11 Local Beers to Get You Through the Next Presidential Debate


After watching the first two presidential debates between Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwi—erruh, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, one thing is abundantly clear: to survive the next round of PolitiClash 2016: Fumble in the Jungle, alcohol, in any form, will be needed.

As a result, and since that first contentious head-to-head matchup (the most-watched debate in American history, according to data from Nielsen) was held at Hofstra University, we thought it would be appropriate to seek the recommendations of some local breweries. So we sent around an email (from a private email server, of course) and asked each to pick “just one beer they make that would be as perfect as a utopian vision to drink” during the event.

As for me, though I initially considered abstaining from interjecting my own political views into this introduction, I wanted to say that I’ll be happily consuming whatever beer Trump hates most—also known as Mike Pence’s favorite beer—this next round. And it’s gonna taste great, really great. [Ed note: Hey, Niko, we thought you just wanted to #MakeAmericaDrinkAgain…].

9.1% ABV
Sixpoint Craft Ales | Brooklyn

View this post on Instagram

#SixPointCraftAles #Resin #DIPA

A post shared by Jeff Spoder (@brielga_13) on

I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s a tad bitter about our options when it comes to candidates. So a good double IPA like our Resin to help you choke down the overwhelming amount of bullshit that we’ve had to ingest and decipher throughout the 2016 campaigns would definitely be an appropriate pairing. Bitter, hoppy and deceptively easy drinking, Resin’s aromas of citrus, pine and pineapple dominate the flavor with the maltiness playing a good supporting role. If you’re in a safe place while you’re drinking and not in some armageddon-like environment—a picture that a certain candidate likes to paint—you might be able to make some sense out of all of this. At the very least, maybe you can make some sense out of Trump. — Danny Bruckert, brewing manager

Colonial Ale
3.6% ABV
Blue Point Brewing | Patchogue

It’s probably no surprise that I’m going with our Colonial Ale, a new beer we’ll be officially rolling out on Election Day. The recipe was directly inspired by George Washington, one president I think we can all admire. We discovered Washington’s hand-penned recipe for a small beer in his military journal from 1757 at the New York Public Library and decided to brew our best version, one using ingredients that would have been more readily available at the time of the new American nation: local malted barley, corn, wheat, oats, golden molasses syrup, British ale yeast, traditional British Golding hops, and lastly spruce tips to supplement the hops and lend a citrusy, piney character to the beer. One thing that inspired us—in fact, it’s on our mosaic bar top in our tasting room—is a scene that portrays Washington at Hart’s Tavern, which was five blocks up the street from our brewery. Shortly after being elected he went on a tour of Long Island and one of his documented stops was at Hart’s Tavern, where he stopped in for a beer and Blue Point oysters. So balance the heaviness of this year’s election with our citrusy, slightly sweet brew and be transported to a time that none of us can actually remember, way back in the 18th century when America was young and there was no TV, much less televised debates. But there was plenty of beer. — Dan Jansen, head brewer

Hickory & Maple Smoked Brown Ale
5.2% ABV
Blind Bat Brewery | Centerport

Since I’m not hopped up with excitement for any candidate, I’d recommend a malt-forward beer. And since I anticipate there to be some blowing of smoke during the debate, I’d choose my Hickory & Maple Smoked Brown Ale, for which I smoke a small portion of the barley over a combination of hickory and maple woods. You’ll be able to detect a hint of smoke with this beer as you listen for hints of honesty during the debate. And it’s at a responsible ABV, as all voters need to make a sober choice on Election Day. — Paul Dlugokencky, owner and brewmaster

12 Seconds IIPA
10.0% ABV
Spider Bite Beer Co. | Holbrook

View this post on Instagram

You know you want one. #mugclub #goingfast

A post shared by Spider Bite Beer Co. (@spider_bite_beer) on

This is a double IPA, the most heavy-hitting IPA we make. I picked this for our debate beer for a simple reason: because after twelve seconds of watching it, you’ll be looking for something strong to drown your sorrows. Brewed with Galaxy and Citra hops it has a juicy hop aroma and flavor, giving off notes of citrus and tropical fruit. We kept the crystal malts low to allow the hops to shine but there is just enough residual malt sweetness to balance the alcohol and play off the hops. — Larry Goldstein, owner and brewmaster

