White House Super Bowl party has Wisconsin, Pennsylvania beer, and homebrew

Some interesting information comes to light in the craft beer world in the wake of the Super Bowl.

I reported here about the campaign by East End Brewing owner Scott Smith to get a case of his Pittsburgh-brewed beer to the Whote House Super Bowl party to match the Green Bay-made Hinterland beers President Obama picked up during a stop there. Smith received a note from an aide to Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania, explaining,

Our staff was able to forward your email to the WH, but apparently there is a tough protocol when it comes to food and beverage at the WH. In fact, in '09, when the senator brought smiley cookies to the WH to watch the game, they were confiscated!

As I predicted, the White House did indeed bring in some Yuengling to represent Pennsylvania and the Steelers. Kudos for going with some American-owned brands at least, and while Yuengling does indeed have the better name recognition as America's oldest surviving brewery, it is brewed closer to Philadelphia than Pittsburgh.

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White House Honey Ale. Photo by Pete Souza/White House

Of greater interest to Craft Beerdom Assembled might be the news that the White House debuted a "house beer," made on premises at the Presidential Mansion itself. The scoop comes from Los Angeles food writer Eddie Gehman Kohan's Obama Foodorama blog:

In a special turn of events in the history of White House food creations, one of the White House chefs has brewed White House Honey Ale, a White House aide exclusively tipped ObFo. It uses one pound of honey from this year's 160-pound harvest of honey from the White House Bee Hive, which sits beside Mrs. Obama's South Lawn Kitchen Garden.

The President, First Lady, and their guests will be sampling the special suds for the first time this evening. And the Obamas paid for the micro-brewing equipment, the aide noted, so there's no impact on the national debt.

Kohan also mentions that the Hinterland beers served were its Pale Ale, Amber Ale, and Luna Coffee Stout.

This does beg the question of whether the Executive Mansion has hosted a brewery before. It is known that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had brewers on their relative estates, but there's less information, for now, on whether they continued the practice while in office. Any well-to-do household of the 18th Century would have made beer as it was the only way to guarantee drinkable liquid, and Washington was known to have favored a Porter made in New York City even before he served there as President. So was beer for the President brought in from outside suppliers, or was brewing such a common activity in all households that not much comment wasmadeon it at that time? At least we can finally consign Billy Beer to the dustbins of history.

Most of the public watching the "big game" might have been mystified by the commercial for Stella Artois beer, starring Adrien Brody, amidst all the Bud Light spots. Well, any regular readers of this column would know that Stella is the flagship brand of InBev Belgium, the multinational conglomerate that now owns Anheuser-Busch. Stella is another pale lager which admittedly has a better hop profile than most American macros. It was popular for a while in Britain under the nickname "Nelson" (from Cockney rhyming slang: "Nelson Mandela=Stella."). And I admit I applied for the free Stella glassware from their Facebook page. But watch for more of this import to be pushed on your local watering hole's taps very soon.

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    Mark McDermott

    Writer, trivia maven, fan of many things. I thought to learn all there is to know about beer as a way to stay interested in learning. It is my pleasure to bring Chicago's craft beer scene to you.

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