Farmers are finding a new field: Artisan beer

They hadn’t planned on hiring Ben Little, an award-winning brewer and veteran of Flying Dog, to help them create Sour Mojito, a sour blond ale brewed with key limes and dried wintergreen that became the highest-rated beer at the 2015 Maryland Craft Beer Festival.


And they certainly didn’t think they’d be sending their beers to bars in D.C. and Baltimore, which they’ll be doing as of July 6.

“I’d never made beer before,” Randy says, standing in their new brewery. “I’ve consumed a hell of a lot of it.”

The spur for the Marriners to move from farming to brewing — in line with a growing national trend — was a 2012 state law that created the farm brewery manufacturer’s license. Also known as a Class 8 license, it allows its holders to, among other things, brew up to 15,000 barrels of beer a year, as long as that beer is made with Maryland agricultural products, such as hops or barley.

Randy didn’t know anything about the farm brewery bill at the time: He was busy championing a law that would allow his craft-beer bar with 24 taps to sell refillable growlers of beer for customers to take home. The real impetus came when Mary read a magazine article about Colorado’s acclaimed Oskar Blues brewery and its 50-acre farm, which brews beer, raises animals and grows vegetables to supply a pair of restaurants. “She kept hitting me in the arm and saying, ‘This is us! This is us!’ “

That’s when Manor Hill Brewing was born, with the slogan “Family-owned, farm-brewed.”

Anyone who has been to a trendy restaurant in the past five years has certainly been made aware of the virtues of “farm-to-table”: the idea that diners can and should know which farm their carrots or kale came from, or whether their free-range organic chicken had friends. It’s a valuable, if sometimes mockable, ideal. But as that label becomes passe, a growing number of brewers are trumpeting “farm-to-glass” beers, creating IPAs and sour ales with products grown in neighboring fields.

The Marriners’ story is one that’s becoming more common throughout the Free State, according to Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Brewers Association of Maryland. “It’s on the increase,” he says, adding that his office is fielding more calls about “taking a family farm and finding new ways to make use of it,” such as turning it into a farm brewery or farm distillery. “The state has a keen interest in using its alcohol laws as a means to preserve family farms. You’re not just helping a new industry; you’re preserving lands and creating jobs in the rural economy.”

A few small breweries sprang up in the wake of the 2012 legislation, including Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm in Mount Airy and Ruhlman Brewing in Carroll County. But interest truly heated up last year, when the statehouse modified the Class 8 license to allow farm brewers to become wholesalers and sell their products directly to bars and restaurants rather than go through a distributor.

Beneficiaries of the new rules include Red Shedman Farm Brewery & Hop Yard, which opened at the Linganore Winecellars in Frederick County in November and now distributes to restaurants and liquor stores in seven counties, and Manor Hill Brewing, which poured its first beers at Victoria in March. Atticks knows of “at least four more in the planning stages,” including the Brookeville Beer Farm, the first farm brewery in Montgomery County, which aims to be brewing in September.

Virginia passed a similar law in 2014, easing the path for farm breweries to open on land zoned for agricultural purposes, because the act of brewing beer is considered manufacturing. Old 690 Brewing in Purcellville was one of the first breweries to take advantage of the new rules, with 300 hop plants in the ground before its opening last August. There are more in the works; the most prominent was to be Farmworks Brewery in Lucketts, run by Flying Dog, but the brewery canceled those plans last month.

Nationally, the number of farm breweries is “certainly growing, mostly buoyed by the increasing number of states offering farm brewery licenses,” says Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, a nationwide craft-beer trade group. (The group does not yet break out farm breweries from other craft breweries and so does not have definitive statistics on their growth.)

An early adopter in the farm brewing category was Oregon’s Rogue Ales, which bought its first farm in 2008 and now owns two. At first, President Brett Joyce says, they bought farms to supply their own hops and avoid price fluctuations that were rife in the industry. “We loved it so much that, 12 months into it, we thought, ‘Why can’t we do barley? Why can’t we grow grain?’ Then we started planting other crops,” such as pumpkins, he says. Those crops allowed brewers to experiment with new products, such as pumpkin beer, and “we wouldn’t have done that before we had the farm,” Joyce says.

