White House Homebrew

Cleek mentioned that the beer that Dakota Meyer and President Obama shared yesterday was brewed at the White House. Here’s a lot more detail on how that beer came to be, from a blog completely devoted to the food and food policy at the White House. Consider this an open thread and a beer thread.

98 replies
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    PeakVT says:

    Are they using honey as the primary sugar source or in addition to malt? The former might get purists up in arms. But it’s just awesome that they’re homebrewing at the WH.

  3. 3
    4tehlulz says:

    This just illustrates the Kenyansoc-ilaistmuslims” desire to destroy small businesses like InBev and MillerCoors.

  4. 4
    Cat Lady says:

    Interesting that the article made sure to point out that the Obamas paid for the home brewing set up with their own funds – $200 – as if that somehow will pre-empt a wingnut freakout about something. It’s too early to even guess at how the wingnut mind might pretzel logic this into a scandal, since secret Muslims wouldn’t drink a beer.

    ETA: and 4tehlulz got it. You have to get up pretty early around here.

  5. 5
    RossInDetroit says:

    I had to cop that link for my page on the Face-book. I have a number of friends who are foodies and homebrewers. They’ll enjoy reading it as soon as they wake up and recover from Friday night.
    I was amazed to read that the White House hives produced over 250 lbs of honey in a year. Busy bees indeed.

  6. 6
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Obama could have pulled pork sandwiches and tumblers of bourbon with every guest and some people still wouldn’t be convinced.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:


    I was amazed to read that the White House hives produced over 250 lbs of honey in a year. Busy bees indeed.

    Clearly, the Obamas are just mooching off the efforts of the real Galtian producers.

  8. 8
    Poopyman says:

    I see by the banner at the top that today is Ron Paul’s money bomb day. Sorry Ron, but I just scoured the sofa cushions for lunch money.

    Also too, 254 lbs of honey? That would make a lot of beer. How many hives does it take to make that much?

  9. 9
    Maude says:

    Too bad Bush didn’t have on of these. He could of run it dry in one day.
    This is such an innovative WH.

  10. 10
    BD of MN says:

    @PeakVT “ale with honey” suggests to me that the honey percentage isn’t very high. a “Braggot” is what you call it when you get around the 50% honey mark… I’ve made a Braggot once, wasn’t that crazy about the results…

    since this is an open beer thread, I should say I’ve been on a brewing tear lately. I made a Irish red ale with Simcoe, Cascade and Centennial hops, a Robust Porter made with my own homegrown hops, and am going to be brewing a Cream Ale tomorrow…

  11. 11
    Comrade Mary says:

    @jeffreyw: DAMN IT! Now I have to go clean — err, dig out — the kitchen and cook something.

  12. 12
    kd bart says:

    Home brewing just shows how elitist Obama is. Real Americans drink whatever swill they buy at the 7-11 on the way home.

  13. 13
    Poopyman says:

    I have to say though, thank FSM they didn’t make mead. Waste of good honey.

  14. 14

    The banana bread I made last night is actually pretty fucking awesome.

    I blogwhored this last night but I’ll do it again. A simple solution for making a difference in the slums of the Philippines. Stories like this make me realize how petty the majority of our political discourse is.

  15. 15
    RossInDetroit says:


    Also too, 254 lbs of honey? That would make a lot of beer. How many hives does it take to make that much?

    The story says that’s from a single hive in her kitchen garden. That seems like a LOT from one hive. I don’t know about beekeeping but I know people who would know. I’ll check into it.

    ETA: Apparently 250 lbs isn’t unheard of for a single hive. Actively managing a honey operations would probably produce more honey from several smaller hives.

  16. 16
    Wag says:

    With so many good microbreweries in my home state of Colorado, I’ve pretty much given up homebrew. Colorado is the Napa of beer. He’ll, even our governor (John Hickenlooper (D)) got his start as owner of one of denver’s first brewpubs.

    New Belgium Oskar’s Great Divide Avery’s Ska the list goes on and on. Yum!

  17. 17
    Svensker says:


    It’s a breakfast thread.

    I hate you.

