Over the decades, we’ve had ping-pong diplomacy, shuttle diplomacy and cowboy diplomacy. And now we’ve got beer diplomacy.

President Barack Obama is going to sit down for a beer on Thursday night at a picnic table outside the Oval Office with the two main players in a racially charged case — Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sergeant James Crowley.BASKETBALL/

The first diplomatic task may be in selecting the beer for each attendee.

Crowley told Obama he wants Blue Moon, a Belgian-style white beer brewed by Molson Coors. Gates is said to prefer either Red Stripe or Beck’s. Nothing fancy for Obama, who was criticized on the campaign trail for musing about the price of arugula. He is sticking with the good old American brand, Budweiser.

Obama said last Friday that he hoped the episode will be a “teachable moment” about why can’t all of us just get along with each other. Crowley was called to Gates’ home on July 16 to look into a possible break-in and arrested the Harvard scholar, who forced open the door of his own home because he didn’t have a key. Words were exchanged.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama hopes to have an informal discussion.