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White House Releases Honey Ale Beer Recipe

by The Drink Nation on Sep 1, 2012 in Beer

Congratulations, beer-loving Americans, you’ve done it. Though the online petition was thus far only halfway to its target of 25,000 signatures, The White House chefs have released the recipes for the homebrew enjoyed by President Barack Obama.

Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef (and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives), notes that before Obama bought a home brewing kit for the kitchen last year, none of the cooks who work at the White House had tried making beer. However, after a few “first drafts,” the White House Honey Brown Ale was not only drinkable, it was good.

The ale uses crystal and Bisquit malts (which impart toasty, bready flavors), gypsum and two types of hops (both in pellet form). It also features Kent Golding hops, a traditional English variety, in use since the late 1700s, and  Fuggles hops, also from the U.K., but earthier and less sweet, discovered growing wild in the 1860s. The yeast is Windsor Ale, a British strain that is commonly used in full-bodied English Ales.

If you want to make this beer at home, you’ll have to make at least one substitution — the pound of White House honey, from the on-site beehives, is not available to the public.

Ray Daniels, founder of the Cicerone Certification Program, surmised that the ale probably has an ABV of 7%, judging from its original gravity.

A second recipe, for White House Honey Porter, was also released. The porter features Munich, crystal, black and chocolate malts, the special honey, and bittering hops. Hallertaur Aroma hops are a relatively new hybrid created in New Zealand from an old German strain. The yeast for this darker beer is Nottingham.

As far as anyone knows, these beers are the first alcohol to be brewed or distilled on the White House grounds. As Kass notes in his blog post, George Washington’s own beer and whiskey was made at his Mount Vernon estate, and Thomas Jefferson made wine, but that was also at his private home, Monticello.

The detailed recipes are available now on the White House blog, or you can download a PDF of them here.

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