Frothy Diplomacy: What Beer Will Obama Choose for White House Meeting?


The easy part for President Obama might have been getting Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. to accept his invitation to the White House for a beer.

Now comes the hard part: finding just the right beer for the occasion.

Does the president choose a lager for Thursday's gathering? A porter? Maybe a wheat beer? Does he pick something light to help the men with the Washington, D.C., summer heat?

Whatever the president picks, it is likely to be closely watched and could even help propel a lesser-known beer into the mainstream.

"In the summertime people want something maybe just a little bit lighter, more refreshing. They're not going to go for a heavier stout or nut brown," said Steen Sawyer, general manager of John Harvard's Brew House a few steps away from Harvard's campus in Cambridge.

Donna Brazile, an ABC News political consultant, suggested Boston-brewed Sam Adams. The beer is sold everywhere from police bars to academic haunts.

"Honestly, I am a wine drinker and find common ground with beer could be tough," Brazile added. "Who knows, the two might decide to have iced tea. It's hot outside."

Choosing a drink is not an easy decision for politicians. During the heated Democratic primary in Pennsylvania Hillary Clinton pounded back a shot of Crown Royal whiskey and chased it with a beer. Obama visited a sports bar and sampled a Yuengling after making sure it wasn't ''some designer beer.''

This time around the president might instead choose to highlight a beer from his hometown of Chicago.

Goose Island, the city's largest brewery, provided the only beer at Obama's election night celebration in Grant Park, according to Anthony Bowker, the brewer's chief operating officer.

Beer From Obama's Hometown

That night, 3,000 bottles of Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale and Honker's Ale were at the celebration. The brewery was started in 1988, at the beginning of the craft beer resurgence and is made using water from Lake Michigan.

"We're rooting for the home town," Bowker said. "We'd be, naturally, absolutely thrilled. It's a point of pride for us that Chicago beer is known outside the region."

The company sells its beer mostly around the Midwest but started to distribute to Washington after Obama's victory.

"Goose Island beers are available in D.C. now," Bowker said. "And it's all on the coattails of the president."

The presidential choice could provide a big bounce for any beer maker. A presidential endorsement -- official or not -- sticks in people's minds.

Ask anybody what Bill Clinton ate during the 1992 presidential campaign and they are likely to mention McDonald's. And Michelle's Obama's selection of a J.Crew wardrobe brought the company massive spikes in orders, especially of outfits she has worn.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked by reporters at a briefing Monday about the beverage choice, noted that Obama hoisted a Budweiser at baseball's All-Star Game earlier this month. Granted, however, the game was in St. Louis, home of Budweiser.

Gibbs also noted that Crowley told the president he was more partial to Blue Moon.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...