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White House Home-Brewed Beer: A Look Back to 1934

Take a look back to 1934 for an account of a White House beer party just after the repeal of Prohibition. Find out the official White House beer recipe and more about the President's stance on alcohol.
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That’s a pretty good attention grabbing headline from the Washington Post. And I think this is appropriate, given the current media focus on the White House’s home brewed beer. There was even an official response by the White House regarding the current beer recipe as well as a Wikipedia page.

White House honey ale
White House honey ale

This one was published on September 30th, 1934 about claims of a slightly out of control party thrown at the White House.

An expression of surprised indignation was the White House reaction yesterday to a report, rejected by the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which criticized President and Mrs. Roosevelt for an alleged hilarious beer party in the Executive Mansion last winter.

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The White House party in question was given last January 30–the Saturday before New Year’s–for the President’s children and their friends, including a number of newspapermen. The United Press, quoting one of those present, said:

“It was entirely sedate and formal. There were two kegs of 3.2 beer, the unsightly portions covered with napkins. About 500 guests were present and there wasn’t more than one glass of beer for each. The only other beverage was punch and it was not spiked. Nobody could get drunk on that. Nobody was tipsy.

I’m not sure how January 30 is before New Year’s. The paper probably mistyped it. Nevertheless, this is important because Prohibition was not officially repealed in Washington until March 1st, 1934, when the first legal drinks were consumed in D.C.

legalize beer cartoon by Pat Enright
legalize beer cartoon by Pat Enright

The article continues …

Deets Pickett, research secretary of the National Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition and Public Morals, commented:

“I think that President Roosevelt believes there is no particular harm in beer and a great deal in whisky, and that the proper policy would be to let the beer traffic run and keep whisky down to an absolute minimum … Sooner or later I think we will be justified in going to him and asking action, and I believe he will strike a blow at the liquor traffic.”

So, FDR was a beer man? I kind of see him as a wine person. Obama is apparently a beer man. Check out the video below.

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