July 30th, 2009
11:58 AM ET
13 years ago

Beer choice at Obama meeting touches off new debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/29/art.beer.gi.jpg caption="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. FD

    Is this for real? Doesn't this MA congressman have anything better to do? I mean, really, we are talking about a few beers here!!

    July 30, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. Chris

    Obama needs to represent Chicago and have some Goose Island.

    Or we could be racially stereotypical...
    Crowley drinks his Blue Moon (a Belgian white ale),
    Gates drinks Koestritzer (A German black beer),
    and Obama quaffs a Black and Tan.

    Then they all dump half their bottle into another bottle, as a sign of racial equality!


    July 30, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. haren

    CNN stop this garbage news.

    July 30, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Baze

    America has nothing left. Soon the shirts on our backs will be owned by another country.

    July 30, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Michele

    IT'S BEER! Move on to something important to worry about!!!!

    July 30, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Paul M

    Sam Adams is not a bad beer but Leinenkuegel is better or perhaps Grain Belt. Being in Germany at the present time I have my choice of the best beers in the world. I don't know what I'll do when I get back to the States.

    July 30, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Rob Kole

    Going to drag them to the White House to fix your mistake of getting involved in this matter in the first place at least you could is feed them too.

    July 30, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. becky

    Oh, please. Congressman Neal needs to get to work on the health care plan and not worry about what beer they'll drink.

    July 30, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Keith

    What is humorous is that Bud Light is even considered beer!

    July 30, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. BWoods

    Is this really a topic of national interest? Holy cow, worry about our spending and programs and let the men drink what they want. Get your priorities straight!

    July 30, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Mike

    Why is Neal pushing a Boston-based brewery when he has plenty of good breweries in his own congressional district? Opa Opa anyone??

    July 30, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Partha

    Probably this is the last thing on their minds. The whole intent of this beer talk is to formally put an end to this saga. Apparently some of the media savvy congressmen doesnt think so yet! God bless America..

    July 30, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Anonymous

    who cares?

    July 30, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Mike

    I'm sick of this story and Rep. Richard Neal of Mass. should be fired .... doesn't he have anything better to do than worry about what brand of beer Obama is drinking ....

    July 30, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Gale

    Our country is i a recession, the entire world is is a turmoil, and this is important? Get your priorities straight people!

    July 30, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Seth Hill

    I recommend Tecate. Although I'm a white male with a family tree going back many, many generations to England, I drink Tecate to express working class consciousness and solidarity with our brothers and sisters south of the border. Also, I like Tecate. Most importantly, it's cheap!

    July 30, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Deb

    People need to give this a break. There are so many other things going wrong and we should now focus on beer? Enough!

    July 30, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Adam in NC

    Sam Adams is contract brewed by Miller, just like Pabst. So that brings us to Yuengling or Leinenkugel!! But if Obama is Pro-small businesses like he says he is, then he should serve some beer from the local brew pub!

    July 30, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. Beerman

    It's unbelievable to me that this meeting is taking place at all. But it is, and the criteria is that each man "would drink the beer of their choice". Nowhere did it say Richard Neal's choice. Sam Adams may be a local favorite, it is NOT the favorite of any of these three men. Give it a drink, Dick. When you have such a meeting, you can set the rules.

    July 30, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Dennis

    I thought Obama msut be serving the special Koolaid. The the only explanation I can come up with why so many people are in love with the guy.

    July 30, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. cllittle

    I am unsure of what is sadder, that this was newsworthy to begin with or that folks have nothing better to do than gripe about what beer is served.

    July 30, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. Nathan,

    First having the beer is stupid and then complaining about what beer they're going to drink is even more stupid. I bet the President thought that Budweiser was an American beer. Why else would he say he was going to drink it. Surely it wasn't because of the taste. Although I think the congressman from Mass is ridiculous in his assertion that Obama should be drinking an American beer Sam Adams is the one Amerrican beer whose taste rivals most of the foreign beers that someone in Obama's position probably drinks when the rest of us Americans aren't watching. This should tell Obama to mind his own business and leave these type of issues to his surrogates.

    July 30, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Jeff G

    CNN, please find some real news. Or relegate this to your sister quasi-tabloid publications/websites.

    July 30, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. Matt

    Thank you CNN for this hard hitting journalism.

    July 30, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  25. Jon Bernstein

    Pathetic. I'm sure Sam Adams paid well for this "article" and all but if you guys want to pretend to have even a shred of journalistic integrity you should confine this sorry content to a banner ad, where it belongs!

    There are still events of actual importance going on all over the world, but hey thanks for abandoning coverage of events like the ongoing protests in Iran (yes, still ongoing) in order to milk this ridiculous non-story and try to sell some beer.

    July 30, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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