    Right now the house has lettuce and walnuts and guavas and that’s pretty much it. Which might make a nice salad on a hot day, but is much less appealing when it’s 50 degrees.

  18. 18
    PurpleGirl says:

    Michelle: We have so much honey. What can we use it for besides a condiment?

    Kass: Well, I could brew beer with it. It wouldn’t be very expensive and it would make a nice special drink.

    Michelle: Okay. We can try that.

    Result: Win. Innovation on serving special food/drink, which WH chefs and staff want to do anyway.

    Super religious teetotaling Goopers: Beer? Ale? Spirits? Sin!

    (Yeah, I know, it’s lame but I thought I’d give it a try.)

  19. 19

    my neighbors bitch like dick cheney during a lightning storm when i try to make home bourbon.

  20. 20
    Ash Can says:

    @PurpleGirl: I’m waiting for the teabaggers to start bleating about the White House having a chef at all, that it’s a needless expense and the first lady can just get into the kitchen and cook her family’s meals her own self the way the good lord intended, with said chef to be reinstated the minute a Republican moves into the White House, because shut up, that’s why.

  21. 21
    wyliecoat says:

    Since this blog has been having some group dynamic issues, thought I’d shar this talk by Clay Shirky, “A group is its own worst enemy.” Might help us avoid the cultism!

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    Dick Cheney during a lightning storm

    Now there’s an image to make one smile!

  23. 23
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    My brother made some wine that turned out kinda mediocre so he distilled it and made decent brandy. Back in college he and some friends scored a pallet of ‘spoiled’ apple cider from a farmer and produced passable apple brandy, hangovers.

  24. 24
    Shlemizel - was Alwhite says:

    I started brewing with my kids a couple of years ago & the one out of college has started going the grain route while I still do partials or kits. It is actually a lot of fun & we have made several of the types I really love – Belgian wheats.

    I have a German Dunklewissen we bottled a few days before I went to the Dr. I have not been able to taste it after the rest but out of the fermenter it was marvelous with chocolate & spice.

    Good for the Obamas! Brewing is a Presidential tradition going back to Washington, Jefferson & others.

  25. 25
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @RossInDetroit: I haven’t had a drink in 2o years but I can still feel the hangover from hard cider 40 years ago!

  26. 26
    gnomedad says:


    Dick Cheney during a lightning storm

    Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

  27. 27
    Firebert says:

    Most beermakers I’ve known have leaned libertarian. I’m planning on instigating some uncomfortable conversations in the near future.

  28. 28
    RossInDetroit says:

    Back in the ’80s a friend and I experimented with simple hobby brewing. One bright idea was to add some of the… um… vegetable matter that we grew on a back corner of his large property. The stems swelled up and clogged the siphon hose, making bottling frustrating. But the results are still much celebrated in the folklore of my people.

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    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Nailed. Precisely.

    It’s the militant, proud stupid of the wingtards that drives me nuts. They revel in their ignorance and inability to critically think. They wear it as a badge of honor.

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    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @kd bart:

    OK, that’s not bad either.

    Reminds me a bit of this new looey who joined my unit in Germany in the early 80s…he wouldn’t drink the local beers for fear that it would ruin his taste for good old Missouri brewed Budweiser…

  33. 33
    ThresherK says:

    @Southern Beale: Is that the Cook’s Illustrated recipe?

    We have some bananas which will be banana-bread-ready soon, and it’s finally getting to where we can turn on the oven without cursing about adding heat to the house.

  34. 34
    MagicPanda says:

    This just proves that obama is jimmy carter II and billy carter rolled into one.

  35. 35
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Southern Beale:

    The Walker thing. I’ve been following that a bit. Lawyering up doesn’t make sense. All I know of this so far is that an employee apparently wrote and responded to LTTE’s supporting Walker on company time. Maybe there’s more, but that sounds pretty minor so far. IIRC, the former employee’s house was raided by the FBI. THAT doesn’t sound like it’s for misuse of government time and computers either. Weird.

    ETA: I like that the pic TPM posted of Walker makes him look super dopey:

  36. 36
    cleek says:

    twas our 15th anniversary this week, so there was leftover prime rib in the fridge. therefore: steak and eggs for breakfast this AM!


