Food + Drinks

How to Drink Like President Obama


Tonight, President Barack Obama will make his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and try to convince soccer moms, senior citizens, and just about every other demographic in America that he deserves four more years in office. One group he may have already won over: beer nerds.

No, it's not because his opponent is a Mormon who doesn't drink alcohol. It's because Obama has repeatedly shown that he's not afraid to crack open a cold one for the cameras. Last month it was revealed that Obama's campaign carries the White House's home-brewed beer on the road—making him the first president in U.S. history to travel the country by party bus.

Following that revelation, the public (and by "the public" we mean beer nerds on the Internet) demanded that Obama reveal more details about his brew, asking questions like "What's in the recipe?" and "Bro, can you pass me one?" Thus, the White House finally decided to share its home-brew recipe.

The White House Honey Brown Ale is brewed with two types of hops and some extremely local honey (it's taken from the White House's own beehives.) Obama isn't the first president to make his own beer, but he is the first to make it on White House grounds. Of course, he doesn't actually brew the beer himself—his kitchen staff does. But you still would have to go back pretty far to find another U.S. president who made his own beer, period. George Washington wins the award for booziest (and therefore most awesome) president by distilling his own whiskey and brewing beer at his home at Mount Vernon.

In addition to the Honey Brown, the White House also brews a Honey Porter and a Honey Blonde. Does the president risk alienating ordinary Americans with his penchant for local, home-brewed craft beers? Probably not. Obama's prior beer choices have left him one game of flip cup away from becoming Joe Six-Pack. Remember the Beer Summit of 2009? Obama tried to resolve the country's racial tensions the way all good Americans try to solve their problems—by drinking. At the time, his beer of choice was Bud Light. This summer he treated a group of supporters at the Iowa State Fair to a round of brews after they started chanting "Four more beers!" Once again, he opted for a Bud Light. But on St. Patrick's Day, the president stopped by the Dubliner in Washington, D.C., for a pint of Guinness, thus shoring up the Irish vote.

Sadly, you can't just walk up to the White House and snag a six-pack of the presidential beer. But the good news is that White House chef Sam Kass makes it with a simple five-gallon home-brewing kit. In fact, the online home-brew-supply store Northern Brewer is actually selling White House Honey Ale kits, complete with all the equipment and ingredients you'll need to imbibe like the president.

Just remember to drink responsibly—lest you do something crazy like go streaking or try to pass universal health care.

—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.

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