How Popular Is Homebrewing in the United States?

George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon, while wine connoisseur Thomas Jefferson cultivated grapes at Monticello. But the first U.S. president to instigate brewing beer (or any alcoholic beverage, for that matter) at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was Barack Obama, who asked the White House staff chefs to craft an ale with homebrewing equipment. In 2011, using honey from beehives on the White House’s South Lawn, the chefs came up with four distinct brews, called Honey Ale, Honey Blonde Ale, Honey Porter and Honey Brown.

Ale to the Chief:

  • The beers were all brewed, bottled, and labeled with a custom logo at the White House. They were served at various events, including a Super Bowl party, where 10 gallons (about 100 bottles) were served to guests.

  • Obama paid for the homebrewing equipment himself.

  • In 2012, Freedom of Information Act requests for the Honey Ale recipe were made by California attorney Scott Talkov and Texas attorney Brodie Burks, both home brewers. The recipe soon appeared on the White House Blog.

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