During the American Revolution, home brewing beer and spirits was considered an act of patriotism, because it reduced demand for imported alcoholic beverages from Europe. America’s first president, George Washington, was an avid home brewer who built a small whiskey distillery at Mount Vernon and authored the following beer recipe, a favorite among history loving homebrewers:
Take a large siffer full of bran hops to your taste-boil these 3 hours. Then strain our 30 gallon into a cooler put in 3 gallon molasses while the beer is scalding hot or rather draw 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 cask – Leave the bung open till it is almost done working – Bottle it that day week it was brewed.
Before he became a revolutionary leader, Founding Father Samuel Adams (President John Adams’s cousin) was a maltster, who produced malt for use in brewing beer. And Thomas Jefferson, author of The Declaration of Independence, brewed ale at home at Monticello.
Now President Obama is following in the Founding Fathers’ footsteps, serving White House guests home brew made right the White House kitchen. One batch served during the White House Super Bowl party, called White House Honey Ale, was made with honey from the beehive in the First Lady’s White House Kitchen Garden.
Assistant White House chef Sam Kass has reportedly even mentioned the possibility of growing hops in the White House garden, which would give White House Ale even better locavore credentials.
(For those worried about the expense of this presidential homebrewing experiment to taxpayers, fret not — the President and First Lady are said to have purchased the beer brewing equipment themselves.)
Detail of a photo by LoopZilla from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.