Usually eight or nine beers are brewed each year, using only products from the farm and sold under the Rogue Farms label. More important, the Rogue farms now supply about 15 percent of the barley and 40 to 45 percent of the hops for all beers in the Rogue Ales line. “It’s enough that we’re serious about it,” Joyce says, adding that “if there’s a disaster, we can still get the hops we need.”

That is an important point: While some people see “farm brewery” and assume that it means all the ingredients come from the same farm, that’s not the case with most Maryland breweries. “The difficulty of building that [one-farm] business model is weather, diseases and pests, which doesn’t always sync up with the reality of the craft beer market, especially when you get into the supply side with restaurants,” explains Atticks of the Brewer’s Association of Maryland. “We’ve had two very rough winters. The crops suffer.” Compounding the problem is a lack of malt houses, which prepare the grain for brewing. There’s only one in the state at the moment, in Frederick County, though more are planned.

At Manor Hill, the Marriners put in 2,800 Chinook, Cascade, Centennial and Nugget hop plants and will use those and vegetables and herbs from the Victoria Gastro Pub garden. (Brewer Ben Little is looking forward to making a sour beer with blackberries aged in a rye barrel with Brettanomyces yeast.) They’re negotiating with Maryland farmers to supply other ingredients, in order to keep their beers as local as possible. The water comes from a hand-dug 65-foot-deep well on the property. Randy Marriner says that Alda Hopkins Clark, the mother of longtime state Sen. James A. Clark Jr., who lived on a neighboring farm, claimed that the well’s water “makes the best iced tea in Howard County.”

For now, anyone looking to try the flagship Manor Hill IPA — well made, with a burst of tropical fruit in the nose and balanced by resiny pine notes in the finish — will have to head to the Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, where four of the two dozen taps will be dedicated to Manor Hill beers. Marriner does not plan to open a public tasting room or offer tours of Manor Hill Brewing, for reasons of access: The farm is at the end of a long, narrow road, and to have visitors frequently driving down “would destroy the character” of the rural area, he says. “And I live here. . . . We figure our restaurants will be our tasting rooms,” referring to Victoria Gastro Pub and Food Plenty, which is set to open in Clarksville in 2016.

That’s the biggest thing that sets Manor Hill apart from other farm breweries. Old 690 offers tours, food trucks, live music and weekly trivia nights. Ruhlman has a disc golf course adjacent to the tasting room. Rogue president Joyce boasts that “we’ve created a beer version of a winery: Come to our farm, see our hops, smell them, taste them.” Marriner says that he’s not opposed to the burgeoning field of what’s known as agri-tourism, but that it’s just not a good fit for Manor Hill. He does concede there that might be “very specific, controlled kinds of events” at the farm.

Manor Hill is on target to produce about 2,000 barrels of beer this year, which is an average amount for a new brewery. Next year, Marriner says, he plans to expand the number of fermenters and bring in a mobile canning unit to produce six-packs of the brewery’s flagships.

“It’s good for the local economy, it’s good for the environment,” Marriner says. “This is a family-owned, true-to-ourselves operation. We can do what we want to do.”

Manor Hill Brewing (not open to the public), 杭州桑拿,manorhillbrewing杭州桑拿会所,.

Victoria Gastro Pub, 8201 Snowden River Pkwy., Columbia. Maryland, (410) 750-1880. victoriagastropub杭州桑拿会所,.

Release of encyclical reveals pope’s deep dive into climate science

In the 192-page paper released Thursday, Francis lays out the argument for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change — a position bringing him immediately into conflict with skeptics, whom he chides for their “denial.


The social-minded pope takes on corporate greed, fossil fuels and the West’s disposable culture, calling out those who use eco-friendly labels for branding and selling while ignoring the plight of the world’s poor. And yet, he said, everyone should do their part. He urged taking public transit, carpooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, recycling — and boycotting certain products. Most of all, he called for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful.

“It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment,” he writes.