  37. 37
    jeffreyw says:

    @Comrade Mary: Not a problem-breakfast burritos are fast and easy.

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    Mine was a loaf. Super yummy. I was afraid I had overcooked it but nope! It was delish.

  40. 40
    jeffreyw says:

    The very rare glass winged hummingbird. I’m am a lucky fella to get this one at my feeder.

  41. 41
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Ash Can: Thank you. I was thinking about what the complaint would be and how soon it would come. Because it is coming…

    @gnomedad: LOL. Very good referencing.

  42. 42


    That’s totally not what I heard. What I heard was that virtually the entire county executive’s office was basically turned into a Scott Walker campaign office. Employees spent their time commenting on blog posts and news stories about Walker, creating sockpuppet identities, etc. When things started to look bad and word was leaking out, this aide of Walker’s was moved into another department in a very highly paid position … basically buying her silence.

    It’s not looking good at all.

  43. 43
    AliceBlue says:

    My husband just came upstairs to see what I was laughing about. He almost choked on his tea.

  44. 44
    nellcote says:

    That’s a great blog. I love that the WH chefs go to the public schools in DC and work with the kids. It’s part of the eat better campaign.

    One of my favorite stories from the blog. Last winter one of the historic WH trees blew over in the bad storms they were having. They reuse the wood in interesting ways. When they went to England their gift to premier organic gardener, Prince Charles, was a box made from the wood containing seeds and seedlings from Thomas Jefferson’s garden.

  45. 45
    gnomedad says:

    Thank you for the report. Where else can I get this kind of gratification just being a nerd?

  46. 46
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Charles H. Percy just died. I remember sitting in his office during Operation Dewey Canyon III as part of the Illinois Delegation of the VVAW. We were lobbying to stop the war and, while he obviously disagreed with us, he treated us with respect.

  47. 47
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    eta. I said he disagreed with us and that is not really true. He was a Republican that was against the war. He just wasn’t crazy about our tactics.

  48. 48
    Mino says:

    @Poopyman: Act Blue has already raised half a million for Warren w/GOS and other hippy blogs contributed over half of that amount. Pretty good, I’d say. And you know she’s gonna need it when Wall Street gets going.

  49. 49
    Ron says:

    I was going to steal this link for my book of faces, but decided to just do the “share” thing directly to this entry in BJ.

    This is filed under “things that make the Obama WH cool” for sure though.

  50. 50
    Mino says:

    @RossInDetroit: I wondered if he has lazy eye? In a lot of his pictures, he looks weird.

  51. 51
    Mino says:

    @jeffreyw: Looks delish.

    And do the hummers of different species get along, too. You must crack a whip pretty good.

  52. 52
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Percy was an ardent opponent of the Vietnam War, a supporter of international nuclear non-proliferation, a backer of federal consumer protection efforts and tougher enforcement of laws against drug abuse. He also was the first senator to call for a special prosecutor to investigate Watergate, the political dirty tricks scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency.

    This was a Republican!

  53. 53
    Three-nineteen says:

    @jeffreyw: Beautiful! Would you mind if I pinned some of your pictures on my Pinterest board?

    As for beer, this is where I’ll be today.

    ETA: OK, links not working. Here is Pinterest:


    Here is today’s destination:


  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    Republicans used to have a strong element of reality based figures.

    However, the Goldwater wing got so silly that they even purged Goldwater.

  55. 55
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @gnomedad: I don’t know who is the bigger dork: You, for the reference, or me, for totally getting it instantly.

  56. 56
    Comrade Mary says:

    @jeffreyw: Yes, they are, after you spend some time cleaning crap off the stove and counter (objects and stubborn spills). My house really falls to pieces during the week.

  57. 57

    @Ash Can: I’m surprised they haven’t already. Also, too, why do they have to live in our White House in our nation’s capital? There’s only four of them. They should go back to where they came from.

  58. 58
    jeffreyw says:

    @Mino: I keep a nice clean family bar here. They would not dare.

