Beer Enthusiasts Seek Secret Recipe for White House Brew

Image credit: Pete Souza/The White House

Activists have filed a Freedom of Information Act Request and started an online petition to get access to critical information that serves the public interest: the recipe for the White House home-brewed beer.

The honey ale - brewed from honey from the White House beehive - first came to light when President Obama served it to his guests at the White House during the 2011 Super Bowl, and then again on St. Patrick's Day. Most recently, it became known that the president carries the beer with him on the campaign trail, where he offered a bottle to a potential voter in Iowa.

The FOIA, posted on Redditt by its submitter, argues that the recipe for the brew should be released for greater "public understanding of the operations or activities of the government," but in a bolder move, adds, ""If you could send me a copy autographed by the president, you'd be the coolest FOIA officer in the whole federal government."

Beer enthusiasts also started an online petition at the White House's official "We the People" website, writing, "In keeping with the brewing traditions of the founding fathers, homebrewers across America call on the Obama administration to release the recipe for the White House home brew so that it may be enjoyed by all."

The secret recipe, however, is not in likely danger of exposure. The petition currently has 3,609 signatures out of the 21,391 needed to be granted official review.

Brandon Skall, CEO of DC Brau, a microbrewery in the nation's capital, said he hasn't signed the petition yet but fully intends to, adding that his company would love to be the first to produce the president's brew on a large scale.

"Home brewing is a hobby, but it consumes you," Skall said. "There's a whole lot of obsessiveness that can go into home brewing."

Skall said the honey in the president's brew boosts its alcohol content, but it's all contingent on the yeast strain used during fermentation.

"Honey has sugar in it - sugar gives us alcohol when yeast is added. It might also add a residual caramelized honey character," Skall said. "If they are showcasing the honey, they are probably using a Belgian or American yeast strain."

Press Secretary Jay Carney took questions on this today, in this exchange:

Q: And finally, I know this is - I think you were asked about this earlier in the week, but there's been a sort of push from the online Homebrewers Association for the White House to release its beer recipe. I believe there are three, at least, White House beers brewed here. Does the White House have any plans to release its beer recipes?

MR. CARNEY: Not that I'm aware of. … I think the president and first lady were asked about this a little bit in an interview last week, which I believe is published or broadcast, about how the White House beer came about. But I don't - I'm not aware of any plans at this time to - divulge the secret recipe.

Q: I believe there have been Freedom of Information - (inaudible) - filed on this issue, so -

MR. CARNEY: I'll have to take the question - (scattered laughter) - examine it, taste it. (Laughter.)