A highly accurate draft, which leaked Monday in the Italian press, had already begun dividing politicians and theologians. As the Vatican rolled out the official version at a packed press conference to big-screen scenes of Francis planting a tree, the debate over the proper role of a pope — one that was already popping up on the presidential campaign trail in the United States — immediately intensified. But environmental activists widely cheered the rise of an unlikely ally in the fight against climate change, one whose voice could resonate not only in major global conferences but also in prayer groups and church pews.

What effect the document — known as an encyclical — will have isn’t clear. Polls show that Francis, leader of the world’s largest faith community, is one of the most trusted, popular and retweeted people on the planet. Yet the encyclical comes at a time when institutional religion’s influence is waning in many parts of the world. The last encyclical that most Catholics and non-Catholics could probably name was Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the ban on artificial contraception in the 1960s.

Nevertheless, green activists held out hope that the pope’s message would touch religious skeptics of climate change. In the document, a reforming pope who has set a new tone for the church on issues including homosexuality laid out a green view of faith that embraced the moral imperatives of everything from animal rights to solar panels.

And he backed up his science with Bible verse, largely rejecting the notion that man had “dominion” over the Earth.

“He is giving us a moral legitimacy to continue campaigning,” said a jubilant Giuseppe Onufrio, executive director of Greenpeace in Italy who was set to join a June 28 march in St. Peter’s Square in support of the pope’s environmental stance. “Climate change is now an issue of social justice.”

In the document, Francis linked global warming to the overarching theme of his papacy — fighting inequality and global poverty. “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” Francis wrote, blaming a toxic cocktail of overconsumption, consumerism, dependence on fossil fuels and the errant indifference of the powerful and wealthy. He described a hell on Earth should nothing be done, one filled with more methane and carbon dioxide, acidification of oceans and the crippling of the global food supply.

For a document timed ahead of several major conferences aimed at forging a broad new global treaty on climate change, Francis also sought to wield his influence to shape a fair deal for the developing world. He called for a binding international treaty that would have rich countries help poorer ones adapt, including a move to help them switch from fossil fuels to clean energies such as solar power.

Climate change “represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day,” the pope wrote. “Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.”

His declarations resonated worldwide.

President Barack Obama issued a statement Thursday echoing the encyclical’s themes of taking bold actions to reduce environmental degradation and protect the poor, and praised the pontiff for making his case with “the full moral authority of his position.”

“This clarion call should guide the world towards a strong and durable universal climate agreement,” said a statement from Christiana Figueres, head of the Bonn, Germany-based U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.

U.N.-backed talks seeking a global pact to combat climate change are scheduled to open in Paris on Nov. 30.

In France, President François Hollande said he hoped the “voice of Pope Francis is heard on every continent, not only by believers.”

The document was partly drafted with the input of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a decades-old body that includes leading academics and scientists from various faiths, including atheists and agnostics such as Stephen Hawking.

The pope’s stark warnings sparked derision and dismissal from conservative skeptics. Jeb Bush, a longtime Catholic convert, quipped Tuesday during a stop in New Hampshire that “I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope.”

Asked about the criticism, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson quipped that politicians “are not experts either.”

“That the pope should not deal with science sounds a little bit strange,” he said. Repeating a journalist’s question, he said, “The Republicans say they won’t listen to the pope. That’s their freedom, their freedom of choice.” But, he suggested, by ruling out the pope’s words on climate change, they were effectively buying into attempts in recent years to sideline the voice of religion and aiding those who say that “religion has, or faith has, no role in public accounts.”

Even so, Pope Francis, who has a secondary-school technical degree in chemistry and once worked as a chemist, made an unprecedented papal dive into policy detail — for example, assessing carbon credits as unlikely to reduce “the overall emission of polluting gases.” In fact, the encyclical reads in many places almost like a scientific document, speaking of the “bioaccumulation” of chemicals in the bodies of organisms and concerns about methane seeping into the atmosphere from the Arctic tundra. It is sort of a combination between Saint Augustine and a National Academy of Sciences report.

The passages on climate change, which will draw some of the most attention, go far beyond an affirmation of the consensus view of science that it is caused by humans. It is clear that the pope and his advisers have dug deeply into the issue and discourse confidently about problems such as ocean acidification and polar melt.

Although climate has been the central focus in the document, it is truly about the environment more broadly — “our common home,” as the text puts it in multiple passages — and also lays out problems related to water security, air quality, species loss and deforestation.

