On Saturday, Sept. 1, Sam Kass, White House assistant chef and senior policy advisor for healthy food initiatives, released two White House homebrew recipes in response to a petition that a member of the DC Homebrewers Club had launched.
The five-gallon recipes for the honey ale and honey porter, along with a 4 and 1/2-minute instructional video (you can view it above), is available on the We the People Web site.
The recipes were adapted from “a local brew shop,” writes Kass. Both call for a pound of honey from the hives on the South Lawn of the White House. “The honey gives the beer a rich aroma and a nice finish but it doesn’t sweeten it,” he adds.
“It is amazing. I am really excited to start brewing the beer. Going to need to have it on hand for the presidential debates,” stated John Lutz, who hatched the idea for the petition after trading comments with his fellow homebrewers via Facebook.
“I tried to make it patriotic and historically significant as possible,” Lutz said of his petition, which garnered more than 12,000 signatures in less than two weeks. Noting that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin all brewed their own beer, the petition read, “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.”
Incidentally, in the video, Kass notes, “We asked the curators, ‘Is there any history of brewing or distilling here at the White House?’ So they looked. And it turns out that there was some evidence of drinking during Prohibition, but beyond that, there’s no evidence that any beer or liquor has been brewed or distilled. So we’re very proud of our new tradition here, and we hope it lasts for years to come.”
Originally from Minneapolis, the 24-year-old Lutz works as an independent contractor for the yet-to-open National Museum of African American History and Culture. He says he’s been homebrewing for two years, since his senior year in college. His efforts include a “honey pilsner,” which had “a nice subtle sweetness.”
“I truly hope that the release of the recipe will make more people curious about homebrewing,” Lutz states.
He also forwarded an invitation: “If Mr. Kass ever wants to trade some homebrews or learn some new brewing tricks, he is always welcome at DC Homebrewers meetings.” According to its president Joshua Hubner, the club will host an Oktoberfest-themed meeting the third week in September.