As the rhetoric of the campaign season gets louder in the last few weeks before the election, the Alamo Drafthouse is pleased to say we’ve found an issue that everyone can agree on: Good Beer.
There’s a long history of United States Presidents making booze; George Washington brewed beer and distilled applejack at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine and brewed at Monticello. By 1814, he even had his own production brew house on the property. FDR, on singing the legislation that repealed prohibition, famously declared, "I think this would be a good time for a beer." But James Madison might be the most beer loving President in history—In 1809, he wanted to start a national brewery and appoint a Secretary of Beer to the Cabinet. Unfortunately, Congress demurred.
President Obama is believed to be the first American President to actually brew beer in the White House. To date, the White House has produced three beers—a honey blonde ale, a honey brown ale and a honey porter, and they’ve been served at state dinners and passed around during campaign stops.
When word got out that the White House was making beer, home brewers clamored for the recipe, two people even going so far as to file Freedom of Information Act requests for it, and an online petition to release the recipe got over 12,000 responses. On September 1, the White House published the recipes.
A few weeks ago, in a casual exchange with our friends at Thirsty Planet, we mentioned that it would be cool if one of the local Austin breweries did a batch of one of the White House beers before the election, and Jake Maddux at Thirsty Planet was immediately on board. He took a look at the recipes, and settled on producing the Blonde Ale, but one ingredient was going to be impossible to obtain—the White House uses honey from hives on the grounds. So Jake went with the next best thing and bought a large quantity of local honey from the Austin Honey Company and set to brewing.
Thirsty Planet Oval Office Ale weighs in at 5.6% alcohol by volume, is minimally hopped with classic English hops, and pours a clear gold color with a pillowy white head. The nose is bread and biscuits, and it starts slightly sweet on the palate, with a fruity middle leading to a smooth, honey kissed finish.
We’re happy to say that Oval Office Ale from Thirsty Planet will be available on tap at all Austin Alamo Drafthouse locations and The Highball beginning on Monday October, 22 (pending final TABC approval of the beer) and at the Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park in Katy, TX shortly thereafter. We will continue to carry the beer while supplies last, hopefully until at least Election Day.
Whatever your politics, you can get behind good beer. If you’re a supporter of the President, come into the Alamo or Highball and raise a pint of Oval Office Ale to his reelection. If you support Governor Romney, maybe you can find common ground with your political opponent on at least this one issue, all while raising a pint to his defeat. If you’re undecided, maybe this beer will sway your vote.
Of course, in the interest of equal time, we note that Governor Romney is on the record declaring that water is his beverage of choice. All Alamo Drafthouse locations also carry water, both straight from the tap and in bottles, and we’ll be happy to serve you water as well.