The pope criticizes pressure from the West to impose “reproductive health” polices on the developing world, but he also acknowledges that “unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and sustainable use of the environment. “

When considering sustainable development, he writes, “we need also to think of containing growth by setting some reasonable limits and even retracing our steps before it is too late.”

In the big picture, “Laudato Si,” or “Be Praised” (or “Praised Be”), was a poetic effort, theologians said, to emphasize a reading of the Bible that sees humans as the Earth’s relatives or partners — not its dominators. Francis chose the name for the encyclical from a famous 13th-century prayer that refers to “Sister Moon” and “Brother Sun,” and for inspiration, he looked no further than his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, a celebrated figure in the church known for his affinity to nature.

The widespread belief that God gave humans power over the Earth “is not a correct interpretation of the Bible,” said the National Catholic Reporter in one of the more extensive English translations of the draft.

David Cloutier, a theologian at Mount St. Mary’s, a Catholic university, said the pope was placing potential environmental disaster into a moral context, along with consumerism, lack of action and a disregard for what traditional Catholicism would see as basic gender and family norms.

“Pope Francis is helping people understand that environmental commitment is part of being Catholic,” Cloutier said. “Oftentimes we just seem to be arguing about whether this is a problem at all. I’m hopeful the strong language will push people toward, ‘This is a problem, now what are the best solutions to the problem?’ “

He calls for global regulatory norms to prevent unacceptable actions — such as when powerful companies dump contaminated waste or offshore polluting industries in other countries.

But he also acknowledges the difficulty of achieving broad consensus, writing that “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.”

– – – –

Washington Post staff writer Sarah Pulliam Bailey and correspondents Stefano Pitrelli and Pietro Lombardi contributed to this report.

Why colleges should admit more ex-felons

So Nixon applied for college.


She started with an application for State University of New York College at Old Westbury, a state school on Long Island. She answered all the standard questions: name, previous education, desired major. Then, she came to a question asking whether she had a criminal background. There were two boxes — yes and no. She checked yes.

The school didn’t reject Nixon immediately. First, they asked her for an array of supplementary materials — an official rap sheet, a letter explaining her crime and what she’d done since, and additional letters of recommendation. Nixon provided them, but ultimately Old Westbury denied her admission.

Many former prisoners have felt this chilling effect of “the box,” which has spurred a national campaign to ban questions about criminal history on applications. But the “Ban the Box” campaign has focused its effort on job applications. The idea has gained support in 17 states and more than 100 municipalities that have passed laws making it more difficult for employers to discriminate against people with convictions. In February, Georgia made it unlawful for state agencies to ask about criminal backgrounds on job applications. Virginia adopted a similar law in April. And the New York City Council approved “ban the box” legislation this month, prohibiting both public and private employers from asking job applicants about their criminal histories.

Because people with jobs are less likely to commit crimes, these laws reduce recidivism and keep communities safer. But even in areas that ban the box on job applications, education remains a barrier to gainful employment for many people with criminal backgrounds. There are no prohibitions on asking about criminal history on college applications.

Research on the effect of “the box” on college admissions decisions, while limited, suggests that it’s a major hurdle for applicants with criminal histories. In 2010, the Center for Community Alternatives surveyed 3,248 colleges about how they use applicants’ criminal histories in admissions. Of the 273 responding colleges, 55 percent said they do ask about criminal history on their initial applications and use the information in the admissions process. The Common Application, accepted at more than 500 schools nationwide, has a criminal-history question.

Alan Rosenthal, a criminal defense attorney and an author of the 2010 study, notes that “the box” presents a two-fold problem for college applicants with criminal histories. First, it typically triggers secondary application requirements that result in a high application attrition rate. Former inmates are often asked to obtain official documents and to complete additional paperwork that can be onerous and sometimes outright impossible to get. The additional requirements can include getting recommendations from a corrections official and an employer, obtaining an official list of charges filed, and a conversation with the applicant’s parole officer. Rosenthal said that one school required that the applicant have a full rap sheet sent directly from the state to the school, but that state wouldn’t send rap sheets to third parties, making it impossible to fulfill that request. With all the additional steps, and no guarantee of admissions at the end, many just give up.

