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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Gardening to Distraction: Here’s to home-brewed honey ale

  • Remember when the White House put in the first bee hives on the south lawn a couple of years back? One of the products they now make with their honey is "honey ale," a form of home-brewed beer.
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  • So this honeybee, sweat bee and ant walk into a bar….I'm terrible at telling jokes but this latest political brew-ha-ha reminds me of that line.
    Remember when the White House put in the first bee hives on the south lawn a couple of years back?
    One of the products they now make with their honey is "honey ale," a form of home-brewed beer.
    For the last two years, every time I talk to groups about my bees, at least one person comes up afterwards and asks me for the recipe to the White House honey ale.
    Turns out the recipe is still under wraps, and that has the home brewing community up in arms.
    In an attempt to get the recipe, a group a few weeks back filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding the White House release the recipe.
    When that didn't work, they started a signature petition. According to the White House press secretary, if the administration gets 25,000 signatures on an online petition by September 18, 2012, they will release the recipe.
    As of the end of August, they still needed 13,000 signatures.
    Now I'm not a beer drinker but several years ago, I decided to put together a family recipe book with favorite recipes from various family branches. I actually had to sneak a peek at their cookbooks in the middle of the night during visits to get their favorite recipes, so I understand how precious a recipe can be.
    One of the home-brewing groups is now contending that if the White House was a "real home brewer," it would have already released the recipe.
    President Obama recently has been traveling around the country sharing a few bottles with favorite supporters. My theory is they have big plans for this beer. Maybe they're going to sell it and use the proceeds to balance the budget? Or they're stalling to make some marvelous beer-related announcement at the Democratic National Convention, don't you think?
    Making beer at the White House has a long colorful history so I snuck a peek at my copy of the original 1887 White House Cookbook. There's a recipe for "hops beer" using sugar, which I assume could be replaced with honey but it's not the same as getting the actual bona fide White House recipe.
    If you want to cast your vote, sign in here to add your voice to the petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/release-recipe-honey-ale-home-brewed-white-house/XkpkYwc0. The deadline is September 18.
    In the meantime, I'll be harvesting my last honey of the season. It's going to be a lean year with the ongoing drought but here's a toast to your health, and to getting the honey ale recipe!
    Charlotte Ekker Wiggins shares her beekeeping adventures at http://www.homesweetbees.com. Copyright 2012 used with permission by The Rolla Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at 4charlottewiggins@gmail.com.
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