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Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 in At TMV, Health, Media, Politics, Society | 14 comments

What’s The Perfect Beer For Racial Reconciliation At The White House? (UPDATED)


President Obama said he invited Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley to the White House for a beer, presumably to have a laugh about this racial and/or class flare-up about wrongful arrest and hissyfittedness in Cambridge. The more important question than whether this will result in some racial breakthrough, for beer connoisseurs at least, is: What Kind of Beer Will They Drink?

(UPDATE: Gates has said yes — he’d be willing to have a beer with Crowley as Obama suggested.)

It’s not a trivial question. The wrong beer can ruin any delicate social situation, and this one is fraught with pitfalls. Befitting his academic pedigree, Prof. Gates presumably enjoys high-end brew, perhaps something along the lines of a barrel-aged imperial stout (not because it’s black, mind you) or a Belgian quadruple – an evening of cerebral sipping, mulling over the complexity of each quaff. Sgt. Crowley, assuming he has a blue-collar background, could probably go for a PBR or a Samuel Adams Boston Lager – a beer to kick back with in the company of fellow officers after a long day on the beat. The president – whose reconciliation skills are believed to rival those of Jesus – has a tough nut to crack: What will bring God (Gates) and Man (Crowley) together?

The White House surely can get any beer it wants with a snap of Rahm Emanuel’s fingers (when they aren’t in flip-off position). Nearby options include Capital City Brewing, whose Prohibition Porter offers a good balance of refinement with an English tradition of working-class popularity (the style is named after transportation porters). Two neighborhoods north of the White House is the Brickskeller, whose stimulus-bill-length beer list and expert staff could find the perfect beer for a Bruce Willis-Samuel L. Jackson moment. The restaurant’s list includes the Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkle, representing the German altbier style that is itself a “pale ale that has some of the lean, dryness of a lager, with the fruity notes of an ale.”

Or they could stroll to the Wine Specialist around the corner from my office and pick up a few $10, 12-oz bottles of 18-percent World Wide Stout from Delaware-based nutjob brewery Dogfish Head – the alcohol is hidden under a thick raisiny aroma that’s irresistible. Believe me, after a couple bottles each, all will be forgiven and the good professor and constable will both be arrested for public urination on the Treasury Building next door.

Leave your beer suggestions in the comments, and let’s see if we can’t crowdsource a diplomatic coup.