Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Fall/Winter 2012 (November 16, 2012)

Beloiter's Petition Releases Presidential Beer Recipe


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November 16, 2012
By Lynn Vollbrecht’06

John Lutz’11It’s no secret that some Beloiters like their beer, with tastes ranging from Pabst Blue Ribbon to craft brews. Some, like John Lutz’11, even like to make their own.

Lutz has always been a fan of the do-it-yourself, homemade movement. He loves to cook, he’s built his own guitar and banjo, and since his senior year of college he’s brewed his own beer, inspired in part by local Beloit favorite New Glarus Brewing Company.

“After graduation I kept brewing, and it has quickly become a passion,” Lutz says. “It is a way for me to experiment and be creative.”

Lutz, an anthropology major, relocated to the nation’s capital this past summer to work as a collections manager at the Smithsonian’s forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture, slated to open in 2015. He became involved in a D.C. homebrewing club, and quickly made a name for himself when he posted a petition on the White House’s website asking for the recipes for the White House’s homebrew.

“In keeping with the brewing traditions of the founding fathers, homebrewers across America call on the Obama Administration to release the recipe for the White House homebrew so that it may be enjoyed by all,” part of the petition states.

Before the petition had a chance to pick up the 25,000 signatures then required to warrant an official response, the likes of CNN, NPR, and Politico had reported on the story. Some constituents took the request very seriously and filed a Freedom of Information Act petition to get the recipe released, but Lutz said that for his part, the petition was all in good fun.

“I wrote the petition because I thought it would be great to be able to drink the same beer that the President of the United States brews at the White House,” he explains. “I am a museum person. Being able to connect with American history in a tangible way is immensely interesting to me.”

In less than two weeks from the time Lutz posted his petition, White House staff acquiesced and published the recipes for the White House’s honey ale and honey porter online, along with a response.

“With public excitement about White House beer fermenting such a buzz, we decided we better hop right to it,” wrote Sam Kass, an assistant chef in the White House.

Lutz, thrilled at the recipe’s release, quickly brewed a batch of the honey ale. He describes it as a simple, beginning-level home brew, and actually demonstrated the brewing process at a street fair in Washington, D.C.

“It was a ton of fun and was a great way to show people how easy homebrewing is,” he says. “My friends and I were quite celebratory when the beer got released. I was thrilled that homebrewing got the exposure it did on the national level.”

The recipes for the White House-brewed beer are available online at www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/09/01/ale-chief-white-house-beer-recipe.

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