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. steve

    The choice is obvious a black and tan, though it is a waste of a good pint of Guiness. How about a Dixie for everyone? Pale Ale??? How about something in a can shaken well, then it would react just like these two.

    July 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. In the West

    The PNW has great beer, as does CA, but I vote for Sam Adams, too.

    July 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. CF

    Wow, anti-Obama lunatics really do just want to attack anything and everything he does. Having a legitate disagreement with someone's philosophy or policy is one thing, but c'mon, ya gotta pick your battles.

    Wasn't it the Republicans who 6 months ago ran on the platform of being for "Joe six-packs"? Now they criticize Obama for this??

    July 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Carlo

    If it were up to me I'd choose my beer more on what type of psychological effect the flavor might help encourage. Based on this I would choose a Hefewiezen, perhaps Franziskaner... It's a delightful beer which is a harmonious mix of wheat malt and yeast creating a cool, crisp refreshing flavor with a hint of bannana. Hopefully this would have a calming effect on all participants and help them endevor to work together as well as the beer's components do.

    July 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Student

    This makes me chuckle. Thank you CNN. What's on special? I'll have that.

    July 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Vern

    Promote the new taxes serve POT!!!

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Hugo

    This is unbelievable, after seeing some of Gates prior comments and hearing the 911 tapes it is obvious who the RACIST is. Don't worry America, this is right in line with what kind of world problem our fearless Usurper in Chief Obama can bring resolution to. The police department should file a civil rights suit against both Obama and Gates for racial profiling of the Department. What a JOKE!

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. abmaheco

    I think Obama is obligated to have an American brew; the police officer has to have a Sam Adam's, and the prof. needs a Bud–but he will probably want a Colt 45.

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. kellsbells

    Someone should tape this and it can be the new sam adams commercial...

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. uh, huh.

    Definitely a black and tan.

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. Sher

    I could careless what they drink! I would just like to see a badge off and some boxing gloves on... and give all proceeds from the "event" to the lower income African-American's communities! Other than that, I would call it a PRIVATE affair... a right that even our President has a RIGHT to have, SERVE and DRINK to HIS choosing so GET A LIFE pathetic and greedy surface dwellers that have some apparent and SERIOUS mental issues of the worst kind!

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. dave

    This is the kind of decision that can only be made by congress. Lets spend millions on a study and countless hours debating this.

    We may have to wait for congress to fix the BCS first though.

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Concerned

    Not a "news worthy" story – but at least it is better than the daily dose of Palin from CNN. More beer stories please, less ex-gov of Alaska noise.

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Tania

    Now they're criticizing him for beer?! Sheesh.

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Jack

    I'm hoping Obama says "Oh I can't go, I just remember, I had anything better to do than drink beer and discuss a non-issue with a bunch of over-sensative pansies."

    July 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. Artemisios

    Ah, this brings back memories of the runaway bride. Thank you CNN!

    July 29, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. Ben in Texas

    I think it's pretty amazing that they can drink beer in the White House at all. Back in the '30s, it would have been a crime. Kinda makes you think that someday, a president will invite some folks over to discuss a problem over a few tokes.

    "Officer Crowley, would you care for Maui Wowie or Panama Red?"

    July 29, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Mike

    jeese..cant the president make a pick without people harping about it. If they want a US beer, then you will get regions arguing. They could have beer from Michigan, specifically Bells Beer. But then again, I wonder what that rep would say to all the american's who...drink Bud..hmm.. don't drink it, simply because it is a belgian conglomerate now. then people wont watch tv, or wear clothes, or much of anything, since not much is 100% made in the US. But jeeze, let them drink what they want!!

    July 29, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Idiot_Pelosi

    Who cares what beer "BO BO THE CLOWN" drinks?

    He is still a moron and HIS POLICIES are STUPID.

    July 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. ryan

    waste of time story

    July 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Chris

    Obama should be representing the Chi and have himself a glass of Goose Island (Chicago's very own.) The other two knuckle heads should have Sam Adams.

    BTW. Sam Adams Light is absolutley the Best light beer on the market and I encouarge the other two knuckle heads to drtink it.

    Word is Born

    Chicago

    July 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Rand Paul 2010

    Shame on CNN for wasting valuable media resources talking about beer. The media can turn anything into a controversy.

    July 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. CF

    "My beer is better than your beer." Really? This is what's on the Hill today? How's healthcare reform coming along? How's the economy? Rep. Neal should find a better use of his taxpayer-paid time.

    July 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Joe

    It seems there's no subject on which someone isn't willing to step forward and be a PITA.

    July 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. California Gold

    Solution: instead of complaining about someone else's choice, just send the White House the brew you think should be served.

    July 29, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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