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Former President Barack Obama will be remembered for the many “firsts” that took place during the eight years he served our nation as Commander and Chief. While we all have our own political opinions, there is one thing that will unite all of us true-blue American beer lovers. It should be “Hats Off!”  and “Cheers!” to him for being the very first standing American President to have beer brewed in the White House. (Presidents Washington and Jefferson also took up brewing, but after they left office.)

In 2011 President Obama bought a home-brewing kit and with his urging, White House Chef Sam Kass created a recipe exclusively for the President to share with his beer-appreciating guests. After a possible security leak in 2012, the administration decided to share the recipe for White House Honey Brown Ale. The no-longer-secret-ingredient was honey from the White House beehive — another Presidential first, requested by First Lady Michelle to aid in pollination of the White House gardens.

One of the most famous of Early American beer recipes is that of President George Washington. With an attitude of “Go big, or go home,” it produced a batch of brew that filled 33 gallons! Here it is, verbatim:

Take a large sifter full of bran hops [to your taste] — boil 3 hours. Then strain out 30 gallons into a cooler, put in 3 gallons of molasses while the beer is scalding hot; or rather, drain the molasses into the cooler and 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 a cask. Leave the bung open till it is almost done working. Bottle it that day, week it was brewed.”

Want to give George’s recipe a try? You’ll probably need clarification of a few things: Where can you buy a 30+-gallon boiling pot and Coleman cooler? How warm is “blood warm”?? Bottle it what day/week???

(More on Presidential Brews next month, from your favorite Beer of the Month Club.)

ASK MR. BEERHEAD: BRUCE LEONHARDT OF MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA ASKED: “I AM BETTING MY STATE LEADS THE NATION IN BEER CONSUMPTION — AM I RIGHT?”

Bruce, my buddy, you know your brew. Hope you have a beer riding on this bet! According to the latest available statistics, North Dakota leads in annual per capita beer consumption at 43.6 gallons. New Hampshire (42.2), Montana (40.5) and South Dakota (at 38.2) are followed by fifth place Vermont at 35.9 gallons.

And our nation’s beer drinkers proudly out rank our Canadian neighbors per capita consumption. Newfoundlanders are first, enjoying a mere 21 gallons a year.

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Tracie Burket
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