Saturday, February 22, 2014

Obama To Give Harper Two Cases Of White House Beer To Settle US-Canada Olympic Hockey Bet

POTUS with a mug of his homebrewed beer 
The Canadian Prime Minister wins the historic Presidential brew after Team USA men and women fall at Sochi...
UPDATE, March 7: The Prime Minister gets his prize 
Washington, DC - President Barack Obama will be handing over two cases of his special homebrewed beer, White House Honey Ale, to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper after losing a Twitter bet over the outcomes of hockey games played by the US and Canada men's and women's teams at the Sochi Winter Olympics. 

The White House chefs are the first in more than two centuries of history to brew beer at 1600 Penn, and Mr. Obama's bet with Mr. Harper is his first known wager with a fellow world leader that includes the very special beer.  The in-house brewing operation began in 2011, and the beer is bottled in 12-ounce brown glass longnecks.  

White House Honey Ale
The two leaders announced their bet on Twitter on Thursday.  On Friday, Mr. Harper, a hockey fanatic who wrote a book about the game before being elected to his nation's top office, lost no time in claiming his prize after the Canadian men beat Team USA 1-0 in the semi-final.  Mr. Harper asked for his beer on Twitter within minutes of the game's end; he'd won his first case of beer on Thursday when the Canadian women triumphed over the US women in their final game 

"Like I said, #teamusa is good but #wearewinter. @BarackObama, I look forward to my two cases of beer.  #CANvsUSA #Sochi2014," Harper tweeted.

Busy with an Oval Office meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other business, Mr. Obama offered Mr. Harper no response on Twitter.  The US men will take on Finland for the bronze. 

On Thursday, Mr. Harper was exultant after the US women suffered their heartbreaking defeat, losing 3-2 to Canada in overtime, which led to tears during the medal ceremony.  In the midst of traveling home from a Mexico summit where he and Mr. Obama had "agreed to disagree" about which nation has the better hockey team, Mr. Harper hadn't even seen the women's game when he took to Twitter to gloat just hours after making his wager.

"I look forward to watching the game later and @barackobama, I look forward to my case of beer. #Sochi2014 #WeAreWinter @HC_Women," Harper tweeted.

The Canadian women struck gold for the fourth Olympics in a row--which is every time that women's hockey has been part of the winter line-up.  

The label for the White House Honey Ale
Mr. Obama's chefs began brewing at the White House in 2011, using equipment the President personally purchased with his own funds for the project.  The chefs make four kinds of beer:  White House Honey Ale, White House Honey Porter, White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Blonde Ale.  Each batch uses about a pound of honey from the beehive located on the South Lawn by the Kitchen Garden, the first hive to ever be on White House grounds.

As he ran for re-election in 2012, the President traveled with cases of his homebrew on his special armored bus, known as Ground Force One.  He gifted it to some lucky firemen in Virginia and to one lucky prospective voter during a stump swing through Iowa, Brad Magerkurth--a beer representative.  Magerkurth later auctioned off his single bottle, snagging $1,200 which he donated to a Minnesota hospital.   

The White House released the recipes for two of the homebrews in 2012 after overwhelming public demand that included a petition on the White House's "We the People" petition site. 

Mr. Obama has a history of losing Olympic beer bets to Mr. Harper.  In 2010 during the Vancouver winter games, the President had to hand over a case of Molson beer to the Prime Minister after Team Canada won the men's gold medal in overtime.  Their press secretaries also bet on the women's game, and Mr. Obama's then-spokesman Robert Gibbs had to wear a Team Canada jersey to his daily briefing when he lost the wager to his counterpart, then-spokesman Dimitri Soudas.  Beer was also handed over. 

POTUS swaps beer with Cameron after their World Cup bet ended in a draw
Also in 2010, Mr. Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron traded bottles of beer to settle a bet they made on the U.S. vs. England World Cup Soccer game, which ended in a draw.  They happened to be in Canada for the G20 Summit in Toronto when they exchanged bottles of beer.

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 Photos by Pete Souza/White House