Happiest Hour: Make the White House brew 

Tis the season for politics—and beer, since beer never goes out of season. We give you the lowdown on the White House ales. What says liberty and pursuit of happiness more than a patriotic beer and a president who's into homebrewing? As Thomas Jefferson once apparently said: "Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes good health.”

The story: Last year President Obama bought a home brew kit and, with the help from expert home brewers, crafted some special White House beers. According to the White House website, it’s the first known time that beer has been brewed there—George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at his Mount Vernon home and Thomas Jefferson made wine. At a time when micro-brew culture is on the rise, it’s a pretty good move to hop on the home brew wagon. Especially when your opponent is on the non-drinking wagon.

What you’re drinking: The White House made two beers—a honey ale and a honey porter. The recipes were released after a petition signed by over 12,000 beer lovers was sent out stating: “In keeping with the brewing traditions of the founding fathers, homebrewers across America call on the Obama Administration to release the recipe for the White House home brew so that it may be enjoyed by all.” White House chef Sam Kass responded punily, “With public excitement about White House beer fermenting such a buzz, we decided we better hop right to it.”

What Missoula beer crafters say: None of the local homebrew shops have tasted the White House brews yet, but they were intrigued. Mark Chapman of Chapman Homebrew says he found it “encouraging and interesting” that the White House was brewing beer. Hoyt Smith of Summer Sun Brew Supply says that they’re currently brewing the ales, which will be ready in a few weeks. Smith says the White House recipes call for powders and extracts but, for the home brew purists, the supply store can help figure out substitutes to make grain-only versions.

How to make it:

White House Honey Ale ingredients:

2 (3.3 lb) cans light malt extract
1 lb light dried malt extract
12 oz crushed amber crystal malt
8 oz Biscuit Malt
1 lb White House Honey
1 1/2 oz Kent Goldings Hop Pellets
1 1/2 oz Fuggles Hop pellets
2 tsp gypsum
1 pkg Windsor dry ale yeast
3/4 cup corn sugar for priming


White House Honey Porter ingredients:

2 (3.3) lb. cans light unhopped malt extract
3/4 lb Munich Malt (cracked)
1 lb crystal 20 malt (cracked)
6 oz black malt (cracked)
3 oz chocolate malt (cracked)
1 lb White House Honey
10 HBUs bittering hops
1/2 oz Hallertaur Aroma hops
1 pkg Nottingham dry yeast
3/4 cup corn sugar for bottling

Where to find the supplies: Chapman Homebrew, 2330 S. Higgins Ave. and at Summer Sun Garden and Brew, 128 W. Alder St. Find the recipes online at the White House blog.

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