July 30th, 2009
11:58 AM 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: President Obama
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. JS007

    Oh man, now we are arguing over what beer the President drinks? Well, might as well put in my two cents: if Obama likes Bud he might as well just drink water :)

    I too am disappointed, but not as much as by the fact that the crooks in the Senate are successfuly stalling health care reform.

    July 30, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. monica

    Really? Rep. Neal you really wasted time and paper on this? Wow. Glad I don't live in your district.

    July 30, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. Katie

    Is this really news-worthy? Food and drink are personal preference. I personally do not care for American made wine – I prefer Italian. Does that make me un-American? Why does everything have to be political? Should I be shunned for not using American made clothing as well? These 'news' items that are being published are getting a bit ridiculous.

    July 30, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Matt

    Get back to work Neal.

    July 30, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Wayne

    It’s truly disheartening to see members of Congress wasting time and energy on trivial issues such as what kind of beer the president prefers. We have elected these people to tend to the serious business that America needs them to pay attention to. In addition it would be nice if the presidents fellow Democrats would support him instead of criticize every little thing.

    July 30, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. RickM

    With all the money we owe them it should be a Chinese beer!

    July 30, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Renee

    Honestly, people do nothing but find fault with everything. It must suck to be the president.

    July 30, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Kevin B

    I only hope these three men put this issue to bed once and for all, because the media frenzy surrounding the issue is over blown.

    The real problems facing the country deserve all of our attention, not these two clowns having a beef because of thier over blown ego's.

    July 30, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. fine beer lover

    I think its fair to say the only way to go is Pabst Blue Ribbon.

    July 30, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Mark

    OK, I am sorry but I thought I would never hear myself agree with President Obama on anything, but please...beer! This is America, you drink the beer of your choice.

    July 30, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. john stevens

    How rediculous that now the debate is about the brand of beer. This country has a beer barrel full of serious issues that need resolution including the economy, healthcare, education, budget deficits at almost every level of government in the US as well as many households, and discrimination in almost all categories yet to be put to rest and yet we focus on the brand of beer and other equally as unimportant matters.

    July 30, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Matt from Toronto, Canada

    Stop making such a big deal out of such minor things. What does it matter what beer they drink? The President likes Bud Light... Let him drink Bud Light!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. susan

    I say to Rep. Neal " Go back to the real work voters asked you to do and stop spending our taxpayers' time worrying about what beer people should drink. People have no health insurance, people are losing jobs. Stop wasting your time. Who's your boss? You should be reported. I know I would be."

    July 30, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Kevin B

    I only hope these three men put this issue to bed once and for all, because the media is having a field day driving wedges between americans in search of ratings as usual.

    The real problems facing the country deserve all of our attention, not these two clowns having a beef because of thier over blown ego's.

    July 30, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. ladymack

    Why didn't he address The President as President Obama?

    July 30, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Seriously?

    this is so stupid. who cares what kind of beer he drinks? Does that congressman not have anything better to do with his time then write a letter to Obama in hopes to change his drink preference. I'm sure there is something far more important he could be working on...

    July 30, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Mark Edwards

    I think we have forgotten the reason President Obama arranged the meeting. It isn't about beer.

    July 30, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. jeff

    Wow, now the president isn't even allowed to drink the beer of his choice.

    July 30, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Anonymous

    I think the whole thing is rediculous! I can't believe that someone is accually wasting there time on this! So they are havng a beer together! Who care what kind of beer it is?? REALLY!!! you all have WAY too much time on your hands!!

    July 30, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Bob

    Rep Neal needs to wake up or get a different job. To make an issue out of the brand of beer to be served at this meeting is absolutley absurd. Rep Neal, ...go work on healthcare, the economy, the war, or the scores of other problems facing this nation and quite wasting the taxpayers time and money on drivel.

    July 30, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. Dean D. Ellis, Lake Worth, FL

    HMMMMM...brouhaha brewskys!

    The White House etiquette manual prescribes the 3 B's for brews, NO:

    1. Belching

    2. Bellyaching

    3. Boxing

    When they belly-up to the bar a litle toast would be very appropriate. I cannot recall such a 3-way toast being had since Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met. Maybe someone could come up with a suitable one?

    July 30, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Island girl

    This is turning into a comedy. Well a little laughter is good for the soul. Anyway, I think Mr. Gates should stick with the Jamaican Red Stripe. He won't regret it.

    July 30, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. sammieb51

    Give me a break - get back to work guys - all of you, the press, the congress - really, grow up and leave it alone for Christ's sake.

    I don't recall such a frenzy of slurs and speculatoins when our former veep, Cheney, SHOT A JUDGE IN THE FACE AND DIDN'T CALL THE POLICE FOR 12-15 HOURS. WOW, I think that would have been a REAL story, but you guys in the press and congress apparently were ASLEEP during that story.

    Give me a break.

    July 30, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. David G

    This president has become a complete joke.

    July 30, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. Doug

    This entry shows the utter idiocy of this entire thing. Even the beer choice is politicized! This should be behind closed doors, with no cameras – just three men working it out.

    July 30, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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