Bernie Sanders beer? A Windsor brewery makes underdog ale

June Chua
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[PHOTO COURTESY: Motor Craft Ales]

The race to become the U.S. Democratic presidential nominee has been heated, and one beer company in Windsor, Ont., has come up with a solution to cool it down: an ale inspired by underdog Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, whose campaign relies on grassroots support, managed to beat Democratic favourite Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary on Tuesday.

The owners of Motor Craft Ales say they wanted to commemorate that come-from-behind victory with a special beer called Berner. By the way, the word “berner” also refers to graffiti done on the sides of trains.

“Being considered an underdog means everything to us,” Motor Craft co-owner Gino Gesuale told Yahoo Canada News.

“It’s basically the summarization of the entire craft beer industry. A constant fight for improvement and pushing pass all the big name bullsh** politics that envelop everything.”

Gesuale, who owns the brewery with Phil Albers and Donavan McFadden, said he and his fellow owners felt sympathetic to Sanders’ anti-establishment message.

The cream ale will have flavours of walnuts and maple — representing Sanders’ home state of Vermont — and habanero peppers to “feel the burn” or rather “Bern.”

“It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished as underdogs when people of the same beliefs and values come together. Great things have happened and can continue to happen,” says Gesuale.

Berner, a brown cream ale, will be available in three weeks. There are only 60 bottles being created.

Asked whether he and his co-owners considered commemorating last year’s underdog win of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gesuale said the idea “didn’t strike us at the time.”

“Our minds were entrenched in our business and we missed an opportunity [back in October],” he reveals. “If Justin wanted us to do a beer for him, there would be no question that we would. Plus, with that hair his picture would look great on the label. It would be nice to see the two ‘underdogs,’ Bernie and Justin, working together.”

The last time a beer got this political in Canada was when Quebec microbrewery Le Trou du diable launched a draft in 2010 called the Shawinigan Handshake — named after a 1996 incident in which then-prime minister Jean Chrétien, a native of Shawinigan, Que., pushed aside a protester.

Chrétien said his RCMP security detail had failed to clear the way as demonstrators in Hull, Que. — upset over cuts to unemployment insurance — crowded around him. Protester Bill Clennett was grabbed at the back of his head and shoved aside by the PM.

A few years later, the blonde wheat ale became available in a bottle.