidarity, inclusiveness, and a rejection of the rhetoric of prejudice and hate.

While 5 Rabbit may have started this anti-Trump trend in craft beer, they certainly were not the last to board the Trump Train.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Drumpf – Dock Street Brewery

“Short-Fingered” Stout – 4.5%

In the midst of the 2016 primary season, comedian and HBO host of Last Week Tonight John Oliver aired an episode devoted to then-candidate Trump in which he informs the world of an alternate namesake for Donald Trump.

The “Drumpf” phenomenon was born. All over social media, the hashtag #drumpf was trending internationally. This craze was felt in craft beer as well.

Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewery capitalized on the Drumpf hype with their own “Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Drumpf” “short fingered” stout. A jab that pokes fun at an infamous clash between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio concerning the size of Trump’s hands and…ahem…other appendages.

According to Dock Street:

“Beer has always, throughout history, been a key ingredient in the recipe for revolutionary ideas. In that spirit, we’re brewing this series to declare our disdain for Drumpf, and to extend a little nod of solidarity to our friends, fans and neighbors that also believe the country deserves better representation – on a national and international platform – in the race to be Commander in Chief. We just can’t wrap our well-coiffed heads around a candidate who encourages his supporters to attack protesters at his rallies, wants to limit access to the U.S. based on religion, and flagrantly manipulates facts and data. Oh yeah, and that ridiculous wall idea? Come on.”

The goal of Dock Street is to use Friend’s Don’t Let Friends Vote Drumpf as a springboard into political activism. They encourage politically motivated individuals to come to the brewery and engage in spirited debate, conversation and activism.

Dumb Donald – Spiteful Brewing

Double IPA – 9.2%

Perhaps the most blunt in its approach, Dumb Donald, a double IPA from Spiteful Brewing (who’s namesake is well given) is a searing shot at you know who, and unlike some of the other breweries who take a tongue-in-cheek, around-the-bush, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named approach to their anti-Trump brews, Spiteful Brewing pulls no punches. Dumb Donald, and the description on its label is about as spiteful as it gets.

“Dumb Donald is well, dumb. So dumb in fact, we named a beer after him. It’s like he got caught in a pause half way through evolution. His brain still functions, at a minimal level with a vocabulary of a second grade student. You might even start to feel sorry for this man-child. Resist that urge, pop open this key lime DIPA and pretend you’re on a far away island where people like Dumb Donald simply don’t exist.”

Ouch. There is something…American about this, though, isn’t there? In some corners of the world, you’d be shipped away to a work camp or a Siberian gulag for even thinking about exercising this much free speech.

Interestingly enough, rather than aiming to make a political statement about Trump specifically, Spiteful Brewing founders Jason and Brad insist it is more of a social commentary.

People are actually mostly misunderstanding it. It’s not a political statement about him as much as a social commentary on ignorance and hate. We came up with the name to stand for ignorance and made him the spokesperson. He made it easy for us. We started with the label looking more like Trump, but actually dialed it back because we didn’t want it to be so explicitly him. It’s about the things he stands for, and some of the outrageous and hateful things he has said. – Jason Klein

Makin’ Noise – Goldspot Brewing (et all)

Saison – 9%

One of the most infamous moments of the Presidential campaign came when Access Hollywood tapes of Donald Trump were released in which he made crude remarks towards women.

The remarks proved not be overly damaging to Trump’s Presidential hopes, however, it irreparably (further) tarnished his reputation with many groups, but especially women.

In response to this revelation, a collection of Colorado’s women brewers joined forces to brew Makin’ Noise: a Pussy Riot Beer; an imperial saison clocking in around 9% ABV.

Alyssa Hoberer (left), Betsy Lay, Katie Cochrane, Kelissa Hieber and Bess Dougherty

Courtesy of a article (linked), “The beer takes its name from Pussy Riot, the Russian punk band and political activist performance group that spawned a movement that has gained new fans in the United States recently, Dougherty says. “The goal is to effect change through art with whatever tools you have. We are brewers, so our tool is beer.”

An imperial saison aged on ninety pounds of strawberry purée, that beer will come in at between 8 and 9 percent ABV. Dougherty and Heiber picked the style because fruit beers are typically associated with women, but they wanted to turn that notion on its head by making one that packs a punch. “It will look like a delicate beer, but it will knock you on your ass,” Dougherty says. It will also be bright red, which will tie it into the name as well — in an in-your-face, menstrual kind of way.

