The video shows White House assistant chef Sam Kass and sous chef Tafari Campbell making the beer, dumping hops and honey into a pot of boiling brown liquid, checking on five-gallon bottles in a tiny basement storage room, transferring it to bottles and finally, tasting it (and approving).
“Brewing beer is becoming a thing that Americans are doing in their homes and garages across the country,” Kass said in the video. “The president certainly thought it would be a good idea to see if we could join in that time-honored tradition and brew some of our own beer.”
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. Although there’s no evidence that Obama is faking his love of beer, his regular willingness to pose with it is serving a political purpose: helping him appear to be an everyman who drinks a beverage favored by millions of Americans. And you can even serve the White House beer in a Vice President Biden can holder.
Perhaps coincidentally, Obama was back in Iowa on Saturday, one of the most competitive battlegrounds in his race against Republican Mitt Romney, when he released the recipes and video. It was during a three-day bus tour across Iowa in early August when he mentioned beer at almost every stop.
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 — along with a four-and-a-half minute video that looked like it had been weeks in the making.
The White House released instructions for two beers: “White House Honey Ale” and “White House Honey Porter.” The recipes were developed with help from Matt Slattery, a brew master with the White House Mess, and White House beekeeper Charlie Brandt. Both beers use honey from the property’s beehives. Kass was also careful to point out that all the equipment was paid for by Obama — and that the kitchen staff donates its time to making the beer.
“God, that is one incredible beer, if I do say so myself,” Kass said after taking what looked to be a rather satisfying quaff of his product. “America, I wish everybody could taste this, but we don’t quite brew enough.”