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. New Low

    Well this is a new low for the white house, leader of the soon to be ex- stongest nation in the world, and headlines are being made about his decision to bring in 'certain beers' for a discussion between two men he has no business making time for, and for no reason that he has business being involved with. I'm am seriously considering moving to Europe, sadly enough it's looking better and better.

    July 30, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Chase

    Really? It's beer! I think the message we should be looking at is that whenever you have a problem, it can be solved by sitting with the guys in the backyard and drinking alcohol...the cause of and solution to, all of life's problems...HA!

    July 30, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. mona

    it comes as absolutely no surprise to me that sam adams/brewmaster exhibits more sense than our congressman. good for you sam, i'm buying sam adams this weekend in honor of your display of common sense. what a better place this country could become if the politicians and media worried about the important issues instead of things like what kind of beer should be served at one particular event.

    July 30, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Kevin

    My god, really? _WHAT BEER_ is not the issue at hand and it shouldn't be. If they want to drink a beer, then they should. This letter is irresponsible at best, given the issues the men should and would be discussing.

    July 30, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Ron Booth

    Seems like Rep. Richard Neal is an political opportunist trying to grab some attention for himself. Certainly he raises some perfectly valid points but in doing so he detracts from what should be a somewhat serious, somber and reflective moment as these three gather.

    Rep. Neal, this is a pitch that should have been saved for another occasion, now go have a seat at the little kids table.

    July 30, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Mike Fairbanks

    These guys have it all wrong.

    First, they should use an American beer only. That I agree with. But forget Sam Adams. That stuff isn't all that good.

    Try a microbrewery from the D.C. area. Get really local.

    My favorite (from Atlanta) is Sweetwater Brewery. My favorite beer is called 420. Barack knows all about 420, don't you baraky?

    July 30, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. Keith in Austin

    With the economy in shambles,healthcare reform imploding and tax and spend Democrats running amok is the a newswothy story or just another cheesy photo-op for a pitiful president? Great job CNN! Typical liberal media garbage.

    July 30, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Really

    Oh come on and get a life people!

    July 30, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. Elizabeth Colon

    Sam Adams is, of course, the best and most flavorful of the American beers. But then, it's real beer, unlike most of the others.

    July 30, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. John

    This is why congress has such a low approval rating. Instead of addressing the nations economic problems, national security and health care, Rep. Neal chooses to criticize Pres. Obama's choice of beverage. Congratulations, Massachusetts, you have yourself a real winner.

    July 30, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Michael from Connecticut

    Are you kiddding??? Don't we have more important things than the beer they choose!

    July 30, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Ric

    No wonder nothing gets done in DC, focus on the real issues don't create new meaningless ones

    July 30, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  13. Colleen

    Who cares what beer they drink? When will politicians and the media get off this stupid nit-picking carousel and back to to governing and reporting? Have you all completely lost your minds? Snap out it already!

    July 30, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. Emilio Poli

    I think the President should be able to drink any beer he wants...just like me. This is America and this petty crap has got to stop.

    July 30, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  15. gt

    how about malt liguor ...

    July 30, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. KP

    Serve lemonade and invite Michele and the girls.

    July 30, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. Chris

    Everybody's got to get in a promotion or try to make a buck and turn this into a commercial event. Let them choose their own beer, regardless of where it's brewed/owned and let them enjoy their beer call and discussions without being hastled for their choices.

    July 30, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. paula

    I didn't even finish reading this article, I was so peeved by just the first couple of lines. I mean, honest to God, do these people have nothing better to do than create friction? Who cares what kind of beer gets served??? Can't they just sit down and talk? Must everything be about political "correctness"??? This guy should get a real job with real concerns as he's obviously been in DC too long.

    July 30, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. Lionel

    Get a life, people. does it REALLY matter what they're drinking as long as this issue goes away and we can re-focus on the important issues: war in the middle-east and providing affordable healthcare to everyone ????

    July 30, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. We Love Sarah

    Dear God,

    Please help these United States of America???!

    July 30, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. Theresa

    Give me a break !!!! A nation in crisis and this is what CNN chooses to put on the ticker.

    July 30, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. Joe Six

    Children, children, even have to fight over the beer. Nothing more important to do? How about health care?

    July 30, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  23. Paula

    Okay...everything is not an issue. Sometime it's just beer.

    July 30, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. BB

    I'd love to leave a comment but I don't even have words to describe how absurd this debate is.

    Were it me I would've definitely asked for Harpoon IPA or Sam Summer. But that's just because.... they happen to be my favorite.

    July 30, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. Torch

    I want them all to drink it Conehead style!

    Mass quantities!

    This is going to be an awkward event for sure. If I were Crowley, I'd be careful because he'll be up against a pair of IVY league elitists and they know he's wrong even though he's right.

    Heaven help us all.

    July 30, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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