July 29th, 2009
08:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Beer choice at Obama meeting touches off new debate

What beer should be served at the Obama-Gates-Crowley get together?
What beer should be served at the Obama-Gates-Crowley get together?

(CNN) - The upcoming White House meeting with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the Cambridge police officer who arrested him earlier this month appears to have touched off a fresh debate all on its own: what kind of beer should be served?

Earlier this week the White House indicated each man would drink the beer of their choice - Bud Light for President Obama, Blue Moon for the police officer, and perhaps Red Stripe or Beck's for Gates.

But one Massachusetts congressman thinks another beer entirely should be served: Boston's own Sam Adams.

In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.

Instead, the White House should serve the three men - all with ties to Massachusetts - the local favorite, not only because of its popularity in the region but also because it remains the largest American-owned and brewed beer, Neal says.

But Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch told NPR if it was up to him he would make a special beer just for the event.

"I'd make a blend of ingredients from all over the world. Which is certainly what's represented there with the three participants," he said. "I would blend those ingredients together artfully and harmoniously, because that's really what we all hope for."

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports other Massachusetts-based beer companies are also hoping to get their product a space at the high-profile meeting.

Dan Kenary, president of Harpoon Brewery, told the paper they are working every "back-door channel" the company has.

"We'd love to be the beer at this event," Kenary said.

Read Rep. Neal's letter (PDF) here.


Filed under: Extra • President Obama
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. John

    Oh come on, the beer is simply supposed to help what "ales" them! It doesn't matter what brand. There are more critical things to be concerned about.

    July 29, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. rick freeman

    What a joke

    July 29, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. SeaWife

    This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

    Can't anyone get a life anymore!

    July 29, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Sally St. Romain

    Lighten up everyone! One would think that with all negative news that is dumped in everyone's faces everyday that someone could get a laugh out of this.

    July 29, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Mark

    As another American dies in Iraq the president enjoys another beer.

    July 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Aaron

    Can't believe this is even being covered. Perhaps if this Congressman spent more time actually working on meaningful issues Washington would actually get something done. Absolutely pathetic!

    July 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Can't a guy just have a beer these days?

    July 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. David Royall

    Is this CNN or the National Enquirer?

    July 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Rich

    "This 'beer summit' is a slap at blue collar people. Give the white guy some beer and all will be better. The lower middle class cop will be nice if the educated black guys just get him a little liquored up. Where are the President's advisors? Don't they think these things out? He should take a tip from Reagan and stay far away from the media. They mean him no good. They're out for themselves."

    Since when do educated people not like beer? I'm educated. I like beer!

    July 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. SeaWife

    Oh, and don't forget, we could not let Obama drink Budwieser beer as that is the co. that Cindy McCain owns. (Hey, Senator McCain, we haven't heard any yelping from you yet. Yikes. That would be a travesty! .

    July 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Tom

    I think i'll have a Yuengling or two tomorrow afternoon and cry in my beer that we're even talking about this.

    July 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Larry

    Is this for real?

    July 29, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Farva

    I'll take six Schlitz please!!

    July 29, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Gates wants OE...you know it.

    July 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Glen in LA

    I don't like beer. Let's get back to the real news; the kind with martinis.

    July 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Mike Moser

    So uptight people.................man!!!
    What a great way to hold a conversation....how about also dragging out the cigars and have a discussion.

    July 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Lars

    The amount of time wasted by our representatives on issues they invent to hear themselves on the news never ceases to amaze me. Rep. Neal, didn't you have something else to do today that serves your state and this nation better than promoting a beer already widely successful? I am sure you're thinking of sponsoring a bill with a couple more buddies from Beantown and throw away more of our money in aupport of your favorite beverage. And if you claim this all in good humor, then save your joking around for the recess and on your own dime!!! Give us a break!

    July 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. rufus

    Shots of Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey or Jack Daniels would be more manly. This would flush out the sissies.

    July 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. JoblessInSeattle

    Oh wow, fascinating story. Can't wait to see the pictures of the three stooges with beer in their hands smiling ear-to-ear. Together, they make a perfect six-pack – just lacks the thing that ties the six-pack together!!

    July 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. David Smith

    As someone who grew up in Massachusetts myself, I suggest to Representative Neal that there are more important things to do than keep this conversation going around beer choices....not everything needs to be a political or publicity opportunity.

    Let these 3 gentlemen meet, let it be a teaching moment for each of them and for all of us....let's keep the silliness out and the dignity in please.

    July 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. RCLGuard

    This president can't go to the bathroom without someone making it into a Anti_American conspiracy.

    July 29, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Ken, AZ

    For God's sake, please give me a break. Maybe none of these gents like the taste of Samuel Adams beer; I don't. And does the congressman eat and drink only domestic foods and beverages?

    July 29, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. Dean P. Valencia, CA

    BEER???????!!!!????

    Does anyone care that a health care bill is being negotiated that will change ALL of our lives and the QUALITY of our care???

    Wake up people, please! Lord help us if this thing passes!

    July 29, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Matt

    I'd love to see what Jim Koch would come up with. The man is a pure brewing genius.

    July 29, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. Chris

    Let them drink what they want. Who cares...why make them drink something they don't like?

    July 29, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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