When coming up with concept beers, sometimes inspiration comes by way of current events, and when your hop allotment includes varietals from three continents, blend them together—just to see if they all get along.
Bootlegger’s Brewery created an International Pale Ale called International Relations that’s West Coast-ish in style, with caricatures of a baggy-suited President Donald Trump and a shirtless Vladimir Putin high-fiving each other while riding an elephant and a bear, respectively.
“The can art idea was just a fun way of doing a caricature of current international events happening,” notes brewery owner Aaron Barkenhagen. “Since the hops are from other countries, we saw the opportunity for the tie-in.”
The art was done by Stan Endo, a local artist who has done most of Bootlegger’s art, including its logo.
I find it somewhat hilarious that a brewery would take a risk of alienating a percentage of its thin-skinned clientele by making a political statement. After all, beer is what brings the community together, and having Trump pooting around a beer-can label feels somewhat like a publicity stunt. (If you’re reading this, it worked.)
Beyond the label, the beer itself is delicious. At 6.8 percent, it drinks like a zesty-tropical pale ale. Pick up a few cans for the bomb shelter; you might need it.
Bootlegger’s Brewery, 696 Randolph Ave., Ste. B, Costa Mesa, (714) 871-2337; also at 130 S. Highland Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-2337; bootleggersbrewery.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest.