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. Martin

    It does seem cruel to make them drink any American beer to be honest. Here's the joke that the rest of the world (that know good beer unlike impoverished American drinkers) says about American beer, that it's like "making love in a canoe" (look-up the rest of that joke – like American beer the censors will weaken your experience).

    For a start it might be nice to drink the REAL Czech Budweisser Budvar for a start. Better than that horse urine that is inflicted on an innocent beer drinking public. However if you want to grab a bottle of something decent in the meantime. Carlsberg, Guinness, Staropramen, Cobra, Asai, Newcastle Brown, should be a few names to look up.

    Someone really should convict Coors and Budweiser for cruelty to tastebuds.

    July 29, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Big Ed

    You HAVE GOT to be kidding!!!! What bearing does this have on the health care issue, Iraq / Afghanistan, the economy, Cheney's Secret Army, etc...

    For the love of sanity, let's get SERIOUS!!

    July 29, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Sam Addams

    I think they should all get stoned instead.

    July 29, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. sad but true

    CNN is acting stupidly for reporting this.

    July 29, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Pat F

    Actually, I would MUCH rather have Obama debating beer than implementing any of his half-witted policies. This sort of frat boy decision is just about the right level of responsibility for the community organizer-in-chief.

    July 29, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. Dan

    We all have different tastes in beer. What makes America great is that no one can force us to drink what we don't want to.

    Let them drink what they want.

    July 29, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. NM Moderate

    This is insane! Obama is doing what any host should do, ask his guests what they want to drink. To imply that anything else is appropriate is purely just politics. Politics has no place in Beer.

    July 29, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  8. Dawn from Michigan

    Give me a Break! My God, the President can't do anything right it seems.

    This is about as dumb as it can be......Enough already!!!

    July 29, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. E Coli Tainted Palin Word Salad Hazardous To Your Health

    Well, at least Mr. Neal is getting his head from beer unlike some of the holier-than-thou hypocrites of the right-wing and all their good christian pharisee cohorts covering up their dirty deeds at the C-Street house of collusion.

    July 29, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Uwe Maletz

    give me break, get a life and let them have the beer they like !
    Not everything needs to be politicized and made polotically correct..

    July 29, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. skip bear, how about Kentucky burbon

    or some home grown pot from California

    July 29, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. mark fro dover

    Rush thinks they ought to pop pills instead.

    July 29, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. greg

    Boys: Move on... You have better things to do!!!

    July 29, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. IndyVoter

    OMG. STOP THE MADNESS. This conversation is a waste of breath, netspace and keystrokes. Please, get over it!

    July 29, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. MIKE

    How about some Chex Mix?

    July 29, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Christopher KAiser

    This. Is. A. Distraction. From. Real. Affairs. I cannot believe this is considered news. Well I suppose the police officer/professor/president incident is also a distraction. I mean what with the Federal Reserve Bank doing what they do, hundreds of thousands of accumulated Iraqi civilian deaths, the Swine Flu vaccine having all sorts of problems (like having components linked with autism), and people all over the world viewing us as imperialists.... it's no wonder that we need a distraction. This. Is. Dumb. I don't trust CNN anymore.

    July 29, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Justin

    Isn't Richard Neal a Democrat? Then why is everyone saying that Republicans brought this up? And as for the type of beer they should serve let them drink what they want. But to have a beer special made for the occasion would be pretty neat.

    July 29, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Bill

    Lesson (not) learned
    I taught for many years. I taught about famous people as role models as a teaching tool to help young people learn how to make good decisions,
    The lesson learned from President Obama will help young people who make stupid statements about someone or groups to use beer as an acceptable and appropriate tool. If he or she gets angry, it is appropriate for these young people to use the beer as the mediator but they must use the right brand.
    It really takes long and many hours of hard work for good role models to help young people solve conflict, but it does not take anytime at all for one role model to do two stupid things in a row
    to destroy all the effort.

    July 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    Who cares? Now that you have nothing on that woman to report you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel even more!
    What a waste of time and "print".

    July 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. laquanda

    so now the WH is promoting alcoholism?
    How about a simple lemonade or one of those fappalattecappa things?

    July 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. Rob from Texas

    Who cares...it's just a rediculous marketing ploy. Some of the best beer is made overseas anyway.

    July 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. DSW

    I am done watching CNN & done coming onto their website.
    They are no better than Faux News, thS news item level has hit a new bottom.
    We have so many important issues going on and the MSN & Cable shows continue to play to the GOPs tune – distract the general public with absolute drivel – in the mean time the white/wealthy officials who have been VOTED into power by us continue to take care of themselves and their special interest groups – our government has been bought & paid for by banks/insurance co/pharmas/lobby groups!!!
    WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

    July 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. lynn

    Of all the parties involved (including my beloved Obama) I feel that the neighbor, who called the police, is the only one who acted admirably in this entire situation. Her only "crime" was in having concern for her neighbor's home. And while Prof. Gate's reaction, is certainly defendable, the neighbor was the one who should be rewarded for her actions! She not only should be invited to to this event, but should be given a glass of (very fine) wine!

    July 29, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. Dan

    Donkey Party:

    "In true RepubliCON fashion, expect them to draft a House resolution demanding Sam Adams be served at the meeting. The hypocrisy never ends with the GOPPERS. They try to claim the President has a protectionist foreign trade agenda, then encourage people not to buy products from the UK and Europe. Pathetic!"

    Grow up. For one, the guy that wrote the letter is a Democrat. For two, Who cares? You do not need to inject bitter partisan venom into everything. Seriously... Grow up.

    July 29, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. Bob from Dallas

    1, 21, 2009 Obama signs Executive Order # 13489 limiting any records made public. Currently HR 985 resides in the Senate Judiciary Committee a bill solely intended to protect Obama having been born in Kenya as his grandmother has stated. Of course he will serve beer from another country after all this country is not his!

    July 29, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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