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White House Beer at $1,200 a Bottle: Can Obama Can Brew Us Out of Debt?

Thursday, 10 Jan 2013 09:50 AM

By Dale Eisinger

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The first beer ever to be brewed in the White House, the White House Honey Ale, comes with a heavy price tag.

A single 12-ounce bottle of the beer went for an ice-cold $1,200 at auction to benefit the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital. Ten people paid for the bottle and cracked it open on stage as the university's marching band played "Hail to the Chief."

The bottle of beer was given to Minnesota resident Brad Magerkurth in August when President Barack Obama stopped for an off-the-record visit at Coffee Connection in Knoxville, Iowa, while campaigning through the swing state. Magerkuth, himself a homebrewer and traveling salesman for Artisan Beer Company, happened to be on a sales call when the president rolled into the café where he was having lunch.

"You know Michelle and I make a beer . . . and we use honey from the beehive by the White House garden," Obama told Magerkurth. "We make a honey beer."

He then gave the travelling salesman an unlabeled bottle of the ale from his personal stash.

"How often does the Leader of the Free World give you three handshakes and then get you a beer?!" said Magerkurth.

After weeks of friends urging him to just sell the bottle, Magerkuth decided that it would best benefit the world to put it up for auction to benefit a cause close to his heart.

"For someone in the beer industry, it's about the coolest thing in the world," he told a blog that chronicles Obama's food decisions and nutrition policies.

The White House began brewing beer in 2011 at the request of Obama. He purchased his own homebrew kit with his own funds. Hopheads so aggressively lobbied for the recipes that eventually the White House press team released how to make both the Honey Ale, a BJCP Category 23- Specialty Beer, and the White House Honey Porter.

When Obama participated in a September 2012 Reddit chat, he told readers the recipes "will be out very soon!"

Obama has yet to release his own secret homebrew recipe.

The beer has become a favorite gift of the White House press team. Memorably, when Obama met with small business owners in late November, Deborah Carey, founder and president of New Glarus Brewing Co. in Wisconsin, left the meeting ecstatic.

"I got beer! I got beer from the White House!" she said to reporters as she left the West Wing.

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