Ever since President Obama began carrying around his own White House-brewed beer on the campaign trail, beer geeks have been eager to learn its secret recipe. With a reporter's determination, they've filed a Freedom of Information Act request and formal petitions for the sweet nectar's secret sauce. Unfortunately, a reporter's job is a harder than it looks, and the search for the truth isn't going so well.
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What we know about the beer, which has been featured as a campaign prop during the president's Iowa travels, is that it goes by the name White House Honey Ale. The brewski's honey comes from Michelle Obama's garden beehive on the south lawn and it's bottled in a small brewery in the White House. While this is the first time it's made its way on the campaign trail, the Honey Ale started surfacing at White House events in 2011 including the Obamas' Super Bowl party. But that's about all we know.
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So last week, a group of enterprising beer enthusiasts petitioned the White House via the administration's "We The People" site vowing to answer citizen questions that collect enough signatures. "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 home brew so that it may be enjoyed by all." Unfortunately, as Government Executive's Tom Shoop notes, their efforts may come to nought: "The petition had only 276 signatures, well short of the 25,000 needed to get an official response."
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However, America's thirstiest patriots tried another route. On Internet hivemind website Reddit this week, a user set off a joyful thread after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the White House for "all information including created recipes or instructions relating to the brewing of White House Honey Ale or other beer made by White House staff."
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"This is brilliant," said one user. "That's awesome, dude," said another.
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Unfortunately, they were thwarted again: The White House is not subject to FOIA requests—a point the know-it-alls at Pro Publica were happy to point out today:
For now, it looks like the recipe will remain a secret, barring some random act of kindness carried out by a government bureaucrat. Is it a lost cause? At least one Reddit user thinks not:
I'm a minor government functionary. You'd be amazed at the things we'll do for you if you make a bizarre request in a reasonable and slightly humorous way. If I'm amused, I'll go above and beyond, and you can't get it if you don't ask.
Good luck with that, folks.