September 3, 2012
Top Secret No More – White House Beer Recipes Released To The Public
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
After a concerned citizen filed a Freedom of Information Act request for them, and more than 12,000 people signed an online petition seeking -- nay, demanding -- their release, the White House on Saturday, at long last, made essential, previously top secret information available to the American public.
Birth certificates? Tax returns? No, nothing quite so trivial as that. The documents in question are the highly sought after recipes for a pair of alcoholic beverages brewed in the kitchen of the Presidential residence and workplace: White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter.
Public outcry for the brewing recipes had reached such a fever pitch that this weekend, Sam Kass, the White House's Assistant Chef and the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, penned a blog entry fittingly titled "Ale To The Chief," which gave the necessary ingredients and step-by-step directions to duplicate what is believed to be the first such beverages ever blended or distilled on the White House grounds.
According to Amy Gardner of The Washington Post, a video shows Kass and sous chef Tafari Campbell in the process of preparing the brew. The duo combined hops and honey into a pot of "boiling brown liquid," checking on the status of the brew as it ferments in five-gallon containers, and later transferring it to individual bottles and participating in a successful taste-test.
"Obama has been mentioning his love of beer regularly on the campaign trail in recent weeks, talking about how much he enjoys drinking a cold one at the end of a long day and even sharing a White House-made beer from his campaign bus with a man he met in Iowa last month," Gardner wrote. "Obama´s attention to beer prompted an online petition urging the president to release the recipes. He also was asked to do so during an online Reddit chat Wednesday. He promised to do so, and the White House released the recipes Saturday."
The important thing here is, of course, the beers themselves. So what kind of brews are they? Gary Dzen of the Boston Globe said that "aficionados will note that it is a fairly standard concoction of light malt extract, amber crystal malt, honey, gypsum, yeast, and corn sugar."
Kass said in his blog entry that the addition of honey gives it "a rich aroma“¦ but it doesn't sweeten it," while Washington, DC, based brewing expert Brandon Skall told Reuters' Lisa Lambert that the ale would, in the reporter's words, "likely pair well with a spicy and savory dish such as pork tenderloin or roast duck" while the porter "would work well with a dessert or even floated with ice cream."
As for the origins of the ale and the porter, Kass said that President Obama had purchased a home-brewing kit for use in the White House kitchen. The recipes themselves originated from "a local brew shop," but were altered with the help of "a couple of home brewers who work in the White House" in order to create an original blend. "To be honest, we were surprised that the beer turned out so well since none of us had brewed beer before," he added.
"The president´s home-brewed beer instantly became a topic of conversation," Dzen wrote on Saturday, pointing out that it was homebrewer Dan Wieringa's Freedom of Information Act request and a subsequent Reddit post that helped inspire the petition. The White House, which is not required to submit to such requests, initially said that they would not make the recipes public, but ultimately relented.
Well“¦ mostly, anyway.
Kass noted that the White House brewing staff also developed a Honey Blonde recipe this past summer -- a recipe which is conspicuously absent from Saturday's blog entry. So clearly, America, our work is not quite done just yet!