Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Me, Obama, and My Favorite Brewpub

Not to sound like some dopey 2008 Oberlin undergrad, but that picture gives me hope.  Hope in a lot of stuff but in particular, hope that Obama will make the right decision when it comes to this.  Obama and King George himself made a wager over some fancy soccer tournament which I believe is called the World Genitals Protector.  The winner gets a beer from the loser.  Not just any beer, but his country's "best" beer.  Obama has made similar bets in the past, but they involved objective standards.  He bet the Czar of Canada a Yuengling (as the loser of the bet would owe the winner a case of beer from his country's oldest brewery) the U.S. would beat Canada in some sporting event, which I'm sure the U.S. won, unless it was on ice or something.  It was?  Well Molson sucks.  They can keep it.

Even though Obama and beer are probably best linked through the infamous "beer summit" where he drank a Bud Light, here's why the picture gives me hope.  You recognize where it's taken?  That's Bethlehem Brew Works.  You might have heard me talk about that place a couple of times.  You might also know that they're first organization to reference this blog!  Anyway, as if this needed repeating, they make some dope beer.  Clearly Obama knows.  He's drinking it!  Also, he apparently made the smart decision to order a sampler, but the moronic decision to split it.  Obama knows there is such a thing as "good" beer, despite the fact he drank that Bud Light.  He knows that.  Just look at that picture.  I'm not saying he necessarily has a super refined palate or even that he enjoys "good" beer.  I'm just saying that he knows its out there, which is more than a lot of people know.  That's why I have hope.  It's nice having a president that enjoys beer.  Bush's teetotalism was probably was the worst part about his presidency.  Just kidding!*

So let's cut to the chase here.  We have two questions (not four because who the hell cares what that limey, Monarchist** thinks over there in Foggy [more like Farty] Ol' London [more like Lon-dumb]?): 1) What should Obama pick?  2) What will Obama pick?  The first is obviously more fun to think about you're not a total dork.  The second is more fun to think about if you know stuff about domestic/international politics.  I think I might contract out an answer to the second question to a guy I know that actually knows about those things AND beer.  I mean this dood studied European labor laws in Belgium.  He'd be perfect!

Anyways, I'm not going to answer the first question.  Not right now anyway.  I want some feedback in the comments.  What do you guys think he should pick?  I don't have any beer examples right now, but here are my current thoughts on what should probably be some criteria.

1) I hate to state the obvious but no macros for a million obvious reasons.

2) The brewery should be 100% USA owned and operated.

3) The beer should have national distribution.  This one kind of kills me because this cuts out things like Weyerbacher and Brooklyn Brewery, but this is America's best beer, not the East Coast's best beer.  And why should the President of the United States ship some stupid Queen-Fiend a beer that more than half the citizens of the USA can't get their hands on?  But this one isn't totally damning.  There are a lot of great craft brews that have nation-wide distribution.

4) The style of beer should be uniquely/originally American.  Although I am of two minds of this.  Originally I thought this would apply to things like Belgian Ales.  While the USA makes some solid Belgian Ales, we don't want to show England we can make some other  country's beer.  We want to show them we can make our beer.  But then I realized: this would prohibit IPAs because, as we should all know, India Pale Ales owe their origins to those imperialistic dill-hole Brits sailing over to India.  This kind of sucks because America makes the best IPAs in the world.  No one does hops like the USA.  But you know what, I think Double or Imperial IPAs are pretty much originally American, so I don't think those would necessarily be out.  But here's my other mind about this: Wouldn't it be sweet to show those a-holes how much better our IPAs are than theirs in a sort of "anything you can do I can do better" way?  Like, oh, you guys invented IPAs?  Well guess what?  Much like imperialism and The Office, while you guys created them, we made our versions so good that yours are practically obsolete.  But here's where my third mind comes in (I can't count): those lame-os would probably would probably get all snooty and be like "Well I say chaps, that isn't a real IPA" or something to that extent.  But that would mean that our IPAs are originally America.  I don't know.  This whole thing is like a snake eating itself.  So the conclusion of this point is that Belgian ales, hefes, saisons, those types of things should probably be out.  IPAs, well that's debatable.

I'll probably think of more criteria as I start to formulate what I think he should send, but I really would like some suggestions in the comments.  If we pick a beer, I will personally send Obama a letter letting him know of our choice.  I'll sign my real name and everything.  Hey, if Bethlehem Brew Works can give us here a shout out, why not President Obama?

Total Beers: 471 (last night I drank an Arcadia Whit Sun and a Lagunitas Brown Shugga on the couch)
Where I Should Be: 452.054

*There were no bad parts about Bush's presidency, am I right, Grandma?
**This used to be a legitimate insult back during the USA's infancy.  USA!  USA!  USA!


  1. Thanks for pushing for the 100% American owned! What happened to our banks has happened now to our beers. How can a brand be the great American beer if they aren't an American company?!

    Thanks again for the post!

  2. By your criteria and for other reasons, I'd have to say Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It's not my favorite Sierra Nevada beer (Celebration Ale is) and it's not even in my top 50 favorite American beers, but a) it has national distribution, b) Sierra Nevada forged new ground in the craft beer movement in the '80s thanks to their Pale Ale, c) it's distinctly American since it straddles the line between IPA and Pale Ale, and d) if Obama sent it, I think most Americans would at least recognize the name.

    I think b) is the most important one. Sierra Nevada bravely defied US standards for brewing and they had the fortitude to grow their company into a national brand. Also, unlike Sam Adams, they are a major player on the national scene despite scant advertising and despite sticking to the same 6 beers or so in their rotation (even though they're always tweaking them each year). And, to top it off, their Pale Ale tastes pretty great (despite not being in my top 50 and all...). My vote has been cast!

  3. I retract my quickly thrown-out-there vote of Sam Adams any-beer and vote for Anchor Brewing Company's Anchor Steam. It is the first of the modern-day microbreweries and now has national distribution. While the beer itself is not the most amazing out there by any means, I think what it stands for makes it the best choice. A little (steam) engine that could that kept brewing for well over 100 years.

  4. Anchor Steam would be a good choice because aside from extreme beers, it's maybe the only distinctly American style of beer. Hopefully Obama picks it and then raves about how "it's made with steam" like so many other people erroneously claim.

  5. But lest there be any confusion, I'm still going to say Sierra Nevada since I think it's a little higher on the "American Classic" beer list than Anchor Steam.