The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Nation, World

August 17, 2012

Obama plays up love of beer to ferment coalition of the swilling

(Continued)

DUBUQUE, Iowa —

According to Scarborough USA, 35 percent of these voters say they've had a beer in the past 30 days, compared with 30 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of Republicans. The numbers are even starker when focused on microbrews, with 45 percent of independents saying they drank one in the past month — and only 25 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans saying the same.

Obama likes microbrews, too — so much so that he bought a beer-making kit (with personal funds) for the White House. The kitchen staff has made three varieties so far: White House Honey Ale, White House Honey Blonde Ale and White House Honey Porter. All are made with honey from Michelle Obama's kitchen garden.

White House officials were quick to point out that to call the beer-making operation a "brewery" would be an exaggeration.

That hasn't stopped Obama from talking about the beer-making enterprise — or sharing it. At a campaign stop Tuesday at a coffee shop in Knoxville, Iowa, he explained the light and dark varieties the White House produces. And when a patron requested a bottle, the president sent a member of his staff out to the campaign bus to get one.

So he takes the beer on the road, too. It seems reasonable, in fact, to dub this swing the Iowa Beer Tour.

"It was pretty good being back here," Obama told a revved up crowd in Waterloo late Tuesday, at an outdoor rally along the twilit banks of the Cedar River. "Yesterday I went to the State Fair, and I had a pork chop and a beer. And it was good. Today I just had a beer. I didn't get the pork chop. But the beer was good, too."

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the White House home brew is "superb." But he did not divulge more about the brewery, such as who the brewmaster is or exactly when the brewery was set up.

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