At SUNY colleges, which screen for criminal history as a policy, the result has been a 62.5 percent median application attrition rate for those with a felony conviction, according to the Center for Community Alternatives. That’s three times higher than the overall application attrition rate. At some schools, the attrition rate is as high as 91.4 percent, creating a de facto ban on students with criminal records.

For felony applicants who do complete the process, some schools still offer them an extremely low chance of acceptance. The most egregious example is the Fashion Institute of Technology, which has an 82 percent felony application attrition rate as well as a 77.8 percent felony rejection rate, compared to a 55 percent rejection rate overall.

To me, these aren’t just numbers; it’s personal. In 2014, I graduated from college — with a felony. I was incredibly lucky. I’d been arrested for a drug crime in 2010 while attending Cornell University. I served my time, was released, and eventually was readmitted to Cornell, a process which I detailed in a piece earlier this year. Just days after completing my last class, I was hired as a reporter at The Ithaca Times. I know that having an education has helped me stay employed, and having a job that I love has helped me build a meaningful life, the sort that I don’t want to ruin by returning to a life of drugs and crime.

At the same time, I’ve watched women I did time with struggle to rebuild their lives, in part because of “the box.”

I met Stacy Burnett in 2011 at Albion Correctional Facility. She was smart, funny, and suffered from bipolar disorder. She says that it was during a manic episode that she bounced the thousands of dollars of checks that later turned into grand larceny charges. She served five years and was released in 2013.

After getting out, she applied to Ulster County Community College, a SUNY school. The school required she submit additional materials in order to be admitted. “The stuff that they asked for was crazy,” she said. They wanted a personal statement explaining the circumstances of the conviction and how her personal perspective would contribute to her success, permission to talk to her parole officer, and a full rap sheet. She’d already had a copy of her criminal history from the Department of Criminal Justice Services, but because it was partially redacted, “that wasn’t good enough and they wanted a certified rap sheet from New York State and I didn’t have that.” The certified document would have cost her $60, and with very little to her name, Burnett simply didn’t have the money.

Moving on, she tried Dutchess County Community College, also a SUNY school, but the results were not much different there. In the end, she gave up and found an online university.

While some argue that investigating applicants’ criminal histories makes campuses safer, there’s no evidence that’s true. A 2007 study found no significant difference in the campus crime rate at schools that did background checks versus schools that didn’t. Similarly, a 2013 study showed that background checks did not accurately predict students likely to commit crimes on campus. In fact, one of the worst campus tragedies in recent history — the Virginia Tech shooting — was committed by a man with no criminal record.

Not only that, screening for criminal history also exacerbates existing racial divides. About 60 percent of inmates are people of color and the overall incarceration rate for blacks is nearly six times higher than for whites. That means that, disproportionately, it is minority communities that bear the brunt of these policies.

Fortunately, there’s a glimmer of hope for progress. In New York state, there’s proposed legislation that could make the box a thing of the past for would-be college students. The Fair Access to Education Act would make it illegal for colleges to ask about or consider criminal background in admissions decisions. Instead, they’d have to ask that question post-admission, and only for consideration in terms of housing and support services.

The legislation is also known as Vivian’s Law — for Vivian Nixon.

Despite her initial rejection from Old Westbury, Nixon found another school and went on to graduate. Today, she works as the executive director of College and Community Fellowship, an organization dedicated to helping women with criminal histories pursue higher education. She’s held prestigious fellowships with the Open Society Foundation and the Petra Foundation and currently she’s a Columbia University Community Scholar. She’s been awarded a John Jay Medal for Justice and is an ordained deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

She told me that having a job and reason to live eliminated her need to self-medicate with illicit drugs. “Part of staying healthy, for me, and staying sober is being happy and staying fulfilled and doing something that I’m proud of in life,” she said. “I think that if I’d ended up being a hospital clerk for the rest of my life the depression would have led me back into addiction.”