  59. 59
    jeffreyw says:

    @Three-nineteen: All my pics are copyright Creative Commons. Go for it.

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    RossInDetroit says:

    Wow. I just got offered a job on the phone. An old friend works for an internet services and hosting company, and needs a server management tech. I know nothing about this but people seem to imagine that I can do stuff they need done. I guess I’ll check it out.

  61. 61
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    I’m sorry to hear that. He was my Senator for a while. If we still had Republicans like that, I wouldn’t be so worried about this country.

  62. 62
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @RossInDetroit: Yay!!! You don’t know me from Adam, but good on you! I am very excite whenever anyone in my community gets work.

  63. 63
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Southern Beale:

    What I heard was that virtually the entire county executive’s office was basically turned into a Scott Walker campaign office.

    If true, they’ll come down hard. The rules for using government resources for political purposes are vigorously enforced when the violations pass a certain threshold. And they should be. Incumbency is a big advantage already. Office holders who used their staffs as full time political agents would be unbeatable.

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    MikeJ says:

    I made challah last night, which means pain perdu for brekkies today. Yum.

  65. 65
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): @SiubhanDuinne:

    Funny the tricks memory plays. I would have sworn he was in the Senate when I was still living in Illinois, but in fact I had been gone nearly three years by the time he was elected.

    But I stand by what I said about his being. Republican I can admire and live with (and conceivably even vote for).

  66. 66
    M-Pop says:

    I posted the WH beer entry on my FB and a friend replied, “I was getting kinda crabby about him [Obama] but now that I know about the beer AND apiary?! <3"

  67. 67
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Rabble Arouser:

    I guess my dork-fu needs work. Gnomedad’s comment was addressed to me, but I had to Google the reference.

  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    @RossInDetroit: Most awesome! I’m trying to get a friend a job at my office; he’s been looking for months.

  69. 69
    ruemara says:


    Go you! Networking friends are the best.

    I just got told by the domestic partner who’s been UE for the past 3 years, he couldn’t apply for a job referred to us by a friend because the company seemed too hip and modern and mobile for him to fit in. In this respect, I’m not just happy for you, I’m ecstatic for you

    Also too, I know people blog about all sorts of stuff, but a blog devoted to the culinary endeavors of the Obama White House? Good to know.

  70. 70
    RossInDetroit says:

    Thanks. This is way out of my branch of IT but I’ll look into it. Everyone says I’m ‘underutilized’ at what I’m doing now. That is clearly a synonym for ‘lazy’.

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    Mino says:

    @cleek: I missed this before. Congratulations to you and your better half, no doubt. Heh, heh.

  73. 73
    Gus says:

    Since this is an open thread, looking for dog help. My wife and I have come to the very sad conclusion that we need to give up our dog. We’ve had him for 7 years. He’s been aggressive to people coming over to our house since the beginning. We have more or less adjusted our lives to accommodate him. We’ve worked with him, and when my wife got pregnant, we brought in a veterinary behavioralist. He has made great strides on medication and with training, but she basically told us we’d never be able to fully trust him around visitors, and given his behavior around the baby it’s possible he could become aggressive toward him at some point, too. This is a chance we aren’t willing to take. If anyone knows someone in the Twin Cities area who is dog savvy and is willing to work with a dog who will be a loyal and sweet companion, but is fear aggressive, please let me know. This is killing us, but we feel we have to do it.

  74. 74
    PurpleGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Were you into Star Trek: Next Generation? That’s from one of their most interesting shows playing with language, culture and cross-cultural interactions.

  75. 75
    Mary Jane says:

    @Mino: Very smart of Ms. Warren to be writing daily diaries at GOS at this early stage. They still love her so it’s wise to get their money while she can. Her staff has probably noticed that kossacks keep their back-stabbing knives sharpened and at the ready.

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    lamh34 says:

    Wow, some pretty sad politically-leaning news in the past what 24 hours. first the plane crash in Reno, then apparently Teddy Kennedy’s daughter died suddenly, and early today, Walter Mondale’s daughter died as well.

    Both women fairly young, 51.

  78. 78
    maus says:


    Most beermakers I’ve known have leaned libertarian. I’m planning on instigating some uncomfortable conversations in the near future.

