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Brooks on Beer: All the presidents’ beer

MercuryNews.com

Jay R. Brooks

For the Bay Area News Group

 Click photo to enlarge
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) toasts… ( Jason Reed / Reuters)

Early in Barack Obama’s term as president, he presided over a decidedly unusual meeting — a “Beer Summit” in which people sat down over beers to discuss disagreements and search for solutions. The way the media covered it, you might have thought it was the first time beer had been served in the White House.

Obama most certainly is one of the craft beer-friendliest presidents in recent memory. His White House chefs have even brewed their own beer, including a White House Honey Ale made with honey from the White House hives.

But beer has a long and venerable history with our political leaders. So as Presidents Day approaches, here are just a few presidential parables and potboilers about some of our Beer Drinkers in Chief.

The Founding Fathers

Our first president, George Washington, was a beer lover. His favorite style was porter, and he even had a favorite porter maker, Philadelphia brewer Robert Hare. Washington’s aide Tobias Lear wrote to Hare at one point with a special favor, asking, “Will you be so good as to desire Mr. Hare to have if he continues to make the best Porter in Philadelphia 3 gross of his best put up for Mount Vernon? As the President means to visit that place in the recess of Congress and it is probable there will be a large demand for Porter at that time.”

In 1737, Washington also made a diary entry explaining in detail how to make small beer, prompting some historians to believe he was a homebrewer, as well.

Washington also seems to have presaged modern locavore notions when he wrote the following to the Marquis de Lafayette in 1789: “We have already been too long subject to British Prejudices. I use no porter or cheese in my family, but that which is made in America.”

Thomas Jefferson also took to homebrewing on his estate, Monticello, after he retired from political life. Before that, his wife, Martha, brewed 15-gallon batches every two weeks on their Virginia estate. But in his 70s, Jefferson hired English brewer Joseph Miller, and the pair built a dedicated brewing room and beer cellar at Monticello, where Jefferson malted his own grain. He bottled most of his beer and sealed the bottles with corks.

During his time in office, James Madison tried to get a National Brewery started that would have been government-run. He proposed a new cabinet post — Secretary of Beer — to promote a domestic beer industry and enacted the Tariff Act of 1789, which he hoped would give the advantage to American brewers and encourage “the manufacture of beer in every State in the Union.”

The Civil War

When the Civil War began, the North needed money to fight the Southern states. At that time, there was no income tax, so for the first time people had to start paying taxes to fund the war. When that proved insufficient, Congress began levying excise taxes on a number of goods, including beer, distilled spirits, cotton, tobacco, carriages (the automobiles of the day), yachts, pool tables and even playing cards, to name a few. Abraham Lincoln signed the new taxes into law on July 1, 1862, and they took effect that September.

Lincoln is also responsible for one my favorite quotes by a politician: “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”

Prohibition

Even though the 18th Amendment made beer illegal in 1920, many wealthy Americans had stockpiled alcohol before Prohibition took effect — and that included several presidents, too. Woodrow Wilson took his own private stash of alcohol with him when he left office, and the next president, Warren G. Harding, moved his private collection with him to the White House when he was inaugurated. While Harding and his political allies continued to drink in the White House — he was known for all-night poker games — Harding was responsible for laws making it tougher for the average citizen to have a beer.

As time wore on, Prohibition proved increasingly unpopular, especially in big cities. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for president in 1932, his campaign promises included a pledge to end Prohibition. When he signed the Cullen-Harrison Act in March of 1933, which amended the Volstead Act and allowed the brewing of beer that was 3.2 percent alcohol by weight or 4 percent by volume, he is reported to have said. “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

He got his wish the next day, when Anheuser-Busch sent a team of Clydesdales to deliver a case of Budweiser to the White House.

The modern era

After Prohibition, home winemaking became legal again but homebrewing remained illegal, supposedly because of an inadvertent omission. It took another 45 years to correct that typo — and it was due, in part, to our 39th president, Jimmy Carter. In late 1978, he signed H.R. 1337 into law, along with an amendment by California Sen. Alan Cranston authorizing adults to legally brew in the home.

Legalizing home brewing had a profound effect. Many homebrewers went on to become commercial brewers, starting hundreds, if not thousands, of craft breweries.

So take a moment this Presidents Day to toast your favorite president with an American beer. He’d join you, if he could.

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Charlotte Crosby pulls a series of animated facial expressions in Sydney She complained of a problem with her eyesight earlier in the week. And on Friday Charlotte Crosby was seen pulling a range of facial expressions as she made her way through the Sydney's CBD. The 26-year-old was dressed for comfort in a pair of skinny jeans and a white top, and at one point pulled her long tresses across her face as she made her way through the streets. Scroll down for video Funny girl! Charlotte Crosby has put on an animated display while out in Sydney on Friday pre bonded hairDespite the winter chill, Charlotte completed her casual summery look with black sandals and a grey fringed bag slung over her shoulder. She kept her brunette locks out and straightened with a pair of dark shades on top of her head. The former Geordie Shore starlet previously revealed she was suffering an eyesight problem, earlier in the week. Taking to Instagram on Thursday, Charlotte complained that her eyes were sore after falling asleep in her contact lenses and that she was forced to cancel a trip to the Sydney Opera House. Covering up: The 26-year-old was dressed for comfort in a pair of skinny jeans and a white top, and at one point pulled her long tresses across her face as she made her way through the streets

