Our President homebrews! Regardless of your political affiliations, leanings and tendencies, as a beer geek, it’s nice to see that the Leader of the Free World is, in fact, one of “your own”. (Politics aside, I am also psyched to see that Obama plays basketball because you can tell the dude really digs it. I mean, weren’t you in pain watching previous Presidents “jog” simply to set a good example? Everyone knew Slick Willy hated trundling along and just wanted a bag of pork rinds and a Ho-Ho!)
By now, every beer geek worth his Burtonizing salts is aware that President Obama’s camp has released the recipe for their “in-house, White House brew”. My friend Joe, a brewing guru (a “Brew-Ru”?), noted that the recipe seems a simple adaptation of Midwest Supplies Honey Amber Ale and I agree that, with all the resources available to him, why didn’t the Prez make something more unique, more knock-your-socks off?
Maybe it’s because he knew it couldn’t be too extreme since it would be served at events like his Superbowl party. Or maybe, it’s because one of his beer-centric chefs knew that the flavor had to appeal to a wider swath of people. According to obamafoodorama.blogpost.com, this was the first time the President and the First Lady sampled the Honey Ale. So maybe BO isn’t sifting through a well-thumbed Palmer’s How to Brew or Papazian’s latest volume of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing in his rare moments of free time. It seems, at least, that he enjoys a good, flavorful beer.
A harbinger of Obama’s penchant for brew may have been evident at the famous Beer Summit. Here, hoping to quell a racially-charged incident, the President gathered with Gates, Crowley and Biden over a few cold ones, as men do. “For the record, it was Bud Light for Obama, Sam Adams Light for Gates, Blue Moon for Crowley and nonalcoholic Buckler for Biden.”
Maybe it was the Bud Light that made Obama more open to the idea of having his own White House brew. Maybe the mystery chef used the current hot trend of locavorism and the idea of using Michelle Obama’s garden honey to sweeten the notion. Whatever the case, the Obamas paid for a homebrew set-up out of their own salary and the rest is, not history, but history to be made! (One wonders if they got the bare bones model or a kick-ass SABCO system!)
Often, people hail the love of beer and brewing as a practice reaching back to our first President. After some poking around, it seems that George’s title as America’s first presidential homebrewer may, in fact, be in jeopardy.
It is documented that Washington had a great love for porter and, though he had his own recipe for “small beer”, he seems to have preferred to just buy his beer (much like yours truly). In fact,
Once the Revolution had begun in earnest and Washington was Commander of the American forces, he for a time made his headquarters in the home of George Emlen just outside of Philadelphia. Given Washington’s penchant for porter, one must wonder whether it was pure coincidence that Emlen was a commercial brewer and descendant of one of Philadelphia’s earliest brewing families.
In this, Washington seemed very much like me- a great lover of beer but more interested in its consumption than its production. And, much like myself, eagerly allying and putting oneself in close proximity to those who know how to brew and how to brew well. (Hi, Joe!)
In fact, the impetus for Washington’s desire to “drink local” (an historic base for locavorism) was to boycott imports from England, including his beloved porter.
“We have already been too long subject to British prejudices. I use no porter or cheese in my family, but such as is made in America; both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality.”
(Nowadays, one may make the same rallying cry against the beer behemoths since local, craft brews are tastier and also help the guy with whom you share a mechanic, a grocer, a car wash.)
People have also claimed that Thomas Jefferson was into homebrewing but White House historians state that this was not so. President Jefferson was more of a wine-o and had other booze, including beer, ordered in.
And so it seems that Obama, or rather, the administration is the first to actually brew in the White House! I don’t know about other platforms or agendas or promises kept or otherwise, but this is a trend that I can get behind!
After the Beer Summit, Obama said, “I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart.” And we all know, beer can certainly binding.
Whether you avidly brew your own or tend to “order out” (as me and Washington do), have your own little beer summit; every Friday at 5pm sounds good to me!
Lawn Guyland, NY