With two locals heading to the White House tomorrow for a couple of the most-talked-about beers ever, some area brewmasters say a Bay State beer should be on the presidential tap.
When a Cambridge policeman, a Harvard professor, and a former Harvard Law student who went on to greater glory raise their glasses, the local beer community said, it's only appropriate that the contents were brewed in Massachusetts. The cold ones are scheduled to be hoisted at 6 p.m. at a picnic table outside the Oval Office.
Dan Kenary, president and co-founder of Harpoon Brewery, said the Boston waterfront company has been pouring it on Washington, working every “back-door channel” it has.
“We’re reaching out quietly… We’re trying to network our way in,” Kenary said. “We’d love to be the beer at this event.”
James Dorau, manager and former brewmaster of Mercury Brewing Co. in Ipswich, said he was ready to ship a case of Ipswich Ale, Mercury’s flagship brew and the beer campaign’s dark horse, to Washington but “Obama wouldn’t return my phone calls.”
Going local is common courtesy, Dorau said.
“[Obama] wants them to feel comfortable, right? He doesn’t want them to feel like outsiders?''
The Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams, has not been as aggressive.
“We haven’t reached out, but we'd be honored to be served,'' said Samuel Adams spokeswoman Michelle Sullivan.
Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. told the Globe earlier this week that he prefers Red Stripe, which is brewed in Jamaica, or the German beer Beck’s.
Blue Moon, a Belgian-style beer brewed by Coors, seems to be the choice for Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley. That’s what he was seen sipping at Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub in Kendall Square on Friday when Obama called to invite him to Washington, according to the New York Daily News.
But the White House, which has long been known to favor domestic beer at functions, has hinted that Obama likes Budweiser, which bills itself as “The Great American Lager” (despite its 2008 purchase by Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev).
The suggestion that Obama might raise a macrobrew for the peace toast tomorrow left a bitter taste in the mouths of some local bartenders and brewers.
“I wish he wouldn’t,” said Suzanne Schalow, manager and former bartender at Cambridge Common, a restaurant near Porter Square known for its beer selection. “I saw him drinking a PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon] during the campaign and had tears in my eyes… He’s so blessed to run a country with over 480 craft breweries; there’s no need to go macro.”
Schalow said if she were the bartender at the meeting, a local brew would be flowing.
“I’d go with something curtailed to the season, something summery,” she said. “Sam Summer Ale or Harpoon UFO White, it’s a nice Belgian-style white beer.”
Though Harpoon's Kenary is holding out hope — “It’d be fun to see the local guys go with the local choice” — he acknowledges the national brewers “have a little more muscle to get in.”
But Kenary said no matter the brand, “it’s a great reminder of the role beer plays as the most sociable drink out there.”
“It makes the meeting more casual — takes the sting off what’s been going on,” Dorau said. “Plus, people have been doing it for centuries and it’s worked out pretty well.”
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