Arrogant Hipster Sour Ale
9.0% ABV
Chelsea Craft Brewing | Bronx

This beer started it’s life as a hoppy double IPA called Stormy Monday to commemorate Superstorm Sandy. We decided to age a portion of it in bourbon barrels, transferred it to stainless-steel tanks and “forgot about it” for three years. When it emerged it was a different beer: a funky, sour ale with a balanced earthiness. It’s just sour enough to go with all the mudslinging this election year and after knocking back a few, it has just enough arrogance to make you believe your candidate is always right. — Mark Szmaida, head brewer

Hoppocratic Oath Imperial IPA
9.0% ABV
Great South Bay Brewery | Bay Shore

Both presidential candidates should be reminded of the oaths they’ve taken as politicians when debating such issues as missing emails and concealed tax returns. To keep them on track, lift a pint of our Hoppocratic Oath. It pours a semi-transparent amber, the nose is a dank blast of grapefruit and pine and the taste is bready with some honey and brown-sugar sweetness. — Rick Sobotka, owner and brewmaster

A4 Quad
10.1% ABV
Transmitter Brewing | Long Island City, Queens

Normally I’d reach for something sessionable on a weeknight. Perhaps a low-alcohol saison or grisette to sip on during dinner. But this year’s political climate is proving to be not the time for session beers. After managing to get through about 80 percent of the first debate, I’m going to turn towards our spiced Belgian-style quad to help me watch the second. We make the candi sugar for it, and prominent are deep notes of cherry, dried plums and raisins in addition to hints of licorice and pepper. As the weather finally cools off and the political rhetoric heats up, it’s a big, fruity, spicy antidote to what we’re all witnessing. — Anthony Accardi, cofounder and brewer

70 West IPA
6.5% ABV
Crooked Ladder Brewing | Riverhead

After watching the last debate, I think a more “bitter” beer makes sense so I’ll go with our 70 West IPA, a West Coast-style IPA light amber in color, a little hazy, hop forward with hints of grapefruit and orange and a little malt sweetness on the backend. It’s pretty bitter but the bitterness isn’t “yuge.” It also has a sneaky alcohol percent which is guaranteed to make watching the debate and browsing your private emails a little more bearable. — Stevie Czelatka, head brewer and production manager

Brooklyn American Ale
4.5% ABV
Brooklyn Brewery | Brooklyn

This is a fairly light beer so you can drink more than one or two, which might be necessary during a 90-minute debate. And you can crush the can after if you feel anger or frustration.” — Steve Hindy, cofounder

Icculus Kölsch
5.1% ABV
Barrier Brewing | Oceanside

View this post on Instagram

Enjoy your flight.🛫 Open til 10pm🍻

A post shared by Barrier Brewing Co. (@barrierbrewingco) on

We’re pretty apolitical here at Barrier but we can’t deny that this presidential race is really important. So for the second debate we recommend our Icculus, made in the kölsch style which is essentially the ale equivalent to the pilsner. Crisp, clean and refreshing with a slightly richer malt flavor, mildly fruity yeast character and a sessional alcohol level, this can be enjoyed all night long and still keep you sober enough to fact-check Trump. — Mike Descarfino, sales manager

Wave Chaser IPA
Montauk Brewing | Montauk

Did you see the first debate? We’ll be in Montauk looking for waves instead of sitting through that again. But if you happen to be watching, fill up a few Crowlers of Wave Chaser, our newest IPA. Our brewmaster Eric [Moss] has been experimenting with different hop varieties and eventually dialed in this recipe using four; the combo gives off nice tropical and pine aromas. We haven’t really had a traditional IPA in the market and we’re proud of this one. Maybe it’ll be coming out year-round in draft and maybe a can? Or maybe not, we’ll see. For now let’s just drink really good beer and enjoy the show. —Vaughan Cutillo, co-founder and marketing director