Ale to the Chief: Or How To Brew A White House Beer

I have been a very bad blogger, whatever the hell that even means. I’ve still been going to breweries and drinking tons of good beer, but I haven’t updated this internet receptacle of my travels in a serious hot minute. And now I’m doing the whole obligatory apology-to-the-three-people-who-read-this-but-don’t-care-how-often-I-post-shit-anyway thing. I probably should have just backdated this, oh well. Onward and upwards.

Last month (yes, the tabs have been open on my Firebox browser for that long), the White House released Barack Obama’s beer recipes and holy crap, two things. One, the White House has an epic YouTube channel and a series called “Inside the White House” with quirky characters and fun information like an episode of Bremasters or something. Two, our President bought a homebrew kit with his own money and decided to start making White House beer, which he uses to toast with medal of honor recepients and passes out to pals on the campaign trail. Kind of makes me smile at the American Dream.

Anyway, after a failed public records request, a bunch of dorks banded together (no doubt with the help of the Beer Advocate forum) to create a We The People petition forcing the White House to release the recipes. And after shaking their heads at the misuse of their online petition site (I’m not sure if they implemented it so it could be used for such frivolous yet awesome ideas like this), government officials finally obliged, giving men nationwide something to cook up while their wives are all busy butchering the first lady’s cookie recipe.The White House Honey Porter and the White House Honey Ale are both made with honey from the First Lady’s beehive. Even though I’m not a fan of honey beers myself, the idea seems appropriate for a beer meant to represent the face of contemporary America. Homebrewing alone is a symbol of the whole “every man for himself” ethos that this country for some reason still ascribes to (and explains why moonshiners think they are the ultimate patriots). But taking traditional British styles an infusing them with sweetness from a homegrown ingredient makes Obama’s DIY brews an experiment in beer solidarity that–like “California cuisine” and hip-hop–even further exemplifies the American way of combining old and new to create a distinctly American culture.

The assistant chef explains how the rest of the recipe was formed and it’s way less exciting than my grand-cultural-significance theory:

After the few first drafts we landed on some great recipes that came from a local brew shop. We received some tips from a couple of home brewers who work in the White House who helped us amend it and make it our own. To be honest, we were surprised that the beer turned out so well since none of us had brewed beer before.

Below are the recipes if you wanna make them yourself. These might just end up being my next 4th of July batch…


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