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Raise a glass to (and of) Obama

John Rauschenberg, who is one of the owners of Pacific Standard, draws a pint of Hop Obama, the popular new brew.
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

Some polls show that Barack Obama’s campaign may by losing momentum — but Mr. Gallup and Mr. Zogby might want to drop by one Fourth Avenue bar, where the nation’s first Barack Obama ale is selling as fast as bartenders can pour it.

The Red Hook microbrewery Sixpoint Craft Ales is taking the optimism and hope behind the Illinois senator’s longshot campaign and channeling it into self-destructive behavior with its “Hop Obama” ale, now on sale throughout the borough (if you can find it).

The brewery echoes Obama’s own campaign themes by calling its new creation “an indefinable ale that doesn’t adhere to traditional style guidelines.”

How well is Hop Obama selling? Let’s put it this way: There’s been more of a run on this beer than there was on Bear Stearns last week.

Pacific Standard, a beer drinker’s haven on Fourth Avenue between St. Marks Place and Bergen Street, also said tipplers couldn’t get enough of the light amber beverage.

“It’s been our best seller since last week,” said John Rauschenberg, a co-owner of the bar, which aided sales by fashioning a tap handle from an Obama bobblehead doll. Pacific Standard was also donating $1 to the Illinois senator’s campaign for every $6 pint sold. (In an olive branch to non-Obamaniacs, the bar will withhold the donation upon request — though very few customers in Obama-crazed Park Slope have made the request.)

“We sold our first keg in three days, and our second keg in two days,” Rauschenberg said. “We told [Sixpoint] that we’d take as much as we can.”

And a shipment to Bierkraft, on Fifth Avenue between Union and President streets in Park Slope, sold out in days, putting it in “the 99th percentile” of fastest selling draughts at the shop, according to Ben Granger, co-owner.

Revelers eagerly sampled the Obama tribute, but reviews were mixed.

“It was real good,” said Granger. “It was a nice hoppy amber ale. I’m a hophead and like anything with a lot of hops in it.”

Another taster, who declined to give his name because he intended to have “more than a few” of the Obama ales that night, said the beer really did remind him of the candidate.

“It’s refreshing and not burdened by someone else’s notion of what beer must be,” said the man. “Drinking this beer brings me right back to the heady days of downing Anchor Steams after putting in a full day of knocking door-to-door in support of Mondale in 1980 and Hart in 1984 — and we all know what happened to them.”

A third barfly, Zachary Sachs, found it “a little too sweet.”

“I’d rather see more of Obama the politician than Obama the beer,” he said.

That seems likely given that supply is severely limited — only 30 kegs in all were made in this quirky one-off. Another batch isn’t planned, but the grassroots momentum is swelling. As a result, Sixpoint’s brewmaster Shane Welch channeled Obama’s campaign motto — “Yes we can” — and hinted that the brewery might create another vat just in time for the pivotal Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

Though Welch concocted a recipe, he knows that taste isn’t everything. The Hop Obama craze is bigger than just beer.

“I don’t think it would have the popularity and enthusiasm that this beer has had if it was made for McCain and Clinton,” said Welch. (Of course, to many Obama brew fans, both of those would be too bitter.)

Then again, some imbibers joked that there already is a beer for Hillary Clinton — the Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery, as former Obama adviser Samantha Power might say.

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