Presidential Beer Tidbits

Let's make this county great...ale?

This President's Day, make a toast to the leaders of this great country who made sure we had plenty of brews for all! Here is a short list of President's who loved beer as much as we do!

1. George Washington not only loved beer but also brewed it himself at Mount Vernon.

Washington's memoranda for the autumn of 1757 include the following recipe for “Small Beer”:

Take a large Siffer full of Bran Hops to your Taste. Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 3 Gallns into a Cooler put in 3 Gallns 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 Yest if the weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank(et) & let it work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask—leave the Bung open till it is almost don(e) woring—Bottle it that day week it was Brewed.

(Courtesy New York Public Library)

2. Thomas Jefferson's earliest designs for his estate included spaces for brewing and the storage of beer. Beer was a "table liquor" served during dinner. To make his favorite homebrew, just follow the recipe.

(American Homebrewers Association)

3. Have you heard that James Madison wanted to form a national beer brewery in 1809 and appoint a Secretary of Beer to the presidential cabinet. Congress didn’t agree with the plan. This is a myth! According to staffers at Madison’s Montpelier estate in Orange, Virginia and an advanced search through the historical newspaper database ProQuest, which includes archives for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal dating back to the 1850s, there are zero results for this supposed agenda of Madison’s. Yet a handful of reputable publications repeated the story, and a powerful social media channel inevitably fanned the fumes.

4. Franklin D. Roosevelt saves the day! “I think this would be a good time for beer,” Roosevelt famously said in March of 1933, just months after taking office. He quickly signed a Beer-Wine Revenue Act to allow 3.2 percent beer and wine in April of 1933, then in December, helped push through the 21st Amendment that once again made it legal to drink.


5. Jimmy Carter, along with Congress, to make home brewing legal again in 1979. Carter wasn’t a big drinker, but his brother, Billy, had his own line of beer.


6. Which leads us to Barack Obama who purchased a homebrewing kit in 2011 with former White House chef Sam Kass. The result was a House Honey Ale and a House Honey Porter made with honey from the White House’s South Lawn bee hive. It is believed to be the first beer actually brewed inside the White House. The recipes for the beers were released in 2012 after a petition on the government website We the People called for Obama to release the recipe “so that it may be enjoyed by all.”

(White House Getty Images/News)

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