In a post on Facebook, two of the brewers crafted a statement:

We felt it necessary to take action and decided to use our art to make our voices heard. We are coming out in support of those most at risk in our community and doing what we can to stand together as a united voice against hate and intolerance. This beer works to combat the hate and oppression while also lending support and solidarity to the fight for equality. We believe in this beautiful community, and we feel it is necessary to work together to protect it.We believe in an America that celebrates its diversity, an America that protects and supports anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, identity, race, religious views or immigration status. We condemn the hate that has always existed against marginalized groups, and we will not stand for the new strong wave hitting our country.

The proceeds from Makin’ Noise went towards a number of charities ranging from LGBTQ groups, to groups related to the ACLU, Environmental advocacy groups and more.

Fake News Ale – Northern Maverick Brewing Company

Pale Ale – 4.5%

One of the hallmarks of Donald Trump’s political career has been the calling into question of the validity of mainstream media. Trump has repeatedly lambasted the media as reporting “fake news” to the American people; a tactic that has been (if you look at my social media feeds) overwhelmingly, shockingly successful. As a teacher, one of my responsibilities is to teach my students how to source reliable information – a skills perhaps more necessary now than ever before.

According to Northern Maverick, the ale pairs well with “small hands, striking comb overs, and huuuge egos, and all things Mexican.” For each can of the beer sold, the brewery says it will donate five percent of sales to help the United States “reverse a questionable policy.” The brewery says it will allow consumers to vote on which cause will receive the donation.

Jason Kaptyn, founder of Northern Maverick, in a recent interview found on Yahoo! had this to say about Fake News Ale:

“We are going to provide a list of charitable causes on our website that can be voted on by the public. People can also write in a cause if they wish. The charities that we suggest for voting will focus on areas that have been hurt by the current administration’s policies.”

For a nation known for its almost sickening “niceness”, this beer is quite the character-shift for Canada! The love-fest relationship that has historically existed between the United States and Canada has certainly become more complex, and it now seems that the nation that served as the butt for jokes may have swapped.

Trump – Pravda Beer Theatre

Imperial Mexican Lager – 7.2%

One of the lingering topics of interest in the Trump era is his alleged connections with Russia in an election-tampering investigation. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Mother Russia lies Ukrainian brewery Pravda Beer Theatre, creators of the mysteriously named “Trump” ale. A probably not-so-coincidently styled Imperial Mexican Lager, this 7.2% is made in devotion to “President of the Divided States of America” Donald Trump.

The absurdity of this election season could not be contained to the American homeland, no, even our international friends have found humor in our political pleasantries. Pravda’s humorous description of Trump gives me hope that we can all find something to smile and laugh about in these times, regardless of your political appetite.

In ‘celebration’ of such an infamous presidency, Pravda found the perfect beer pairing for President Donald Trump – an Imperial Mexican Lager with Limes. Refreshing, with that beautiful hint of natural lime flavor, this beer will make you build a wall around your own heart, just like the only president in the history of humanity to do the same. Let’s all cheers in scorning to an unpredictable future. – Description of Trump Ale

In all fairness, Pravda Beer Theatre does have an entire series of politically-based brews, one, in fact, made in homage to Trump’s predecessor.

One wonders if Trump will be offended to know that Putin’s beer is stronger than his.

 Amigous Cerveza –  Casa Cervecera Cru Cru

Imperial IPA – 8%

Amigous Cerveza, a purposeful misspelling of “amigo”, or “friend” (to mimic how Americans say the word), is another biting jab at President Trump. Perhaps more extreme than any of the previous entries, Amigous depicts President Trump as a sad mariachi with a swastika on his belt buckle. If you look closely enough, you may even see a beautifully embroidered message in script across the brim of his fancy hat. Secretly located on the reverse of the label, the beer takes one final shot at Trump in saying that he belongs in a madhouse not The White House.

The brew was created in partnership with Salt Lake City’s Epic Brewing, and the makers say it’s meant to symbolize harmony — or at least a shared taste in humor and beer — across the border.

