The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Washington Life

A Fine Belgian Beer Called Budweiser

By Garance Franke-Ruta
What could be more American than a Bud Light? It's the beer of ball games, barbecues and, as of tonight, President Obama, who will raise a bottle (or a glass) with Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at a White House picnic table at 6 p.m. for a little American cultural reconciliation.

The only caveat: Sometime after Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in 2008, Budweiser ceased to be an American company, selling itself to InBev, a gigantic Flemish-Brazilian beer consortium based in Leuven, Belgium.

Today, even Wikipedia calls Bud "an American-style beer", instead of an American one. Gates, for his part, will enjoy a Jamaican Red Stripe beer -- a brand now owned by London-based international liquor holding company Diageo -- and Crowley will have a Blue Moon -- a Belgian-style hefeweizen beer owned by MillerCoors, the Chicago-based joint venture that's a prime Anheuser-Busch competitor in the U.S. and Canada.

The takehome? In today's international economy, American-style and other beers are as much an amalgam of influences as the nation itself. Stands to reason: after all, that iconic "American-style" Bud was named after the town of Budweis, Bohemia, and brewed in mimicry of that German style.

Posted at 12:53 PM ET on Jul 30, 2009  | Category:  Washington Life
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Previous: Weighing In on the White House 'Beer Summit' | Next: Obama's Backyard Summit

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A Bud Light shared all around the world with good humour and thinking in a better future!

Posted by: avesaabrasil | August 1, 2009 7:30 AM

PROTEST this Sunday August 2, 2009 at 12:00 noon on the public sidewalk in front of the Gates Residence; 17 Ware Street, Cambridge MA 02138


Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2009 12:36 PM

Of course, it is not the beer that is important here... but let us not allow that comment about the origin of Anheuser Busch Budweiser to pass. Budweis is the German name for a Czech town in Bohemia, and its brewing processes should not be described as German. If A-B attempted to mimic Budvar they should try again. The Czech variety has taste. Bud Light tastes like..... well, I guess it really has no taste.

Posted by: cscottj44 | July 31, 2009 9:20 AM

President Obama should quit drinking alcohol. It's affecting his judgment.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | July 31, 2009 8:33 AM

MESSAGE TO: praywithangel | July 30, 2009 2:50 PM

Sorry, There is no GOD. The only thing I pray for is religion to be removed from political discussions.

Posted by: gregp1 | July 30, 2009 11:25 PM

MESSAGE TO: praywithangel | July 30, 2009 2:50 PM

Sorry, There is no GOD. The only thing I pray for is religion to be removed from political discussions.

Posted by: gregp1 | July 30, 2009 11:24 PM

None of which compares to my new Ford Fusion which was made in Mexico to compete with the Toyota Camry which is made in Kentucky or with the Honda Accord which is made in Ohio.

Posted by: malachhamovess | July 30, 2009 5:55 PM

One word: Guinness. Sgt Crowley should know better. His cousin, yes cousin, Prof. Gates should know better. And President O'bama, a bit Irish himself, should have ordered up pints of that great 250 year old stout.

Posted by: dubhlaoich | July 30, 2009 4:37 PM


• Bottom line: Good policing would have avoided arrest and controversy

Already the word is out: Sgt. Crowley will NOT apologize in any way, shape or manner, and that the parties have "agreed to disagree."

If what began as an unnecessary and avoidable confrontation ends in stalemate, there will be no "lessons learned" other than the conclusion that a POTUS should never inject himself into a routine local policing issue.

But -- what if this were no "routine" incident, but part of a contrived set-up intended to cast aspersions on the character and reputation of Professor Gates? What if the professor had been "targeted" by so-called "community stalkers" for a campaign of continuous harassment?

What Gates' front door had been purposely sealed shut, leading him to force his way into his home, setting in motion the events that led to his eventual -- perhaps, preordained -- arrest?

President Obama was wrong to use the word "stupidly" in the same sentence as the word "police." But he was NOT wrong in noting that the outcome of the incident did not constitute good policing. A skilled, trained officer should be able to "handle" a 58-year-old college professor who walks with a cane. That did not happen.

This was not just a "failure to communicate." There was no moral equivalency between the actions of Professor Gates, distressed at the police intrusion and the manner in which he was treated, and Sgt. Crowley, a supposedly trained officer who should have been able to do his job without resorting to the arrest and shackling of an understandably distressed older man.

If President Obama does not underscore the unacceptability of the outcome, he will have demonstrated a disturbing tendency to equivocate when under pressure.

On the contrary, if President Obama reiterates the main point -- that good policing would have defused a stand-off that never should have occurred in the first place -- he will ensure that this "teachable moment" enhances his reputation as healer-in-chief.



OR (if link is corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 30, 2009 4:15 PM

perhaps they all should drik from the same pot using straws, as described in Desire Luzinda's(Uganda) pop video (it is on you tube)

very nice catchy tune and the beer looks interesting

NINA OMWAAMI = Luganda language for" I have a Husband"


Posted by: beergate | July 30, 2009 3:38 PM

Maybe we should all take a moment to reflect about highway fatalities and healthcare costs related to alcoholism and alcohol abuse.. the numbers are 'sobering'...regardless of brand preference....

Posted by: newbeeboy | July 30, 2009 3:26 PM

Just my opinion...I have considering all of the events played out under this situation and first of all, the lady calling the police should be apologized to, because she was only doing a civic duty as a neighbor..we need more who will watch out and report sightings that are out of the norm. Secondly, Mr Gates, could have been more respectfull in complying with the officers. A lot of time and energy has gone on about this whole ordeal and to be a professor does not mean we make the right decisions outside the class room. We as mature adults must set examples in our speech, actions and reactions...this seems to be an ongoing problem with mature educators, professionals and those who have clout to be heard. Third, the officer did state, he did know who the professor was...maybe this irritated the professor because his title was not admonished. Officers of law often get irritated when they are not respected for doing their job. If the officers had not responded to the call and his home had actually been burglarized, the professor would most likely state, " this reaction was racial." If the neighbor had not called the police, the professor most likely would say, " his neighbors are prejudice. All of this could have easily been avoided if some common sense had come into the setting. I am african american with indian and caucasion decent. I am by no means taking anyone side as to how the media has blown this up. I did hear a gentleman on CNN make a statement that applies from my point of view that should or could have been pointed out by President Obama that only to me made some clarity. Not knowing the exact situation, believe that our police officers most of the time react to a negative action, unless all of the facts were given to him. Now about the beer summit...I don't know if this is wise over alcohol. It has been known that people don't make clear decisions under the influence of one beer. Why not over lemonade, since it is a hot day. Plus, if families are to be involved such as a picnic, children should not see adults drinking alcohol or having to hash situations out over alcohol. But, again, these are my opinions, I pray for all of the gentlemen. Titles often times get in the way of our common sense. With alcoholic beverage such as beer, more words might be spoken and misconstrued. Be prayerful

Posted by: praywithangel | July 30, 2009 2:50 PM

Here are my recommendations for the "Beer Summit", all American microbrews:

Posted by: goodwillhinton | July 30, 2009 2:45 PM

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