Ouch: The outing comes after Charlotte was forced to cancel a public appearance because she hurt one of her eyes However she later shared a selfie that showed off the windows to her soul adorned in sparkly gold makeup. The reality TV star told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday that her eye felt painful on a flight from Melbourne, earlier that day and she was worried she had scratched her cornea. remy hair extensionsShe was spotted arriving at Sydney Airport concealing her eyes behind sunglasses. Sore? At one during point during her stroll, the former Geordie Shore starlet looked to be trying to cover her eye Enjoying Australia: Since landing Down Under last weekend Charlotte has been busy enjoying the sights of Sydney and Melbourne She previously tweeted: 'I'm going to the OPERA! How sophisticated! And not just anywhere, (the) SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE'. But Charlotte confirmed she wouldn't be watching the performance of French opera Carmen because she could barely keep her lids open. The Ex On The Beach star also said she was disappointed because she'd picked out 'such a nice dress' for the occasion. Recovered? Taking to Instagram on Thursday, Charlotte complained that her eyes were sore after falling asleep wearing her contact lenses ‘I can’t put makeup on this eye because it’s hurting so much and that would irritate it,' Charlotte said. 'So then what am I meant to do when I’ve got to wear my lovely dress and there will be 5,000 people taking photos? I’m just going to feel awful all night. 'It’s also hurting so I don’t think I could sit and watch the opera for that long because I’m in pain and it’s hard to open my eyes.' ‘I can’t put makeup on this eye because it’s hurting so much and that would irritate it,' Charlotte said of her injured eye Change of plan? Charlotte previously tweeted: 'Tonight I'm going to the OPERA! How sophisticated! And not just anywhere, (the) SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE' Charlotte was also forced to close the curtain in her hotel room because the natural light was hurting it. She added: 'It’s a lot of problems and I don’t feel I can get over any of them in time. I’m really sad about it because I have such a nice dress for it. I hope it will be better in the morning.’ Meanwhile, Charlotte announced her departure from MTV's Geordie Shore earlier this month amid clashes with her ex-boyfriend Gary Beadle. Moving on: Charlotte announced her departure from MTV's Geordie Shore earlier this month amid clashes with her ex-boyfriend Gary 'Gaz' Beadle (right). Pictured during a night out in London last year

She impressed audiences with her gorgeous legs as she flirted with Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street. And Margot Robbie’s pins were on display as she strolled around New York City in a short black slip dress paired with a long pink Kimono, on Wednesday. The 26-year-old showed why she is tipped to be the next Bond girl, showing off her slender physique in the eye-catching number from Spell & The Gypsy Collective. Scroll down for video perruques cheveux naturelsStepping out: Margot Robbie’s trim pins were on display as she wafted around New York City in a short black slip dress paired with a long pink Kimono on Wednesday The oriental-inspired garment featured broderie anglaise in elaborate flower patterns on the sleeves, shoulders and back, and flowed behind her as she strolled around downtown NYC. Leaving a Tribeca hotel, the Australian actress smiled behind oversized round metallic sunglasses with her blonde locks tied back in a bun. The Hollywood starlet’s complexion was characteristically flawless all over, but years in the Northern Hemisphere appeared to have erased her Australian tan. All smiles: Leaving a Tribeca hotel, the Australian actress smiled behind oversized round metallic sunglasses with her blonde locks tied back in a bun High fashion: The 26-year-old showed why she is tipped to be the next Bond girl, showing off her slender physique in the eye-catching number from Spell & The Gypsy Collective Good taste: The oriental-inspired garment featured broderie anglaise in elaborate flower patterns on the sleeves, shoulders and back, and flowed behind her as she strolled around downtown NYC She enhanced her look with natural-look makeup and subtle pink lipstick and carried a small black leather handbag to run her errands.

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Not true: The 27-year-old former quarterback has denied that he cheated on his last girlfriend 'Everyone thought he was husband material,' a source said. 'Later, they told JoJo that they liked the other man too, but they thought the second would be more loyal and a better fit.' And speaking about the family's meeting with the runner-up, the insider revealed: 'After he left, Soraya said she thought he was a player.' It seems that JoJo did make the right decision however, as she is apparently still very happily engaged to the winner. She likes what she sees: JoJo has also fallen in love with former competitive swimmer Robby, 27 cosplay wigsDenying the rumours: Robby has refuted claims that he dumped his girlfriend to appear on the show Former quarterback Jordan, 27, has been a favourite to win the show from night one, when JoJo presented him with the First Impression Rose. Show secrets: Us Weekly revealed details of the dramatic finale And while on Monday's episode of the show he was seen telling the real estate developer that asking her father's permission to propose would be very important to him, a clip for the finale showed JoJo asking if he is ready to get down on one knee. Both of the finalists have faced rumours about past relationships, with Jordan's ex Brittany Farrar claiming that they broke up because she cheated on him. He denied this to JoJo on the show. The footballer is estranged from his famous NFL star brother Aaron, whose girlfriend Olivia Munn is close pals with Jordan's ex-girlfriend. Aaron finally addressed his younger brother speaking about their fraught relationship on the show during an interview with WISN on Tuesday. 'As far as those kinds of things go, I've always found that it's a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I'm not going to speak on those things,' he said. 'But I wish him well in the competition.' Meanwhile a friend of Robby's ex-girlfriend Hope Higginbotham has claimed that he dumped her in order to go on The Bachelorette, something which he denied during last week's hometown dates. The Bachelorette finale followed by the After The Final Rose special will air on ABC on Monday. She made the right choice: JoJo is apparently still happily engaged to the winner, who popped the question in May. The finale airs on ABC on Monday