Capitol City Brewing, a pub located a few blocks from the White House, lobbied Obama to serve its 'Equality Ale.'
The president's plan to toss back a few cold ones with some high-profile guests at the White House has the American beer industry hopping mad.
Is the industry all malted up? In a barley?
This afternoon, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard professor and race-relations expert, and James Crowley, the police sergeant who controversially arrested Mr. Gates, are to stop by for a round of brews that President Barack Obama hopes will promote racial comity.
The meeting is raising some sensitive issues, such as: What kind of beer?
The politics of beer.
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.
At first, the Professor's lawyer said the Prof doesn't drink beer. Blue Moon is a curious choice: a wheat beer, it's a Belgian-style white beer. Not an every-day, common-man type of beer. Were either the President of the Professor to choose that, the right would be apoplectic, charging them with being unAmerican and elitist, not just black.
Last night I caught a snippet of Glenn Beck talking, and offering this nugget: this guy (yup, Beck called the President guy), has shown “over and over and over again, who has a deep-seeded hatred for white people or the white culture.”
What the hell white culture is Beck left undefined. But, back to beer.
"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.
Yeah, but it's America's beer.
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.
Flat as yesterday's beer.
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."
Beer is a part of American culture. What could I add?
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."
Jenny cream ale.
Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Congressman who has also written the White House amid the beer ferment, also hopes the meeting will promote beer-drinking nationalism. In a not-so-subtle dig at Bud, he said he knew he and the president "both share a common interest in fostering the success of American-headquartered companies."
In general, the White House strives to showcase American food, wines and traditional concoctions at official meals and parties. Sometimes, even menu items with a foreign provenance are Americanized. In the George W. Bush White House, a favorite chocolate dessert was referred to not as a French-style soufflé, but as a "chocolate freedom."
Can freedom fall flat if it is taken out of the oven too quickly? [Awmygawd!]
Maureen Ogle, author of "Ambitious Brew, The Story of American Beer," said that by holding the summit, the President risks criticism from groups working to persuade the public to drink less alcohol.
Some people have way too much time on their hands.
For instance, there is the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, which led the fight for Prohibition in the early 20th century. Rita K. Wert, the group's national president, said her organization is disappointed that the president is serving beer at all. "There are so many other beverages he could have chosen that would have served just as well," she said, mentioning lemonade or iced tea.