White House Meeting Ferments Beer Brew-hahha

It’s not unusual for people attempting to smooth over a contentious discussion to say that they’d of course be willing to get together for a friendly beer some time. Apparently, when one has the resources and media visibility of the President, it’s possible to actually pull this off, but trouble can ensue.

When President Obama called Cambridge police officer Crowley last week to try to smooth over tension resulting from Obama’s declaration that Crowley’s arrest of Professor Gates had been “stupid”, Officer Crowley suggested that the three men should get together for a few beers. It seems that Obama thought this was a good idea, and a beer summit between the three men is currently scheduled to take place are scheduled to get together at a White House and knock back a couple cold ones.

However, this morning’s Wall Street Journal reveals that peace making is never simple, American brewers are upset over the likely offering at the beer fest:

Late Wednesday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs hinted the presidential cooler will likely be stocked with what he understood to be the two guests’ own personal favorites — Red Stripe and Blue Moon.

“The president will drink Bud Light,” Mr. Gibbs added.

The problem is that all three beers are products of foreign companies. Red Stripe is brewed by London-based Diageo PLC. Blue Moon is sold by a joint venture in which London-based SABMiller has a majority stake.

And Bud Light? It is made by Anheuser-Busch — which is now known as Anseuser-Busch InBev NV after getting bought last year by a giant Belgian-Brazilian company.

Among rival brewers, the news fell flat. “We would hope they would pick a family-owned, American beer to lubricate the conversation,” said Bill Manley, a spokesman for the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., a California-based brewer that happens to be family-owned.

Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams, decried “the foreign domination of something so basic and important to our culture as beer.”

Genesee Brewery, Rochester, N.Y., released a statement congratulating the president for having beer at the meeting but adding: “We just hope the next time the President has a beer, he chooses an American beer, made by American workers, and an American-owned brewery like Genesee.”

For the past several days, David von Storch, co-founder of Capitol City Brewing Company — which owns a brewpub just a few blocks from the White House — has been lobbying the administration to serve his company’s “Equality Ale.”

“What better beer to have them drink than the only beer brewed in the District of Columbia, Capitol City Brewing Company Equality Ale!” Mr. von Storch wrote in an email he sent Tuesday to several White House staffers.

When questioned by reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Gibbs, the White House spokesman, tackled the beer issue head-on. “As I understand it — I have not heard this, I’ve read this, so I’ll just repeat what I’ve read, that Professor Gates said he liked Red Stripe, and I believe Sergeant Crowley mentioned to the president that he liked Blue Moon. So we’ll have the gamut covered tomorrow afternoon. I think we’re still thinking, weather permitting, the picnic table out back. All right?”

Dan Kenary, president of Boston-based Harpoon Brewery, said he wanted to make a run at getting some of his beer into the meeting but couldn’t find any intermediaries with close White House contacts. “I think just showing up at the gate with a case of Harpoon would make them look at us funny,” he said.

Not to add to the frey, but the ale which most immediately springs to my mind is Avery Brewing Company’s “Collaboration Not Litigation Ale”.

No one seems to be aiming that high, however. Some advocate of hope and change to be planning to drink the famously making-love-in-a-canoe Bud Light. But perhaps it’s indicative that beer is truly the drink of the working man that Officer Crowley actually have the highest grade beer tastes — though as quality beers go I’d see Blue Moon as more of a filler than a headliner.

24 Responses to White House Meeting Ferments Beer Brew-hahha

  1. Dale Price says:

    Hard to fault the President’s fridge choices, at least for the first two. I’m especially fond of Red Stripe. However, I’ll stipulate that Blue Moon is a trifle overrated, if still solid.

    In the spirit of “Buy American,” let me suggest the fine Texas brew Jay Anderson put me on the trail of: Shiner Bock.

  2. Mark DeFrancisis says:

    I agree with Dale that Blue Moon is overrated. There are many other domestics of its type that beat it hands down.

    As I am an IPA fan, I’d pick Sierra Nevada’s or even Anchor Steam’s.

  3. Rick Lugari says:

    I agree with the above about Blue Moon. Still hard to fault anyone who prefers it because it’s still far better than any of the American mass-market brews. You want to rail on the evil effects of a consumerist society – start there!

