Wednesday, January 14, 2009

President Obama and New York Beer

EDIT: I have just confirmed that Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, NY will be getting a keg of Obamagang delivered today. I will be there on Friday January 23rd to host their monthly beer dinner and I will certainly be tasting this beer. You can look forward to a review shortly after.

Inaguration Day 2009 is rapidly approaching and what better way to celebrate then with beer? Not any beer but Barack Obama beer! Several breweries around the country will be making Barack Obama themed beer and two of them are right here in New York.

This article discusses the launch of Brewery Ommegang's Obamagang or the politically correct name of the beer, "Ale 2009".

This quote explains the reasoning behind the naming controversy. "Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y., had hoped to mark this historic inauguration with a single-batch brew called Obamagang, but federal regulators at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau told them it was a no-go. “They said you can’t use anybody’s name for commercial purposes without their permission,” said marketing director Larry Bennett. The brewery has decided to re-christen the beer Inauguration Ale and plans to parcel out 600 kegs of the draft-only brew among select bars in Washington, Philadelphia, New York and other urban areas."

A press release from Ommegang stated "The TTB won’t let us call the beer Obamagang on the keg label. So it will be known legally as Inauguration Ale 2009, but the tap handles will be more . . . um . . . direct. The style lies between a porter and stout, with a bit of Kriek and a touch of chocolate blended in. It will be on draft only, beginning with the inauguration – in limited areas including DC, NYC, Syracuse, Philly, Chicago and Boston. We will donate a percentage of sales to charities in the respective cities where the beer is sold, and we’ve asked our distributors to match our donations and pick the local charities. (Also please note that the beer is not an endorsement of Obama.)"

This article tells us that some of Sixpoint Craft Ales' Hop Obama beer will be available for inauguration day. When Sixpoint started selling the beer in March and then brought it back from August to election day. The brewery sold 504 kegs, but not all of it was drank. Barkeepers decided to store some away and break it out on Inaguration Day. No word yet on what New York bars will have the beer, but Cambridge Common Restaurant in Massachusetts has sent out a Facebook invite claiming to be "the only (known) beer bar, on the planet, to be pouring this brew".

Please do not ask me why the folks at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tan and Trade Bureau will allow Sixpoint to have the President elects name in their beer, but shut down Ommegang. It is as confusing to me as it is to you. Maybe the new President will explain the hypocrisy to the ATTTB, or whatever the hell initials they use.

The picture was provided by a fantastic beer blog based in Portland, Oregon.

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