Strong Safety

The new White House chief of staff has beer for his rivals, doughnuts for the press and big plans for D.C.

Pete Souza / The White House

New Chief of Staff Denis McDonough shares the President's no-drama demeanor.

Denis McDonough thought of everything but the beer. The new White House chief of staff chose a quiet, slightly out-of-the-way Belgian bistro on K Street for his secret April 10 rendezvous with Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan. It's a vast, divided space where it's easy enough for two of the most influential men in Washington to go unnoticed. But while the menu lists 115 types of beer, from St. Feuillien Tripel to Ommegang Hennepin, not one of those brews made Milwaukee famous. And as a home-state rule, Ryan drinks only Miller Lite.

"I ended up getting some lager I'd never heard of,"...

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