Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Hickenlooper, Colorado's Brewmaster Governor, Critiques White House Beer Recipes

President Obama has been good for the craft-beer industry, says the Governor, but the White House chefs "could use a little less honey"...
Before a cheering crowd of thousands on Sept. 2, President Obama hailed Colorado's John Hickenlooper as an "outstanding governor" during a Road to Charlotte rally in the crucial swing state. A few days later at the Convention, the Governor offered a critique of the White House's two recently released beer recipes for Honey Porter and Honey Ale. That's because Hickenlooper is the first state executive to be a brewer: He founded Denver's Wynkoop Brewing Company in 1988, the first brew-pub in the Rocky Mountain West.

While Hickenlooper loves the idea of President Obama having the first-ever White House homebrewing operation, he told The Atlantic that he is a bit skeptical of all the honey that's being used. The recipe for both beers calls for a pound from the Presidential bee hive, the first to be on the grounds.

"It's none of my business and I don't want to criticize the White House chef, but I think maybe they could use a little less honey," Hickenlooper said.

"One recipe I'm pretty sure would be better without the honey and the other one I think would be. A little bit less honey would be nice."

President Obama has gifted his beer to some lucky citizen recipients--most recently to Virginia firefighters--but Hickenlooper has never tasted the brews, and is basing his analysis on checking out the recipes. Thanks to the fact that Colorado is crucial to the President's re-election strategy, the two have seen plenty of each other lately (at left, a Presidential hug).

"He's using honey in the beer recipes, largely, I think, because they've got an apiary," Hickenlooper said.

Of course. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama have spotlighted their special hive by giving their coveted honey as diplomatic gifts, as well as used it for State Dinners and First Family meals. About a third of the annual harvest is also donated to a DC social services agency that offers meals to the homeless.

And of course Hickenlooper thinks the President's affection for beer speaks well for his character. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney doesn't drink beer, thanks to his Mormon faith.

Mr. Obama is "a beer guy, he's not a fine wine guy," Hickenlooper said. "He's certainly very refined. He's very articulate. But in the end, come on--the guy's a White Sox fan."

And that's "one of the big differences between Governor Romney and President Obama," Hickenlooper said: that Mr. Obama is passionate about things like beer and basketball, whereas with Romney, "most people can't tell you what he's passionate about."

President Obama's time in office has been good for the craft-beer industry, according to Hickenlooper.

"In the last four years, craft beer is up 35 percent. It's now 5.7 percent of the total beer market. It provides fifty percent of the total jobs in the beer industry," Hickenlooper said.

"When I opened Wynkoop, there were roughly 100 breweries in the United States. Now there are 2,150. I mean, that's amazing, right? Within the next few years we're going to get to 3,000 breweries, which is what it was in 1890."


Download a printable PDF of both White House beer recipes.

*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House