The Washington Post

So what exactly is in the White House beer?

Will the White House part with its homebrew recipe? Reddit wants to know.  (Pete Souza/The White House)

The Honey Ale has been around since early 2011, when the president served bottles from the first batch during a Super Bowl party for 100 or so guests. Soon after, Greg Kitsock reported that Obama may be the first occupant of the executive mansion to craft his own brew. Thomas Jefferson was a known brewer, but there’s no evidence he did so as a resident of the White House.

But the First Brew’s reappearance in Iowa got some people — specifically, users of the homebrewing forum on Reddit — wondering just what’s in it.

First, they tried signing a petition asking for the recipe on the White House Web site, but fell well short of the 25,000 signatures needed. Instead, one Reddit user resorted to filing a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the recipe (as reported by Government Executive) under the rationale that “recipes are commonly shared among the home brewing community as a means of learning advanced or new techniques in the creation of small batch ales.”

Whether the Brewer-in-Chief is willing to divulge the beer’s contents or intends to keep the recipe tightly guarded like a state secret remains to be seen. If he does spill the suds on the recipe, however, it probably won’t be because of the Reddit request: The White House Office and the Office of Administration are not subject to the provisions of FOIA, but perhaps he’s looking for a way to pick up a few more votes among the home-brewing set?

Brandon Weigel is an editor for Baltimore City Paper and an alumnus of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide.


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