Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obama Beer Summit

The following has little to no relevance to the Inland Empire, industrial real estate or economics.

But it does shed some light on beer and how it changes the world.

While I commend Obama on raising beer awareness globally, I am not sure if I agree with the political grandstanding and the message the choice of beer sends.

Obama Beer Summit Choices Make For A Happy Hour

By choosing beer for the meeting instead of, say, a Washington state pinot noir or a summery gin and tonic, what was the president trying to telegraph?

I'd say he's attempting to cater his appearance to the everyday layperson throughout Middle America. Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world, and the oldest and most popular in the United States. Most of the rebel meetings of our Founding Fathers were based around a pub, or a big tub of beer, and many of them brewed beer on the side. Many of the world's most important — and maybe some of the worst — decisions were probably based around a glass of beer.

Can you tell us what the beer choices for the summit might tell us about the quaffers? (For Obama: Bud Light, owned by Belgian beverage giant InBev; for Gates, Red Stripe, Jamaica-brewed and owned by premium drink behemoth Diageo; and for Crowley, Blue Moon, owned by MillerCoors.)

They're all really session beers — a description that originates in Britain. They're the kind of beers drunk when a bunch of mates sit down and drink pint after pint after pint of light, refreshing beers. Session beers are meant to be drunk in quantity — they don't fill you up and can be drunk without too many deleterious effects. Maybe President Obama and Professor Gates want to project something that appeals to the masses, but the officer is probably drinking simply what he likes.

And the beers?

Bud Light is considered a "lawn mower" beer, perfect for after mowing the lawn or when you get home from work. It's one step up from a nice, tall glass of ice water and generally one of the lightest pale lagers made in the United States. Red Stripe is also a pale lager, but it's an official handmade product, with a little more flavor and flair. And Blue Moon is also mass-produced, but it's an ale. It's a more flavorful beverage, with some floral character and hints of coriander and orange peel. None of these are microbrews or craft beers, but the closest is Blue Moon, a tasty beer that's a macrobrewer's attempt to join the craft beer market.

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