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. Denise

    OMG!!!!! Is he kidding???? This has gotten way to much publicity, people need to get over it! The cop did his job & Gates was an idiot for not showing the cop his ID. Next......

    July 30, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Joe MN

    PLEASE ... It's a couple of bottles of beer. The important thing is to put this issue to rest, not to make a beer commercial!

    If 3 people say they prefer 3 different beers – what's wrong with letting them have their choice. I applaud Sam Adams' approach, but let's remember what the important sentiment is supposed to be here!

    July 30, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Lisa, Saugus MA

    I can't believe what a totally dumb story this is becoming.

    We have people living on the streets, children going to bed hungry, people without jobs to support their families and the main story that we are hearing is this meeting and what beer they are going to drink.

    Just the cost of this PR episode would help feed those in shelters or elderly meals on wheels.

    Let's grow up and put priorities first!

    July 30, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. No More Cheney

    Prof. Gates should sue. You cannot just excuse illegal behavior by the arresting officer who entered the professor's home without warrant, treated Prof. Gates rudely and roughly, and who lied on his police report.
    The 911 call makes it clear that the neighbor reported that it could have been the owner with a suitcase who entered the house. Crowley's behavior was over-the-top by all accounts and especially when he arrested Prof. Gates who is easily recognizable to any thinking person who reads or watches PBS.

    July 30, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. rasta mon

    Red Stripe be from de Islands, make you forget your troubles,be good beer for all.
    Live slow and easy mon!

    July 30, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. SteveE

    Pointless. Everyone has their preference. Who cares?

    July 30, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Kelli

    You can't go wrong with a cold Jamaican Red Stripe beer......and Jerk Chicken!!

    July 30, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. mary

    Seriously, folks, why does everybody think that they can tell the president what to do? He can't choose a beer that's not brewed in the US? I'm glad I'm not a Dem.

    July 30, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Jefferson Handcock

    If this is the best he can do he needs to be voted out of office, and further more the President having a beer with the Officer and a scholar is not going to solve a 400-Plus year old problem

    July 30, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Richard

    This is what politicians do instead of actually working on laws. So petty!

    July 30, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Erika

    You have GOT to be kidding me. This is what people choose to care about?

    July 30, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. Greg Plumb

    Say it ain't so, Mr. President. Bud Light? Ugh. The esteemed Professor Gates isn't much better with Red Stripe (although a FRESH Becks isn't too bad.) At least Sgt. Crowley chose Blue Moon, a brew that's not a bland pilsner.

    Sam Adams, Boulevard, Full Sail, et. al. are among a plethora of superior world-class American brews that have been shut out of the beer summit. "Don't be afraid of flavor, my men!"

    July 30, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Princess

    I think that I am going to live in another country. This is beyond the pale.

    July 30, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. Adrian

    Come on...this issue has been influenced enough by partisanship and propaganda. I think it should be left alone, and just be about 3 guys drinking their beers of choice. Not because there's some intrinsic, ephemeral, propaganda-friendly undertone and hidden meaning in any of the beers, but because they're coming together as 3 equals (in principle, though the Prez is undeniably the VIP) enjoying a common interest and making progress by discussion.

    July 30, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. Jim

    I was really surprised Obama didn't go for a Tsing Tsao or Asahi, given his admiration for communism. Maybe he could sneak in a few Cohibas to make the event "special".

    July 30, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Douglas

    Why is this news? Who cares what beer will be served when the 3 guys get together? And who cares that the president enjoys a Bud Light instead of Sam Adams? This is not a sponsored event.

    July 30, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. Michelle in AL

    Somebody please give Obama some GOOD beer! A nice Rogue Dead Guy Ale or Terrapin Rye Squared would be a good start!

    July 30, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. D

    This whole thing is ridiculous and is getting worse by the day....

    July 30, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Paul Beer Lover

    Right On Sam Adams Summer Ale would be the perfect beer in this situation. Very Balance a harmony of different flavors. Just Perfect

    July 30, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. Retired Army Guy

    Umm... Guys? Health care reform, economy, Iraq/Afghanistan, H1N1 virus... any of those items ring a bell?

    If an elected official feels the need to send a memo to President Obama in regards to what should or should not be served at this meeting, then so be it and to each his own...

    But with all jokes and sarcasm off the table, can the conversation about who will be drinking which brew wait til later on?

    July 30, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. Tiffany

    You've got to be kidding me, right?

    July 30, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Tony in Maine

    No wonder bumper sticker politics is so effective in the United States. Anything more complicated than the choice of beer is shaken off by those who think reality TV is reality.

    Will we now have a breaking news story on the brand of toilet paper preferred by the Obama family along with vociferous criticism from outraged congressmen dancing to the tune of hate radio?

    July 30, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Pete East

    Red Hook ESB, maybe?

    July 30, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. oh wow

    What they really need at this party is some good Burbon! They'll all be best friends after that.

    July 30, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. humble

    Are you serious? I'm really just going to stop reading the news, not because I don't like CNN, but because people like this Congressman choose to take issue with even what beer the men drink. I'm not saying that I am mad at how this is considered news, I am saying I am sad that it is. All the recent news, in fact, everything that has happened since the President has been elected, unfortunately tell me that even though he was elected, the United States still isn't ready for a African-American President.

    July 30, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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