Barack and Beer: An Unnatural Combo?
No matter what you think of President Barack Obama's politics, you have to give him this much: He knows that men should settle their disputes with a couple of beers and a hearty talk.
However, judging by the beers that the men involved in today's White House chat - especially the president - were ingesting, this great American tradition may have been a little more forced than it should have been.
By now, everyone pretty much knows the story of Obama inviting recently arrested (and angry) Harvard Professor Henry Gates and heavily criticized (and angry) Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley to the White House to talk about the recent incident that involved them and the harsh words for Crowley from the president. If you don't, here's a story about it that I wrote on Monday for the Denver Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2009/07/27/daily17.html
The problem was this: When each men was asked to pick their beer, they came up with some strange choices. Gates went for a Red Stripe (a non-American beer at a great American gathering), Crowley passed over fine local options for a Blue Moon and Obama, appearing to flail and grab at the first name he could think of, chose a Budweiser. Seriously. You're the leader of the free world, you could have any brewer in America ship you a couple of cases and you choose Budweiser? Wow.
Here's the way I think it should have gone:
*Gates the professor from the hoity-toity Cambridge university should have picked something from Cambridge Brewing, which is not just an incredible local gift to the beer world but, like most professors, is very environmentally conscious. The barrel-fermented sour wild ale Cerise Cassee
was, in this beer geek's opinion, the best offering at last year's Great American Beer Festival, so it certainly deserved a seat at the White House table.
*Crowley's a little more blue collar, so he could have gone with a Sam Adams product. Since he clearly likes Belgian-style wheat beers, we'll give him an Imperial White
, something that should both light up his taste buds and take a little bit of the edge off when the professor and the president start to team up against him.
*Obama, meanwhile, is an Illinois resident, so he ought to bring something from his home state to the party. Goose Island is the finest brewery in the Chicago area, and he'd have quite a variety of styles from which to choose. But since he's shown that his beer tastes are, shall we say, quite conservative, we won't give him something too big. The Honkers Ale
is an easily drinkable English-style bitter appropriate as a session beer - just what he needs here.
That's one beer geek's opinion. Anyone got better suggestions?