Drinking our budget worries away

HMB Brewing beers - photo by Justin LewisNow THIS is a budget solution I can get behind.

The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company today sent its Budgetary Alement Ale to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Assembly and state Senate, all in honor of the 100-days-overdue budget they recently passed.

A dollar from every sale of Budgetary Alement between now and the end of the year will also be donated to California Forward – a nonpartisan organization dedicated to reforming California’s fiscal and budgetary problems.

“A strong ale for a weak economy,” Budgetary Alement was created by Lenny Mendonca, Half Moon Bay Brewing’s co-founder and co-owner. It has been on the brewing rotation since February, sold at the restaurant and in local retail outlets.

“We hope Governor Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker John Perez, Assembly Minority Leader Martin Garrick, Senate President pro tempore Darrell Steinberg and State Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth can take a moment and set partisan issues and budgeting stress aside to enjoy a nice, cold bottle of our handcrafted Budgetary Alement,” Mendonca said in a news release. “We’re very proud of our ale and know it’s helped many of our guests take the edge off during a rough economy.”

Bob Hertzberg, the former Assembly Speaker who co-chairs California Forward, said his organization “is committed to ensuring we fundamentally fix California’s broken budget and governance and we hope that some Budgetary Alement can help lubricate that conversation.”

Emblazoned with a grizzly bear, a red star and the outline of the state filled with $100 bills, the Budgetary Alement bottle label reads, “Brewed as an English-style IPA, the malt bill, comprised of Golden Promise and Munich Malts, has been paid. No IOU’s in this beer. The hops are East Kent and Styrian Goldings, with a touch of Centennials and add up to about 50 IBU’s, the same as the number of states that should have a budget in place. Also, we have not cut any of our brewing programs to make this beer. It’s whole and complete, just as our schools and parks should be.”

This isn’t Half Moon Bay Brewing’s first foray into politics: During the 2008 presidential election, guests in the restaurant and bar were able to vote between the Obama Ale and McCain Ale (and the Obama Ale won by a landslide).

Also, Mendonca – a director at McKinsey & Company and on California Forward’s leadership council – founded a monthly “Brews and Views” speakers series that tackles public issues while raising money for Coastside nonprofits.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.