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. Dave

    To Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal: Get a life! It's beer. Not a national security issue. How petty can you get!

    July 30, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. candian pov

    A debate? Seriously? This is news? CNN – the new frontier in tabloids!

    July 30, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Randolph Carter

    Most American microbrews are way over-hopped these days. Crikee, everyone and his brother makes an IPA. What's up with that? More lagers are needed. Have a nice day!

    July 30, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Scott

    With all the tremendous problems that this nation is facing we are spending our valuable time getting upset over what type of beer to serve at this meeting. Race relations are indeed an issue that need to be discussed but beer just shows us how far we still need to come to address real issues in our time. Until we pull our heads out of the sand and decide to fix our problems we will continue to fall short as a real example for the rest of the world.

    July 30, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Robert Reed

    Why did you call Gates by name and not the police officer by his name? He has one too.

    July 30, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. David, WA

    Good God. Of all the things to complain about – the choice of beer at the White House. Rep. Neal doesn't need an August recess, he needs to be fired.

    July 30, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Eden

    this is important?

    July 30, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. NOEL

    Another Massachusets government-knows-best liberal whining about buying or patronizing something American. While I love and voraciously drink Sam Adams, I'd prefer not to have Mr. Nealy dictate what beer I should drink or what's served in the White House.

    July 30, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. lynn in NM

    Here's an idea. How about no beer being served? After all, the President is on duty. The military and everyone else are not allowed to drink while on duty. How aobut a cup of coffee? Maybe a Coke or Pepsi? Oh wait, that's not manly. How about printing some news, not junk? Now, there's an idea!

    July 30, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. yusef

    who cares? I mean really who cares.

    July 30, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. Jeannine

    There were three top stories on CNN website today that pertained to beer and the president. Don't we have more important things to focus on and report on than Beer. Who cares what beer the President, police officer or Mr. Gates chooses to drink during their meetings. Who cares when the economy and country are falling apart and in danger. Get a grip! Let's worry more about the future of this country and the people and how to get back on the road to recovery and less about beer.

    July 30, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Thomas

    wow, people have too much pride. who cares what other people choose as their beer? i'm not 100% sure, but i think this dem is a christian, no? this dem needs to remember that pride is a sin.

    July 30, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. who cares

    is this really what this congressman is most concerned about? Get a life and do your job............

    July 30, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Bob Barry

    This is America. He can drink whatever beer he wants. Also, doesn't Richard Neal have more important things to worry about?

    July 30, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. cameron

    Let's get back to real news CNN. Clearly, what choice of beer served is not a "hot topic" worth discussing. There are more important things to report.

    July 30, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Bryan

    wow ... we really need to pick our battles. this is just stupid.

    July 30, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Brian Campbell

    Apparently Jim Koch realizes his Sam Adams beverage offerings are inadequate. I suggest he try one of the offerings from Deschutes Brewery or one of the many other fine producers in the Pacific Northwest where premium ingredients for beer are a way of life.

    July 30, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. fox-tells-the-truth

    Oh please give us a break – worry about the economy and stay out of problems that should be handled locally.

    July 30, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Len Smith

    I guess congressman don't really have enough to do these days, when they have to concern themselves with what kind of beer the President of the United States drinks. There are a lot of people in the US that have jobs making Bud. Come on get real.

    July 30, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. jt

    CNN "stupidly" allowed this article to be written.

    July 30, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Obama 2.0

    I guess the next thing is to debate what paper to wipe with, give me a break.

    July 30, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. MillerJ

    Just another example of how the MSM is in Obama's pocket. If it had been anyone but Obama doing this, they would have been all over it about how what a waste of time this was an how he should be focused on the economy; but since it's Obama, they fawn all over it. Truly pathetic.

    July 30, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |

    I hope they kiss and make up, so we can try to move forward!!

    July 30, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. mlp

    So Rep. Neal doesn't think a man should be able to drink the beer of his choice. I guess he thinks we shouldn't even sell beers that aren't American owned. How stupid is that? Maybe he should look at how many people Bud employes in the US. But the main issue is that in America a man should be able to drink whatever beer he perfers, even the President.

    July 30, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Bill

    The freedom of choice, isn't that what its about here in the United States.

    July 30, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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