A More Diplomatic Choice of Beer
According to published reports, President Obama has already iced down the beers for his meeting today with professor Henry Louis Gates and police Sgt. James Crowley, with the professor requesting Red Stripe, the police officer preferring Blue Moon (as in, "once in a...?") and Bud Light for the chief executive.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager, however, might have been a better choice for the message Obama wanted to get across, and not simply because the company is headquartered in Boston. Of course, there has been at least one poll. Here's why:
In 1770, British troops fired on a crowd of hecklers who were tossing snowballs at them. Among the dead was a black dock worker named Crispus Attucks.
The Boston press portrayed the victims as unruly rabble. But Samuel Adams (the patriot, not the beer) ardently defended the protesters, calling the killings the Boston Massacre and stirring up resentment that would erupt into the American Revolution. Attucks would go down in history books as the revolution's first martyr.
Eventually, Adams would be interred in Boston's Granary Burying Ground , also the final resting place for Attucks. A source from the Boston Beer Co. tells me that the men's burial plots are next to one another, an unusual arrangement for an age when segregation in life and death was the norm.
Instead of quaffing the lager, President Obama could convey an even more potent symbolism by serving a layered half-and-half with Samuel Adams Imperial White (a strong spiced ale) on the bottom and the lighter Samuel Adams Black Lager on top.
This beer cocktail would underscore the danger of making prejudicial assumptions: Most drinkers, after all, would assume that a dark beer is automatically stronger and heavier than a pale one and pour the former first. Slowly, the gold and ebony layers would bleed together into an amber, a symbol of racial integration and harmony . . . that is, unless the president and his guests were really thirsty and chugged their brews. Nothing wrong with that, either.
-- Greg Kitsock, who writes the Food section's monthly Beer column.
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