What does President Obama's choice of beer – Budweiser Light -- say about the man?
In anticipation of Thursday night's "Beer Summit" at the White House, Politics Daily went to Colorado – home of Coors Brewery and the Great American Beer Festival -- and asked brew expert Jay Dedrick for his insights about the choice of drinks of Obama, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge, Mass., Police Sgt. James Crowley. Dedrick writes about beer for www.cobizmag.com
7 p.m. update: In a surprise move, Professor Gates drank Sam Adams Light beer -- not Red Stripe -- in his meeting with the president and Sgt. Crowley. Also unexpected -- Vice President Joe Biden joined the threesome and drank Buckler, a non-alcoholic beer. No word yet on why the professor chose Sam Adams, but perhaps he heeded the advice of beer lovers on the Web (as well as that our expert, Dedrick): Sam Adams, made in Massachusetts, would be a more patriotic choice than Red Stripe, made in Jamaica. The interview below was conducted Thursday morning.
PD: What about the president's choice, Bud Light?
Dedrick: Bud Light is the most popular beer in America and a perfectly fine complement to pepperoni pizza or a cheeseburger. It's the go-to beer after a hot summer day of mowing the lawn. It's also a consistent product. You know what you're going to get every time you open the bottle.
PD: How about Gates' choice, Red Stripe?
Dedrick: It's an import from Jamaica – a malty lager with a caramel sweetness to it. It's also fun in that it comes in a short, stubby bottle with the label painted on it. It looks a little different, and you'll usually pay a little more for it.
PD: And Crowley's Blue Moon?
Dedrick: Wheat with citrus notes – refreshing but also strong on flavor and the closest thing to craft beer among these three. It was invented at the brew pub at Coors Field stadium in Denver.
PD: You've developed some theories about what people's choice of beer says about their personalities. Talk about that.
Dedrick: Bud Light drinkers spend their weekends working on their cars. They also like to have a beer in hand when the game is on TV. They decided early in life what beer was and then slammed the door shut without exploring other beers. They're resistant to change. Which is why I find it a little ironic that Obama made this one his choice.
Dedrick: Red Stripe drinkers spend their weekends at dinner parties and browsing book stores. Red Stripe was what you saw Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman drinking in "The Firm." It's got a Hollywood image, even though its slogan is "Hooray Beer."
Dedrick: People who like Blue Moon do a lot of bicycling and antiquing. They are not ashamed to be seen with a slice of orange in their beer, which aficionados would definitely frown on. This is a beer drinker who might experiment with more unusual beers and craft beers down the line.
PD: Did their choices surprise you?
Dedrick: Yes. In fact, I thought they might share a pitcher of the same brand of beer. The idea was to come together for a one-to-one talk, and that to me would symbolize that more than three separate beers. On the other hand, maybe it was too much pressure on the president to pick just one brand and appear as if he were endorsing it.
PD: What beer might you have chosen for all three to share?
Dedrick: Looking at their choices, it's clear they don't like hoppy beer (which tends to be spicy and bitter.) I might ask Joe Biden to pick up a six-pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. It's an American craft beer, big among craft-beer fans, made in Biden's home state of Delaware, and pretty cutting edge. It would be interesting to have them share that new experience.