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. Huey Cardwell

    Why does the President have to meet with the police officer and the suspect. You would think he would have something better to do then to micro manage between those two. Just a thought

    July 29, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Chris Mannerino

    They should called the beer "Reconciliation Ale".

    July 29, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. J.P.

    OK, got to admit, I do love some Sam Adams. A nice crisp SA, on tap, is truly a wonderful thing.

    And SA Light is actually an amazing light beer, if there really is such a thing.

    July 29, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Crazy Cat Lady

    Sam Adams and Harpoon both make excellent brews!

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

    Does everything need to be politicized? Give me a break!!!!

    July 29, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. 60's survivor

    I like it when the conversation lightens up. makes us all seem more human somehow :-)

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Tyler

    Who cares what they drink? The point is to rise above differences, not create a marketing stunt for breweries. Red Stripe and Blue Moon are both great choices. Bud was an American tradition, regardless of who owns it now. Relax, people...

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Josh in TN

    The owner of Sam Adams makes since. The other guy just had his 15 seconds.

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. James M. Holmes

    CNN – the cable channel that brings you Lou Dobbs and more NeoCon lies...

    I think I need a beer after listening to "The Most Trusted Name in News" spreads lies, fear & paranoia through Lou Dobbs...

    CNN is a disgrace... I can get more REAL news from the National Enquirer!

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Bruce

    Rep. Neal needs to get a life.

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. eahollis4

    Doesn't Obama have bigger things to worry about like whatthe government can take control of next?

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. No Hillary = No Obama

    It was bound to happen with this superficial president and the superficial media. I listened to the news conference given by the woman who gave the 911 call and someone asked her if she wanted to go to the White House for beer and she said she didn't like beer. I would have said Perrier please.

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Ayren

    All people complaining that CNN is making a big deal about this, need to wipe the sand out!! Please it's the "Ticker" it's an anectdotal story... kinda like the ones that appear on CBS This Morning, oh but you probably don't watch that because you are too busy complaining about whether or not Obama is a citizen of the US... Get over yourselves!! And take interest in the historical nature of this story!! When has the ANY president taken a step like this... to not only take responsibility for his actions but also to try and heal a controversial confrontation between two strangers?? And to do it over a cold beer, all the better!!

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. mr

    this is getting quite ridiculous. No matter what Obama does someone always criticizes him.

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. Ron

    Who is running the Country while this kind of stuff is going on?

    July 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Alicia

    Geez already! Bush Sr spoke out on the Rodney King beating and found it disturbing. Noone critiqued that!

    This is ridiculous!

    What next? Does the President use Charmin on Scott toilet paper? Geez o man already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. Karen

    This is a ridiculous discussion! The President needs to focus on the economy!

    July 29, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. J.P.

    Yuengling
    Shiner
    Dos Equis Lager
    Miller High Life (surpisingly a nice beer)
    All nice beers.

    But my personal fave is English:
    Sam Smith Organic Ale

    Actually, I haven't had a bad bottle of ANYTHING from Sam Smith.

    July 29, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. SmokeFan

    I can't believe this "story" is taking up space online...really??!!

    July 29, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Frank, Las Vegas

    The brand of beer really concerns this congressman? He needs to spend more time on health care and the economy. Some people will say no to the president no matter what he says. This guy needs to get a grip, or better yet, join Palin and quit you office, it's obviously offer his head just like her office was over her head.

    July 29, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Brooke

    The reason the Prez is drinking Bud is because it's the King of Beers, always has been, always will be. Sam Adams is sewer water.

    July 29, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. NADENNA

    really people your up in arms about the choice of beer. come on this issue so far more important than the choice of beer, can the rep who wrote the letter to president obama, been reviewing the healthe care bill or maybe some research on racial profiling in their district. Im so sick of these people harping on the non-issues and ignoring the real ones. that why nothing can get done in this country

    July 29, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Definitely, it should be an American made beer from an American-owned company. And local would be good – keep down the carbon footprint!

    July 29, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Neither Rep Nor Dem

    The President should be a real man and brew his own beer in the White House cellar.

    July 29, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Winkzilla, Tucson

    It is stories like these that make CNN and NPR irreverent as news organizations.

    July 29, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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