Sam Adams' Founder Lauds White House Beer Meet

At the White House Thursday, President Obama will share a beer with police Sgt. Jim Crowley and the Harvard University professor Crowley recently arrested, Henry Louis Gates Jr. The meeting is meant to diffuse tensions surround the arrest, but some want to know: What kind of beer will they be drinking? Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company, offers his insight.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

More importantly, what will each man be drinking? Reportedly, the president will have a Bud, Professor Gates, Red Stripe, and Sergeant Crowley, Blue Moon. None chose the beer associated with Boston and that is Sam Adams. We have Jim Koch on the line. He's the founder of the Boston Beer Company, the brewery that makes Sam Adams. Welcome to the program.

Mr. JIM KOCH (Founder, Boston Beer Company): It's a pleasure to be with you.

BRAND: Sadly, they didn't choose your beer.

Mr. KOCH: Well, that's okay. I think, I was hoping, along with hundreds of other American breweries, that American beers would be chosen at the White House rather than, you know, beers that were owned by big foreign global conglomerates. But, I'm at least happy that they're getting together, they're having a beer. Beer has, since the founding of the Republic, been this sort of glue that held us together way back when Sam Adams was plotting the revolution in the taverns over a beer, or Thomas Jefferson was sitting at the Queen's Head tavern in Philadelphia, drafting the Declaration of Independence over an American brew.

BRAND: This has been referred to as a teachable moment. The president called it that and if you were asked to make a special beer for the summit, a teachable beer, what would it be?

Mr. KOCH: You know, I think I'd make a blend of ingredients from all over the world. Which is certainly what's represented there with the three participants, their heritages go to places from all over the world. And I would blend those ingredients together, artfully and harmoniously, because that's really what we all hope for.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: And would it be a lager? Or would it be something more full-bodied?

Mr. KOCH: I think it will be a very full-bodied lager...

BRAND: Uh-huh.

Mr. KOCH: ...because lagers can have all the body of an ale. And lagers are a little complex and they take longer to make and they have to be aged with all the ingredients sort of mellowing together. Lager means to store in German. And that's really what's happened to this country is the ingredients haven't been harmonious all the time, but as they lagered together, they blended into this wonderful mosaic.

BRAND: I understand you're actually drinking a beer right now.

Mr. KOCH: Well, I am. I actually, you know, sample each batch. So, I'm in the process of going through my daily samples. I'm happy to be drinking a Sam Adams Summer Ale as we speak.

BRAND: Well, cheers. You certainly have a nice job.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. KOCH: Yeah, but I had to start the company to get it.

BRAND: Right. There's that. Okay. Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Boston-based Sam Adams. Thanks.

Mr. KOCH: It's been a pleasure sharing a beer with you.

BRAND: And we have this update. Today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the president will be drinking not a Bud, but a Bud Light.

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