White House Honey Ale and Other Historic U.S. Beers

White House Honey AleWith all this hubbub about President Obama’s beer — I even signed the petition to release the recipe to the public — I got to thinking, should we bother? I mean, how good can it really be? Even the label is pretty bad.

Maybe good is not the point, but whatever the reason, though I think it would be great for us to have the recipe, do you think that President Obama’s White House Honey Ale would even stand up to ales brewed by Thomas Jefferson’s at Monticello, or recipes based on historic information leading to Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale? The latter attributed Benjamin Franklin, though never President of the US, he was 6th President of Pennsylvania.

We won’t be here 300 years from now, but maybe then some budding homebrewer, sick of drinking something like BL Platinum will discover Obama’s Honey Ale recipe and it will become an historic classic.

I think President Obama is a cool character, but maybe I would be more interested in the Presidential Ale if it were an IPA or something.

Now, getting back to more historic beers, I’ve decided on a new quest: to find and sample any ale brewed from a recipe based on historic research. Be they ales of US Presidents or other historic libations, I’d like to taste as many as I can.

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richards Tavern Spruce AleTo that end, I’ve found Yard’s “Ales of the Revolution” series, with Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale (Benjamin Franklin), Tavern Ale based on a recipe by Thomas Jefferson, and Tavern Porter from a recipe by George Washington.

The spruce takes a little getting used to, it’s different in that it is made with molasses and spruce tips in place of malted barley and hops. Very different flavor, but good. It’s more of a Fall seasonal.

Thomas Jeffersons Tavern AleThomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale is great, but watch out the ABV is 8% and it’s deceiving, not easy to taste the alcohol strength. Very well balanced ale with fruity notes, some spice and a slight malty sweetness.

George Washington’s Tavern Porter is a great ale to sip, and would go down especially well on late fall or winter evenings. This porter has nice coffee notes with hints of chocolate, molasses and dark roasted malts.

If anyone has any tips on historic beer recipes please comment. For further information regarding America’s brewing history, take a look at the Beer History Website.