Ale to the Chief: Presidential Homebrew

Homebrewing is happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Yes, the White House! What is unique is that this is the first documented account of beer actually being brewed inside the White House. The bubbling of airlocks started last year when President Barack Obama purchased (with his own money) a homebrewing kit for the kitchen staff to brew beer for the residence.

The presidential beer first started flowing at a beer outing at the Oval Office patio with Medal of Honor recipient, Dakota Meyer. Appearances were soon followed by a Super Bowl party at the White House and at a chance encounter with Minnesota’s own Brad The Beer Guy. Brad Magerkurth, affectionately known as “The Beer Guy” of Artisan Beer Company, was handed a bottle by the president while at a coffee shop in Knoxville, IA during a recent campaign stop.

Red, White and Brew

President Barack Obama isn’t the first president with a special connection to brewing. Some of our most well-known founding fathers had an affinity for fermentation. Thomas Jefferson had vineyards at Monticello and made wine. George Washington brewed beer while at Mount Vernon. Here is an excerpt from a handwritten recipe for “small beer” from 1757:

Take a large Sifter full of Bran. Hops to your Taste. Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gallons into a Cooler, put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler & strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold, cover it over with a Blanket & let it work in the Cooler 24 hours. Then put it into the Cask. Leave the bung open till it is almost done working. Bottle it that day.

Luckily, as you can see from Washington’s recipe, we have come a long way with ingredients, equipment and process. The chefs at the White House have adopted modern homebrewing techniques to brew two beers, a Honey Ale and a Honey Porter. These beers incorporate honey from the beehives that are kept on the South Lawn. Sugars from the honey help increase the strength of the beer while keeping the body light.

Ale to the Chief!

Recently (and due to popular demand), the White House released two of its recipes to the public – a Honey Ale and Honey Porter. We were excited to see homebrewing in the national spotlight. The presidential beers inspired us to create the Northern Brewer’s White House Recipe Kits so that every American can try their hand at crafting the same recipes.

Built on a big foundation of malt with strong tones of biscuit and toffee, the White House Honey Ale plays up the fruity, caramel aspects of English malt and yeast. But much like the Founding Fathers would have spiced up traditional style ales with homegrown ingredients, a late addition of pure honey adds a revolutionary twist, imbuing a floral aroma and lightening the body.

More than just simply black and roasty, White House Honey Porter builds consensus with generous applications of sweet caramel and toasty Munich malts, while moderate bitterness and a pound of honey lets us all find common ground.

Since their release, the White House Recipe Kits have been the most successful kit launch in Northern Brewer history. We think it’s clear that homebrewers are excited about and eager to celebrate homebrewing’s new place in the national consciousness. And in a year of divisive politics, we think it’s especially important to remember what many of us have in common: homebrewing!

Political leanings aside, we hope you’ll raise a glass to the community that is homebrewing. We have come a long way in the three decades since homebrewing was made legal in this country. Here’s to sharing pints across the aisle and to however the election comes out at least we can agree on: “Four more beers!”

For more information on the White House Recipe Kits see or see the recipes from below.


So without any further ado, America – this one’s for you:







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