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Thursday, May 2, 2013


White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass is also one of the homebrewers on President Obama's kitchen staff.  He's shown in his cool chef smock with White House logo after sampling a glass of White House Honey Ale...**aka honey blonde ale.   The honey came from the White House staff bee keeper.

ALE TO THE CHIEF--I was perusing my morning dispatches-from-the-front-lines over a usual cup of coffee at one of about 40 coffee houses in North Park—this day I was at $tarbuck$ on 29t.h.

One memo caught my attention from the American Homebrewers Assn.  It reminded the media that National Homebrew Day is May 7 and to celebrate that big day the AHA is asking anyone that’s interested to raise a glass of homemade brew to toast the big day.   The big toast is actually at high noon (Central Time 10 am in San Diego) this Saturday, May 4.  A bit early to feel that homebrew froth on the upper lip, eh?  But I’m sure colleagues at West Coaster magazine will raise a glass for me.

Nonetheless, the dispatch from the AHA was at full pint with details about homebrewing, plus it mentioned even the White House was into beer making at home, especially now that it is fully legal in 49 states (Alabama is the lone hold out).

The White House mention hooked me in.  So, I emailed Abby Berman, the PR pro representing the AHA to learn who at the White House was making beer?  Seven minutes later, she sent me the following link:

Turns out President Obama was inspired by home brewers from across the country and last year he bought a home brewing kit for the White House kitchen staff.  The home brewing adventure was delegated to Sam Kass, a culinary pro (Chicago area Chef) and current White House advisor on Nuitrition, plus he’s asst. White House chef. 

In a White House blog last Fall, Kass described “...After the few first drafts we landed on some great recipes that came from a local brew shop. We received some tips from a couple of home brewers who work in the White House who helped us amend it and make it our own. To be honest, we were surprised that the beer turned out so well since none of us had brewed beer before.

“As far as we know the White House Honey Brown Ale is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds. George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine but there's no evidence that any beer has been brewed in the White House. (Although we do know there was some drinking during prohibition…)

“Since our first batch of White House Honey Brown Ale, we've added the Honey Porter and have gone even further to add a Honey Blonde this past summer. Like many home brewers who add secret ingredients to make their beer unique, all of our brews have honey that we tapped from the first ever bee-hive on the South Lawn. The White House honey gives the beer a rich aroma and a nice finish but it doesn't sweeten it,” said White House advisor Sam Kass.

**For the White House Honey Blonde and Honey Porter recipes go back to the link above and also check out the included White House video on how the White House chefs—in their spare time—made a couple of batches of homebrew. 

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