Friday, July 31, 2009

Audacity of hops

It’s good to hear that the Prof. Gates photo op has turned into an argument over beer. The choice of a good beer seems much more important than a kerfuffle over which guy in Cambridge lost his temper first.

Dana Milbank’s syndicated column (in the Merc) called it

  • Beerastroika — the most universally repeated term and also the title of a humor video
  • Yes, Three Cans
  • Menage a Stella Artois
  • A Thousand Points of Bud Light
  • The Audacity of Hops
In the Washington Post original, the headline was “Beer summit wasn’t one for the Guiness books.”

A number of articles commented on the beer nationalism theme — since longtime US market leaders Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors are no longer American owned. Prior to A-B’s acquisition, Bud Light was the iconic American beer — and in fact, my presumption is that it was chosen for its symbolic value and not because our Harvard-educated president really prefers the taste.

If anyone asked, I personally would have been glad to suggest a domestic microbrew, having significant experience here. The WSJ quoted a representative from from California-based Sierra Nevada, which is sort of the Budweiser (or Michelob) of microbrew ales — widely distributed, solid, not exciting. Local rival Anchor Steam has a little more character. Given it’s a one-in-a-lifetime trip to the White House, I would have specified one of the Mendocino Brewing Company ales, such as Red Tail.

In the end, Prof. Gates saved the day by switching to the Boston-brewed Sam Adams Light. Merc beer columnist Jay Brooks rated the beers drunk by the three men, praising the Professor’s smart choice:
Unlike most low-calorie light beers, Samuel Adams' version is all-malt, meaning it has no added corn or rice to give it a lighter body. While I generally don't advocate low-calorie beers, if you have to drink one this is the one to go with. It's amber in color and has more flavor than the average light beer. In the end, Gates may have made the smartest choice, since it's full-flavored and has the lowest alcohol of the three beers.
Well, now it’s TGIF time, so I’ll have to do some sampling of my own.

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