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. GI Joe

    I have a right to choose what I drink - You have a right to choose what you drink - They have a right to choose what they drink.

    Some of you people are petty and hateful. It's a free country.

    July 30, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. joe m

    can we please drop this subject. who cares what beer these guys drink for this purely PR event. this event is for show and helps only in allowing the president to get beyond what he said. one beer each is not going to affect the sales projections for anyone. i'd sooner have wanted to see a true airing out of the underlying issues, rather than this photo-op. race remains a serious issue in the culture of america, because we still have people who choose to behave badly; no matter the color of their skin, their gender, class, or profession. serious issues deserve better than a photo-op.

    July 30, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. WI Vet

    OK THIS IS CRAZY. What national concern is it what dang beer these men drink. The POTUS is trying to make a point here in this meeting and what the media is highlighing in a Mass. Senator lobbying for the local beer company. Really that is where we are on news.

    BUT.........as a beer drinker and a Milwaukeeaen, the idea of custom Sam Adams beer is very tempting. Sam's is very goos and that is an offer I couldn't or wouldn't refuse. And this is a decision of the drinkers and noone else.


    July 30, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. YtownSports

    Should we really be spending ANY time worrying about this? It's a meeting that shouldn't even be taking place.

    July 30, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Alert the media

    It could get embarrassing should Sgt. Crowley enforce the public drinking ordinance.

    July 30, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. sagin

    ..One of the reasons I love America so dearly....what a story:)!

    July 30, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. BH

    Interesting to see that the Massachusetts Congressional delegation has so little to do that they can complain about other people's beer.

    July 30, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. SM

    why is this news?

    July 30, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Ausberto

    There is no need to make a "special" Sam Adams beer for the event. The Boston Lager is simply superb.

    July 30, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Rick

    Finally, a news story that doesn't reek of doom. I think the Pres should drink whatever beer he likes. I don't think his beverage has to symbolize anything, really. That said, I personally think Bud is a terrible beer, and that any flavor of Sam Adam is great.

    July 30, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. Seriously?

    Seriously? With all that is going on, with all that needs to happen to revive this country, their are people worried about BEER? What a non-issue. Is this a joke?.

    July 30, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. jersey girl

    Gee- I'm so proud-

    Obama is truly a class act; a one-man show all of his own.

    come on-–a beer fest? what's next frat parties?

    July 30, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. robmarie

    There are a million beers to choose from oh course someone will find offense...But no matter what his choice... President Obama is awesome....

    July 30, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Kathie Bara

    Union made and bottled in the US should definately be a must!!

    July 30, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. Jack in Texas

    Puleeze.....get back to work on something important, like defeating the healthcare debacle.

    July 30, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Edna

    Aren't these people paid to work for their consituents? That is why this country is in such a sad state of affairs. Who cares what type of beer they drink. The fact that they are meeting is the important point. Richard Neal needs to get a life.

    July 30, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Joe

    Give me a break. Fix healthcare, not beer choices for a get together!

    July 30, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Dutch

    Isn't it obvious? The men attending the meeting should be served thusly:
    Fill a pint glass 2/3 with Bass Ale holding the glass at a 45 degree angle. Upright the glass and place a teaspoon on the lip and fill the remainder of the glass with Guinness by pouring it slowly over the back of the spoon.
    Its called a Black & Tan – an excellent libation that exceeds the sum of its parts.

    July 30, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Chrissy, TX

    Who gives a crap! Fix the economy! What a waste a time by this stupid president. His smooth talk has run its course. Now we are finding out the real Obama.....actions speak louder than words and he doesnt have any action.

    July 30, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. Normal Guy

    Might I suggest Mad Dog 20/20 or Pabst Blue Ribbon for the two black men?

    July 30, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. chad

    who cares? they are probably drinking what they LIKE. I guess that sentor has nothing else to think about these days.....

    July 30, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Really?? With all that is going on in this country this waste of space Representative is writing letters about about what beer should be served at this meeting? Writing letters because the companies are owned by conglomerates in other countries. For crying out load, it does not matter what is served.. Focus your time on more important matters.

    Want to bet this guy drinks French wine and drives a BMW or a Mercedes? Not a ford or a Chevy.

    July 30, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. mtm

    This piece turns my stomach. Why is this news? Where are the Cronkite's of our generation?

    July 30, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. Pat

    I think we have much more important things to worry about than what beer the President is having.

    July 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Stormkitty

    Why is this even newsworthy? Who even cares what kind of beer they will be drinking. I just hope the police officer doesn't break down and apologize. I don't feel he did anything wrong.

    July 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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