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Obama Leading Romney in Craft Beer 'Alection'

Source: HMB Brewing Co.

As the 2012 U.S. Presidential racenears the finish line, the most current polls show the contest to be a statistical dead heat nationwide, but there is one place where President Barack Obama is winning by wide margin: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

The small California-based brew pub is holding what it calls the "Presidential Alection." Half Moon Bay has been asking consumers to "cast their vote" with their beer purchases and is keeping a tally. It sells 22-ounce bottles of its Pillar Point Ale with either a blue label and a smiling Barack Obamaor a red label and a grinning Mitt Romney. Both cost $4.50 each.

As we near Election Day, 150 cases of the Obama beer have been sold versus 40 cases for Romney, though the GOP nominee has been trending up slightly in recent months.

The beer inside the bottles is the same, but don't tell that to consumers who are set in their political views.

"If you do a side-by-side taste test, people have very strong preference for which one they like and they articulate why it was different," said Lenny Mendonca, founder and owner of Half Moon Bay Brewing. "It's mostly related to what they thought about the candidate, and then you tell them it's the same beer and they don't believe you."

This is the second "Alection" Half Moon Bay has conducted, with Obama easily defeating John McCain in 2008.

The Alection is part of a regular series of events at the brew pub called Brews and Views.

"We think conversations about politics get more entertaining when you have an ale in front of you," Mendonca said. "Our events are about trying to have a serious conversation, but in a more relaxed setting."

Half Moon Bay Brewing keeps the dialogue going even in non-election years with regularly scheduled "Brews and Views" events. Mendonca said anywhere from 50 to 200 people show up each month to hear a speaker and participate in a group discussion.

"The speakers love it because they get to have a real interaction. It's not like it's all fun and games. It's serious topics in a setting where you have a real dialogue as opposed to talking heads just screaming at each other," he continued.

While the political discussions can be serious, for Mendonca the "Brews and Views" events are a light-hearted way to engage in serious discussions.

"It's a fun thing we hope people enjoy," he said. "We're not trying to make a political statement as much as we are enjoying a fun thing to do."

-By Tom Rotunno, CNBC Senior Editor; Follow him @tomrotunno.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.

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