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. CC

    I saw a copy of the letter the congressman wrote, and he was not "Miffed". He was only suggesting they serve beer from the largest American Brewery, which just happens to be in his state. He also suggested several other great local beers and mentioned legislation that for tax credits for small breweries. CNN stop blowing things soooo out of proportion to get a few web hits.

    July 30, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Pat F


    Keep the Dems and the Obamessiah talking about beer, like a bunch of frat boys. As long as they leave the running of the country to the grown-ups, it's a wonderful distraction. This is about all the community organizer-in-chief should be responsible for.

    July 30, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Rick

    He should get Yuengling, its the oldest brewery in America

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Saboth

    I think the congressman in question should drink Mt. Dew when he goes out for dinner. I love it, and so should he. Brewed by our local pepsi facility, it has a very sweet, syrupy taste, with tons of caffeine. Oh, he doesn't drink soda? How unpatriotic...he should drink something that symbolizes the work of your typical American, not what he likes!

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Mallinda Chong-anderson

    how about just drinking water, why beer? it is not a good message for our young people.

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. ShawnM

    CNN. I am really amazed at the choice of items that you are picking for your ticker in the recent past. Is this supposed to be news? The "Ticker" has become a gossip column. You had to have something like this since you no longer have anything to write about Sarah Palin, right?

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Kelly

    I understand the logic but let them drink what they like. It is nothing worse than eating or drinking something that you don't like and pretending that you like it. Don't ever get between a man and his beer.

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Fenarkleman

    Dude. It's beer. We have bigger things to worry about. Let's move on. When is the next installment of Palin poetry? I want to hear more about the "chi-chacos and sourdoughs," whatever in the world that means. (Direct quote from the now ex-governor of Alaska. Yah. You betcha).

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. Jonathan

    Guess they need to find a new beer... best called "Liberal Lager"...

    It tastes good.....does not fill you up.... makes you feel "stimulated" and puts the tab on the national debt.

    July 30, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. mike stricker

    Bud Light is a beer? Had me fooled. Yeah, Sam Adams - can't we all just get along??

    July 30, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. NWFLDeaconsWife

    The President has already done the correct and polite thing. He requested to know what the guests' preferences were and offered to serve that.

    Per Emily Post, one should serve a beverage of the guests' choice, or at least offer a variety that guests can choose from.

    As Host, he had done what is proper and expected.

    July 30, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. PMcG

    My vote is for O'Douls. That way none of them will get tipsy and say or do something stupid -- again!

    July 30, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. Are you kidding?!?!

    Seriously?! This is what we have come to. Instead of discussing the real issue here – something that is so very real and relevant to many living in America today – people are worrying about what kind of beer they are going to drink? This is a sad testament to our society. Instead of focusing on what we can do to improve this situation and learn some lessons from it, we are bogged down with the pointless details. Wake up people!!

    July 30, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Scott, Tucson

    This issue on the beer is so stupid! Who cares?

    July 30, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. philip butchers

    Another example of how pathetic our politicians are. Tell me Rep. Neal where was your television and cell phone produced??? Get serious and worry about things that matter. Help President Obama fix the issues this country faces!!!!

    July 30, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Doc

    This is what we pay politicians for? To scrutinize beer choices? How about you get back to working on the economy and healthcare?

    July 30, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. Eric

    Clearly Obama respects drinkability more than partisan ale politics

    July 30, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Brad

    um... slow news day?

    July 30, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. here we go

    so many problems, and now a debate about "BEER", give me a break. CNN needs to get a life, if this is all that is going on in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. bohuck

    I am surprised people do not complain/comment about the brand of toilet paper the president uses! Everything Pres. Obama does is under a microscope. I do not ever recall this much attention to other presidents. Bud is a good Chicago beer.

    July 30, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. John

    Why not drink Shiner Bock? Nothing like a good cold Texas beer!

    July 30, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Judy Stephensen

    Why are they using beer as a peacemaker in the first place? Why put that forth to the nation as a symbol of peace?

    July 30, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. Chris

    I honestly believe this is why this country is suffering as it has been. With all of the important issues going on in the world this is what we're most concerned about? Our elected leaders are abysmal failures. I am not a huge fan of Obama but I did feel this was a nice idea to try and calm the fury that has developed over this issue. Now though he's getting flack for what beer is served. Give me a break.

    July 30, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. Tyler

    I'm going to smash my head into the desk several times after reading this story. Is this really what people sit around and think about?

    July 30, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. Eric

    Really? how about, BYOB...sheesh.

    July 30, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13