    In the PNW, most good drinkin’ Libs are homebrewers.

    Myself, working on a nice Rogue Brutal Bitter clone currently.

  79. 79
    Amir Khalid says:

    Is sad pet story. Alas, the tragic hero(ine) goes unnamed in Reuters’ telling.

  80. 80

    @lamh34: The Emesis Prevention Council has issued a Puke So Hard You Bring Up Yesterday’s Lunch warning for all fRighty Blogs.

  81. 81

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  82. 82
    cleek says:

    no doubt at all. and, thanks!

  83. 83
    Mino says:

    @Mary Jane: If she’s not savvy after what she’s been through, she does’t belong in politics.

  84. 84
    Mary Jane says:

    @Mino: Agree. And she is.

  85. 85
    ColleenMary says:

    @Gus: there’s a great rescue organization in the Twin Cities called RAGOM (rescue a Golden of MN). RAGOM.org I think. Obviously they like Goldens best but I’ve seen other dogs on their website AND they would probably be able to point you in a good direction. Their network of dog foster-parents seems completely incredible. Good luck!

  86. 86
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @PurpleGirl: Sorry to say I wasn’t. But the Wikipedia entry I read on it sounded fascinating. Gilgamesh for heaven’s sake! I should probably do myself a big favor and watch ST:NG. Not to mention Doctor Who in all it’s iterations.

    I am just shockingly ignorant of an awful lot of popular culture.

  87. 87
    Gus says:

    @ColleenMary: Thank you, I will see what they can do.

  88. 88
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That is sad, both.

    It’s kind of astonishing the number of politicians who have lost grown daughters to illness, violence, or substance abuse. Off the top of my head in addition to these two, there’s George McGovern’s daughter, Dick Durbin’s daughter, and the late Sen Chuck Percy’s daughter Valerie.

    ETA: Maureen Reagan, too.

  89. 89
    sinned34 says:

    Homebrew beer at the White House? I guess there’s finally a reason to actually vote for Obama, other than just preventing a Republican from fully implementing their Screw The Poor agenda.
    I wonder if they’re doing extract or all-grain? I’ve been homebrewing with kits since Jan 2010, but recently built a mash tun and did three batches of all-grain so far: two pale ales (i’m bottling both this weekend) and a brown ale.

  90. 90
    andy says:

    It’s september which means I got a 12 pack (longnecks) of August Schell’s Oktoberfest. They don’t have near the cache that Surly does, but when you’ve been around 140 years you sure build a hell of an institutional memory. In my opinion, the best production brewer in the state of Minnesota.

  91. 91
    Arclite says:

    Why do you suppose it is that we pay for a chef for the president? I don’t think that any of the other American politicians have a chef, do they? Why don’t we insist the president (regardless of party) cook for himself?

  92. 92
    Lojasmo says:


    Shut your whore mouth. surly is a far superior brewery.

  93. 93
    Lojasmo says:


    Our governor has a paid chef, as do most governors, I would imagine. You try cooking for a hundred guests at a state dinner.

  94. 94


    I agree. He and his family ought to be lining up at the Applebee’s salad bar just like the rest of us.

  95. 95
    Arclite says:

    @Lojasmo: I suppose that’s true. I didn’t know that some governors have chefs too. I don’t think that ours does (HI). I see the point about a state dinner, but you could have it catered on the rare occasions you have guests. Why have a full time chef? Judges, reps, and senators don’t get one.

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    Yutsano says:

    @Arclite: I suppose at this point it’s tradition. I know the White House culinary staff goes back as least as far as Jefferson.

  97. 97
    JK says:

    @Arclite Also, goes to vetting a catering company to make sure they are not going to poison the guests every time you have a party. Had a friend who cooked for Hillary Clinton at an SF fundraiser and the background checks, kitchen inspections and security involved made it a difficult experience.

    But since the brewing is being done with taxpayer dollars, the recipe and hops schedule should be public right? I want to see some free recipes. Very intrigued by a honey blond.

  98. 98
    Sasha says:

    Again, change we can believe in.

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