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How to Brew Beer Like President Obama

White House beer (photo by White House photographer Pete Souza)

President Obama ushered in a lot of firsts. Besides being the first African-American president and the first president to openly support marriage equality, his is the first administration to have beer brewed in the White House.
 
Last year President Obama bought some homebrew equipment and asked his White House chefs to craft a few beers. Obama has been taking the presidential suds with him on the campaign trail; occasionally handing out bottles to thirsty citizens he meets along the way. The brews, two ales and a porter, all share one distinctive ingredient: Honey from the White House garden’s apiary. After not finding the beer recipes online, one curious home brewer filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request and others petitioned the administration using the “We the People” site, which responds to citizen questions that gather 25,000 signatures.
 
Then, at long last (OK it was only a few weeks) Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, released recipes for two of the beers which you can find here. We checked in with Eric Brown at San Francisco’s homebrew headquarters, SF Brewcraft, to get some perspective on the recipes.
 
“Both these should make fine beers. We have filled several ingredient requests for the White House recipes since they were released last week. All the ingredients are popular in home brewing except the White House honey. We always recommend using local honey in recipes and generally send customers to their closest farmer's market for the honey.”
 
But, unless you happen to run into Obama, the only sure way to sample the beers is to brew them yourself. The beers use a partial mash process, which doesn’t require advanced skills or equipment to brew, and if you started soon, would be ready well before election night for celebrating or crying in.
 
If you don’t plan to brew either of these beers yourself and your personal chef is too busy to take on the challenge, Eric suggested that Boddingtons would probably taste similar to the White House’s pale ale. “I don’t know any commercial beer that would taste like their porter though. It’s got a lot of malt and coupled with the honey, would be pretty sweet.” Though in comparison, it’s probably less saccharine than Governor Romney’s favorite bubbly: Caffeine-free Diet Coke.