  4. Jay Anderson says:

    Yes on the Shiner, Dale! But I doubt the President would go for a Texas beer.

  5. jonathanjones02 says:

    They could have compromised, maybe Rolling Rock….anyway, I am a big fan of Shiner and Blue Moon. And people do rightly state that Blue Moon can be overrated – but I bet they have yet to try it from the tap with an orange slice. Finally, I also like several of the beers people tend to make of – namely Miller GD and HL.

    Or maybe I drink too much…..

  6. Blue Moon isn’t my choice of beer, but with an orange slice and from the tap, it isn’t bad.

    Red Strip and Bud Light are terrible choices.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, Shiner and Abita are excellent American choices. Better than the name-brand stuff, and much better than the West coast micros (I think it was Anchor Steam that I was given a little glass of in one of those taster deals-couldn’t finish it, it was so nasty.)

  7. Chris M says:

    I’ll give the President his due. This is a good idea and kudos for him for running with it.

    Now if they’d only serve PBR in tall cans…

  8. Zak says:

    I just tried Shiner Bock for the first time last week – it was very good. As a Chicago fellow, I would hope the President preferred Goose Island – maybe a Honkers Ale.

  9. Mark DeFrancisis says:


    I love Goose Island 312.

  10. One could pretty easily list off two dozen breweries whose offerings are better than the brews on offer at the White Hous, but if we’re calling out local favorites I have to stand up for St. Arnold’s (down in Houston) over the more mass market Shiner. Also Independence Brewery here in Austin, with a solid Independence Ale (classic American pale ale) and for those who don’t like the bitterness as much, Bootlegger Brown Ale.

  11. Phillip says:

    Let’s through in Smuttynose also.

  12. Phillip says:

    And to wrap up, if one is ever in Boise, go to The Ram and get the Buttface. Its pronounced the way its spelled.

  13. paul zummo says:

    I am partial to the Otter Creek brews myself, particularly the Stove Pipe Porter. But I’m also down with the “Champagne of Beers”: Miller High Life.

  14. Rick Lugari says:

    Paul, I’ve never had any Otter Creek’s before but I sure appreciate a nice porter. Darwin turned me onto Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter – it’s an old English brew. Dude, it’s beautiful…

    Oh, Rogue’s Mocha Porter has a lot of character and believe it or not, Samuel Adam’s Honey Porter is really nice.

  15. Blackadder says:

    Apparently the Beer Summit is inspiring all sort of beer related analysis.

  16. Kyle Cupp says:

    But I doubt the President would go for a Texas beer.

    His loss, Jay.

  17. Kyle Cupp says:

    I think it’d be funny if the president drank Arrogant Bastard Ale.

  18. Tito Edwards says:

    After moving to Texas a few years ago, I fell for Shiner hard.

    It’s what I order every time here in Houston.

    God help me if I ever visit out of state or if a restaurant doesn’t carry Shiner.

    I’ll have to “regress” to rum or scotch beverages.

  19. Donald R. McClarey says:

    As one of the rare breed of mostly Irish Americans who are life-long abstainers from beverages containing alcohol, I will not venture an opinion of the beer to be served. I would merely note that if any DC cops are below their DUI quota of tickets, this get together presents possibilities!

  20. e. says:

    Not a summit, just a beer, Obama says


    Beer offer turns Gates situation into brewhaha

    Wilmore noted that Gates had said “yo mama” during his confrontation with Crowley.

    “How many decades has he been holding that in?” Wilmore said. “Did he call him a jive turkey, too?”

    Wilmore did have one thing in common with white comics: He couldn’t resist a beer joke.

    “Alcohol — that’ll end well,” he said. “Booze isn’t how you resolve a racial conflict. It’s how you start one.”

  21. Foxfier says:

    Killian’s Red is good– very inexpensive, yet high enough quality that my Guiness-snob beer drinker friends enjoy it without qualm. (Me, I enjoy both Killians and PBR cans.)

    Wanna be practical, a variety pack of Weinhards would probably be the way to go, though.

    Wait, I suggested practicality… for a college professor and a politician… where was my mind?

  22. Bill Hoogsteden says:

    They could’ve gone with Yuengling,(Oldest AMERICAN beer)!

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