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. Anon

    Um, does the senator from Mass. not have more important things do with his time?

    July 30, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Tracee

    Why is this news CNN? Who cares what beer th Prez drinks

    July 30, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. Marty Campbell

    This is why most of think Congressmen are idiots.

    July 30, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. I Hate Politicians

    Are you telling me that a United States Congressman has nothing better to spend his time on then to write a letter to the President about the beer he prefers to drink??? I would like to think he has slightly more important issues that need his attention.

    July 30, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. jake

    This is turning stupid. It's just a beer, let them have their pick. Can't blame Sam Adams for taking a crack at some product placement. But come on, let them have their favorite beers and discuss what matters without getting sidetracked.

    July 30, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. El


    Come on, the whole point to the meeting is to quell a complete misunderstanding that was overblown by every person invovled.

    July 30, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. are you kidding me?

    Does it really matter what beer they prefer? I strongly urge Rep. Richard Neal to find something better to do with his time.

    July 30, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. munchmom

    Give me a break!! Who cares what kind of beer the prez and "guests" drink......I think this whole thing sets a bad example for our country. If we sit down to solve problems (especially one that Obama created), it should not be over an alcoholic beverage. Why not a nice glass of tea or soda?? What a role model.....

    July 30, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. John

    GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Drink the beer you WANT to drink! Uggh.

    July 30, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Tom Shannon

    At this particular time in history we have congressmen who take time to argue about beer selection? This is absurd and we, the taxpayers, are paying for his time. I think Mrs. Clinton should chime in and say how good for world relations it would be if Mr. Obama would not change his menu choice and drink a foreign owned beer!
    Totally ridiculous.

    July 30, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. dave

    So the message here is that the best way to settle a dispute is to sit down and take a drug together. Frankly, having spent a fair amount of my youth in bars, I've seen more disputes escalate than get settled with alcohol. Cheers often leads to a punch in the nose. On second thought, maybe they ought to get good and drunk and then duke it out.

    July 30, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Alex

    What's funny is that Officer Crowley's choice of Blue Moon is much more snooty than that of the high falutin' Professor Gates (Red Stripe – icky). Now who's the elitist?

    July 30, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. obummer, 1 and done (thank God!)

    I think obummers the worse president ever so far, but this is ridiculous.

    Criticize his spending disasters, his soon to be health care disaster, but let a man choose his own beer!

    July 30, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. GH

    Now type of beer is a political issue? Offering one's guests their favorite is appropriate. Of course, if our President had not felt the need to weigh in on the police/professor issue without all facts, no one would be worrying about what type of beverage was offered.

    July 30, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Charlotte

    Puh-leeze. Don't people have something more significant to worry about? Let the men drink whatever beer they want. This isn't a State dinner, its three guys having a beer. If they want to drink Dos Equis or Heineken instead of Bud or a Coors knockoff, they should be free to do so.

    July 30, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. coffic

    What an embarassment to Massachusetts.

    July 30, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Bruce Stump

    WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON!!!??? Who gives a hoot what kind of beer they drink. It's foolish for this to even be going to this. Dr. Gates should have cooperated more. The officer should have been a bit more lenient perhaps, BUT I WASN"T THERE and neither were all but it appears 5 or 6 people. The president should have never become involved.

    July 30, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Jay

    Seriously? People are getting their panties in a wad over what kind of beer people like?

    People are too uptight about the most mundane stuff these days.

    July 30, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. Bob M

    Leave it to a politician to try to screw things up... Let them drink the beer of their choice.

    July 30, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. pdl

    Apparently, Rep Neal has so much time on his hands that he can take on the overwhelmingly important issue of what beer will be served at the White House. Man, I wish my job would allow me so much free time !.

    July 30, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Rob from Texas

    What a shame some lame Congressman tries to make this situation a marketing ploy. Beer is a personal choice, not an advertising choice. Besides, some of the best beer comes from overseas.

    July 30, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Bill

    Is NOTHING safe from politics! If Rep Neal was being serious, this is pathetic.

    July 30, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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