“We knew that a Trump label was going to be controversial, but it’s been selling extremely fast,” -Enrique de la Reguera

Increasingly, the lines of “appropriateness” are being tested, blurred and stretched in demonstrations of protest. Take for example the recent photo of Kathy Griffith holding a the head of a decapitated Donald Trump; the willingness to make progressively more aggressive displays of resistance and disapproval is striking. The swastika adorning Trump on the Amigous label is a particularly charged piece of imagery. The jury is still out on where, if at all the line should be drawn when it comes to freedom of speech and anti-government protest.

ImPeach – Friends and Allies Brewing

Saison w/ Peaches – 5.6%

As long as you have not been hibernating under a rock (or tuned ONLY to Fox News), you’ve undoubtedly heard that Trump is the subject of a grueling investigation into his participation or role into election tampering via Russia. It seems that nearly every day there is more “breaking (fake?) news” that further connects Trump or his team to shady, perhaps illegal activities that could potentially land him in an extremely exclusive club of former Presidents; The Impeached Club.

Texas brewery Friends and Allies announced a timely and topical saison dubbed “IMpeach”;“It’s an amazing 5.6% saison brewed with Texas peaches and (a) big dose of innuendo,” according to the brewery.

Impeach’s label art is a simple, harmless-yet-dangerously juicy looking peach, but who’s leaves bear a striking resemblance to a certain high-profile hair-do. There is also a certain Freudian buttocks shape to the peach, which may or may not have been intentional as a sly jab.

According to Friends and Allies, ““It’s peach season here in Texas, so naturally we decided to release a peach beer, at the same time as we watched the politics of the last year unfold, the creative production side of our brewery decided to poke a little fun at our thin-skinned president.” 

As the final (for now) entry into this collection, IMpeach serves as the current bookend on a fairly eviscerating craft beer timeline for America’s 45th President. Regardless of your political leanings, it is safe to say that President Trump has been inspirational and impactful to brewers worldwide. It has been remarkable as a citizen of the United States to witness the civil disobedience, resistance, and overall protest surrounding President Trump and his administration; a movement that has clearly spilled over into the craft beer scene with brewers demonstrating their dissatisfaction with our current President through their unique medium.

One final aside; one may wonder how effective this form of protest will be when we remember that according to Trump himself, he has never taken a sip of alcohol; perhaps insulating him from ever having to come across any of these afflictive brews.

**Community Additions**

Updates sourced from readers of

Alternative Facts DIPA – Historic Brewing Company

Double IPA – 10%

Historic Brewing Company out of Arizona takes a playful swipe at Kellyanne Conway in their new “Alternative Facts” DIPA. If you aren’t familiar with the origin of “Alternative Facts” as a phrase, you may recall this incident:

This beer’s description is very Trump-esque in it’s humble-ness: “This is gonna be a great beer. It’s absolutely fantastic. We use all the best water and the best hops. It’s true. Mosaic hops. You can smell them. You can taste them. You can grab them by the petal. It’s fantastic. All other beers fail. Total disaster. Budweiser? It’s fake. It’s a fake beer. This double IPA is gonna be the greatest beer we ever brewed. Nobody brews a beer like we do. It’s the biggest beer ever. Tremendous. It’s gonna be huge.!”

Thanks to Kevin Tetrick from the League of Extraordinary Beer Drinkers for the tip!

Mandarin Chief – Back Forty Beer Company

Imperial Black IPA with Mandarin Oranges – 11%

A seemingly harmless ode to the office of POTUS, Back Forty Beer Company out of Alabama dedicated this deliciously unique brew to the Leader of the Free World. When speaking about the namesake of the beer, marketing manager Brad Wilson had this to say:

“ Naming beers is always a big, collaborative part of the creative process at Back Forty. When our team sat down to name this beer there was really only one topic that kept showing up across the board. Once we put pen to paper, we knew we had a beer and beer name perfectly suited to welcome in 2017 and the country’s President-elect in his first 100 days.”

Thanks to Abigail Lea from the League of Extraordinary Beer Drinkers for the tip!

It’s Hyuge – Local Craft Beer

New England IPA – 11%

One of the great (or not-so) things about Trump is all of his idiosyncrasies and mannerisms that make him almost caricature-like. Local Craft Beer Company out of California has taken on perhaps THE Trump signature trademark phrase. If you need a crash course on the word “Huge”, check this out.

Thanks to RhythmMethodMad on the Beerit page of Reddit for the tip!



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Brew Review Crew

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