The Friday Fermentable: The Presidential Beer Summit Edition

I absolutely guarantee that the President wanted a fine, handcrafted American ale. But I am certain that the conservative press would've jumped this as an "elitist" choice as they did his campaign comments on arugula.

Instead, he chose Bud Light.

The President had a choice to promote the craft-brewing industry in the US - the most noble and patriotic of pursuits shared by our Founding Fathers.

Instead, craft brewers across the country - nay, perhaps the world - let forth a collective "D'oh" upon the announcement of the President's watered-down choice.

There has been much ado about President Obama having a beer summit tonight with Harvard scholar, Professor Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge police officer, Sgt James Crowley. Over beer tonight near the Rose Garden, the three will discuss the exhaustively-covered arrest of the professor at his home by Sgt. Crowley on 16th July. (Detailed police report at The Smoking Gun)

At the time I wrote this last night, Gates was supposed to have been having a Red Stripe but changed at the last minute to a Sam Adams Light. I'll give him credit for selecting a beer from Sam Koch's company that helped popularize the craft-brewing resurgence as started by Fritz Maytag's Anchor Steam. No surprise, however, that this switch from Red Stripe angered everyone's favorite Jamaican-born, Philadelphia attorney blogger, Field Negro - self-titled after the famous Malcolm X quote - who stated,
But he pissed me off when he dissed my Red Stripe and went with some A-merry-can brew. He knows damn good and well that he prefers Red Stripe. How can he have an honest discussion about race when he isn't even honest about the damn beer he drinks?

Sgt Crowley selected Blue Moon, a Belgian-style witbier that was developed originally by Keith Villa, the brewmaster at Sandlot Brewery, Molson Coors on-site brewery at Coors Field in Denver.

I was unaware that Vice President Biden would be in the picture as well> I thought he'd pick a good, blue-collar Pennsylvania beer but his choice was a Buckler nonalcoholic beer. I had not been aware that Biden is a teetotaler inlight of his family's long history with alcoholism, including his father (despite this, there are several online sources that claim Biden is an alcoholic).

I dunno. Taken together, I viewed this summit as a bust for real beer in America. I'm also not sure what the discussion did for race relations in America - Sgt Crowley was quoted in the New York Times as follows:

Crowley said it was a private and frank discussion, adding he and Gates have different perspectives.

"I think what you had today was two gentlemen who agreed to disagree on a particular issue," Crowley told reporters. "I don't think that we spent too much time dwelling on the past. We spent a lot of time discussing the future."

Asked about the president's contribution to the meeting, Crowley said: "He provided the beer."

Here are a few related posts and articles I found most interesting that may not be covered extensively in the morass of media:

A serious reflection on being black at another Ivy League institution by Darryl L Peterkin, blogger at Philadelphia Negro (title from the eponymous W.E.B. DuBois book) and high school classmate of PharmGirl MD.

A very erudite satire of the dialogue from New Yorker blogger, John Kenney (hat-tip, tweet from MD/PhD student blogger, Ben Ferguson @nosugref.)

Finally, Chicago Sun-Times religion writer, Kathleen Falsani, interviewed local hero and Fullsteam Brewery founder (and her classmate from Wheaton College), Sean Lilly Wilson, in her article on the spiritual aspects of beer. Like me, Falsani noted the lack of craft beers at the summit:

(Bud? Red Stripe? Blue Moon? Why not a few nice craft beers brewed locally? Capitol Brewery, located not far from the White House, offers one called Equality Ale, for instance.)

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I was VERY disappointed in the beer choices. If Gates did have a Sam Adams Light then he's off the hook, but I'm ashamed of the others. Especially Obama's Bud Light.

Let's be honest though. There is NOTHING any president can do that won't be criticized by some "offended" group, and at some point the "image sanitizers" have to just say, 'ah, screw it. Let the President drink an elite microbrew. After all, he's the President.'

Here's what he should have done. He should have seated everyone and threw a six pack of Sam Adams Longshot on the table and said, "Here fellas, let's see what our citizens are brewing in their own homes."

Of all the presidents I'm seen in my lifetime, I would have loved to sit down and have a beer with any of them. Especially Carter since he signed the bill to legalize homebrewing, but is he starts talking about peanut farming, I'm outta there.

I love ol' Joe Biden, a well-intentioned man if ever there was one, but he was probably on orders to go "non" because God knows what he might've said with a little buzz on. "Liar's Poker, anyone?"

And even with Joe on his best behavior and Prez being silent mediator, it doesn't look like much got accomplished with this lawn fete, just a media gangbang. For though he handled himself well, Crowley seemed to have an attitude when he held his press conference (as if sending a signal to his buddies in blue he didn't cave) and Gates from what I gathered just went on his way. They agreed to disagree and that's it. There's Happy Hour and then there's Nappy Hour... this unfortunately was the latter, a big snooze!

But I am certain that the conservative press would've jumped [Obama's choice of Budweiser] as an "elitist" choice as they did his campaign comments on arugula.

There was some to-do on Fox News about his choice of a beer from a now foreign owned brewery. Some critics just can never be pleased, I guess.

Woops! I meant, jumped on his hypothetical choice of an American craft beer.

Thanks for this post. My friend living near the Eiffel Tower may need to look into this. However, I am skeptical at drug companies and their promises. I wonder if this will be another one of those "lifetime treatments" or cures

witbier?( made by the Adolf (no relation) Curs co, no less?) sorry, that doesn't pass the decent beer lovin' peeps smell test either.

triple FAIL!

By BikeMonkey (not verified) on 31 Jul 2009 #permalink

Since this whole beer thing was staged as a symbolic act of reconciliation and understanding, the chosen symbolism of the beers does become relevant. While we have many more pressing concerns in the world, this tiny moment would have been best capitalized upon with a six pack of something like Yeungling, America's oldest brewery in Pottstown, PA... For pure beer appreciation, a craft brew would have been best I agree.
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