The White House Ale

 It’s a great day for beer in general, and American home brewers in particular: The Obama administration hasWhite House Honey Ale released the recipes for White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter.

These are the first beers to actually be brewed at the White House. Although they’ve been quaffed since the 2011 Super Bowl, their existence was a secret as closely kept as the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The general public became aware of the two brews in August, after the President took some with him on the campaign trail (there are no secrets aboard Air Force One, apparently). The Honey Brown Ale came first, followed by Honey Porter; an additional ale, Honey Blonde, was added over the summer. All three make use of honey made by bees in Michele Obama’s garden on the South Lawn.

The White House ale set off a clamor among home brewing enthusiasts, who naturally wanted the recipes. A petition was circulated, and the administration announced they would release the recipes when the signatures reached 25,000. They relented after 12,500, helped along by a Freedom of Information Act request.

The two recipes turn out to be fairly complex. They both call for one dozen ingredients, and require lengthy fermenting periods (for the Honey Porter, 3-4 days of primary fermentation followed by 4-7 days of secondary fermentation; for the Honey Ale, 7 and 14 days respectively). Technically they can’t be reproduced, since both use one pound of White House honey. Scaling the fence to get it is not recommended.

Politics aside, there are some conclusions we can draw for the future of this project. If Romney is elected, the White House brewing operation will likely be shut down in a heartbeat. And if the President is defeated, he has found a new auxiliary source of income, something to occupy his time in between giving speeches and writing his memoirs.


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