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The craft beer president


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If the old adage that the presidential candidate voters would rather share a beer with gets the most votes is true, there will be a clear winner in November.

Beyond Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s religious obligations keeping him from imbibing, President Barack Obama has solidified his role as the craft beer president.

Only two presidents have brewed beer while in office. George Washington made a “small beer” at Mount Vernon, and Obama bought homebrew supplies last year, making his administration the first to brew in the White House.

Thomas Jefferson made wine at Monticello, but that doesn’t count.

The president served the homebrew — made with honey from Michelle Obama’s garden — at Super Bowl parties and to heads of state.

When U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer won the Medal of Honor, he simply asked to have a beer with his commander in chief. Obama and Meyer shared a homebrew in the White House Rose Garden.

Obama’s homebrew started to make headlines when he told reporters he kept cold brew on his campaign bus.

Homebrewers across the country began campaigning for the White House to release the recipe. Media outlets from Fox News and MSNBC to NPR and The Atlantic wrote about the homebrew hubbub.

Two weeks ago, White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass announced the recipes through a blog post on whitehouse.gov.

A honey porter, honey brown ale and honey blonde are all brewed in the White House kitchen and fermented in the White House basement.

“After the few first drafts we landed on some great recipes that came from a local brew shop,” Kass said in the post. “To be honest, we were surprised that the beer turned out so well since none of us had brewed beer before.”

Obama’s relationship with frosty libations goes beyond just homebrew.

In the first year of his presidency, Obama was embroiled in a national controversy on race relations involving the arrest of Harvard professor Louis Gates. The POTUS invited Gates, the arresting officer and Vice President Joe Biden to the Rose Garden for a pint.

Obama had Bud Light, Officer James Crowley had a Blue Moon, Gates had Sam Adams Light and Biden drank Buckler, a non-alcoholic malt beverage.

Later in his term, Obama visited Ireland to track down his family roots. He stopped in a pub and was photographed with Michelle and a pint of Guinness.

When Obama lost a bet with British Prime Minister David Cameron during the 2010 World Cup, he traded Goose Island’s 312 Wheat Ale, from his hometown of Chicago, for Wychwood Brewery’s Hobgoblin, from Cameron’s home district of Witney.

“I advised him that in America we drink our beer cold,” Obama said at the time. “So, he has to put this in the refrigerator before he drinks it, but I think he will find it outstanding.”

On campaign stops across the country, Obama stops in neighborhood bars and local pubs for a pint, shakes hands and tries to earn votes. In 2008, he made a similar stop in Bloomington when he visited Nick’s English Hut.

Obama won Indiana in 2008, but the state is predicted to vote Republican this November, which means it is unlikely we’ll see a visit from either presidential candidate.

If Obama, Romney, Biden or Ryan decide to visit Bloomington, you can bet I’ll be in line to offer the candidates a pint of Bloomington’s finest.

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