Beer summit at White House this evening

The beer is on ice for President Barack Obama's White House meeting Thursday with Cambridge, Mass., Police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The three will sit down at a picnic table on the White House grounds at 6 p.m. They'll have a selection of beers to pick from that will include their initial choices — Bud Light for Obama, Blue Moon for Crowley and Red Stripe for Gates — White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

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Food will not be served. "Just straight beer," Gibbs said.

Crowley and Gates will be coming down from Massachusetts, paying their travel expenses out of pocket, the White House said.

While a photographer will be allowed to shoot the meeting, the three aren't expected to talk to reporters, Gibbs said.

"The president doesn't have a formal agenda tonight," Gibbs said. "After having talked to these two good, decent men on the phone, he hopes that some of this will help foster a dialogue."

Gates, a leading African-American scholar, was arrested at his Cambridge home July 16 on a disorderly conduct charge by Crowley, who is white. Crowley was responding to a report of a possible break-in at Gates's residence. The police later dropped charges against Gates. Obama said the police “acted stupidly” in arresting Gates in his own home. After Crowley and his colleagues said they were disappointed with the president's remarks, Obama voiced regrets and said he would have Crowley and Gates to the White House for drinks.