As a society, it is imperative that we make it easier for former inmates to attend college. In part, it’s a matter of social justice. It’s also a matter of public safety. Numerous studies have shown that education reduces recidivism. So if we want to lower the crime rate, we need to make education accessible to former inmates. Banning the box on college applications not only gives people a chance to rehabilitate their lives, it also makes our communities safer.

– – –

Blakinger is a prison reform activist and felon living in upstate New York.

Friends of Beau Biden urging vice president to make 2016 bid

Many of them were classmates at the University of Pennsylvania or Syracuse University’s law school, where Beau Biden met several dozen rising stars.


Some from Penn in particular vividly recall meeting then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., both at the Ivy League school and when he hosted his son’s friends at their home just 25 miles from the Philadelphia campus.

“We all want to give back to somebody like that,” said Jonathan Blue, a fraternity brother of Beau Biden’s who runs a private equity firm in Louisville. Blue estimated that 20 alums from Penn have remained part of the political network that would be ready to work for the vice president should he enter the race.

The new energy comes as Biden is giving his most serious consideration to another presidential campaign. He has met with leading party figures, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and President Baracj Obama’s former White House counsel, and has been sounding out a contingent of mega-donors to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns who have been hesitant to sign on with the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Beau Biden’s death in May from brain cancer at age 46 has haunted the Biden family and is playing a central role in the vice president’s consideration of a late entry into the 2016 sweepstakes. Beau Biden had been a key booster of the idea that his father should run again for the top White House job.

But Biden remains deeply conflicted, telling Democrats in a conference call Wednesday that he is trying to determine whether he has the “emotional fuel” to jump into the race.

“If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up,” he said in the call, which was recorded by CNN.

Some longtime confidants of Biden also remain wary of a presidential bid, but there’s more energy among Democrats who are worried about Clinton’s sagging poll numbers amid questions about investigations of her e-mail practices while serving as Obama’s secretary of state.

Beau Biden’s allies are some of the most supportive of a third presidential bid by his father. Their point of contact is Joshua Alcorn, who was a top political adviser to Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general. After wrapping up his financial affairs this summer, Alcorn moved over to the Draft Biden 2016 super PAC.

The super PAC expects to reach $2.5 million to $3 million in donations in the coming month as new fundraisers and donors come aboard, said national finance chairman Jon Cooper. If Biden runs, the group would morph into a super PAC supporting his candidacy, much like the Priorities USA Action super PAC is backing Clinton.

Alcorn — a native of Wilmington, Del., who graduated in 1999 from Archmere Academy with the vice president’s daughter Ashley — has known the family for years and worked as a field operative in Waterloo, Iowa, for Biden’s failed 2008 presidential bid. But his deepest connection comes through working for Beau Biden.

Earlier this week, Alcorn issued a two-page memo outlining the case for why the vice president could win the Democratic nomination. Without citing Clinton, he highlighted Biden’s garrulous personal style, a stark contrast with the former secretary of state’s stiffer demeanor.

“Everyone knows Joe Biden’s straightforward style and authentic approach to politics,” Alcorn wrote. “But combine those likeable qualities with a heavyweight résumé — decades in the United States Senate and six and a half years executive experience in the White House — and the case for Joe Biden is clear as day.”

These new Biden backers would come along with traditional supporters, such as trial lawyers who have long donated to the campaigns of the former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. The most critical donors probably would be former Obama fundraisers who are itching to find an alternative to Clinton.

Even as these supporters promote another Biden campaign, however, some longtime friends continue to express reservations about the ability to defeat Clinton in a primary and also what such a loss could do to the grieving vice president.

Mark Gitenstein, a former ambassador to Romania who served as Biden’s counsel during Supreme Court confirmation battles in the 1980s, wrote a $1,000 check to the Biden super PAC in early May, soon after he learned that Beau Biden’s cancer had returned. In an interview, Gitenstein said that he wanted to express his support and devotion to the Biden family, but that he’s not sure the vice president should run.

“It doesn’t mean that because there’s a strong draft movement, he should accept the draft,” Gitenstein said in an interview. “That doesn’t mean he should put himself through this. He’s been through hell.”

Some Democrats, while fond of Biden, “don’t want him to do something that would be very difficult and painful,” said a former Senate colleague who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the issue freely. This ex-senator said that despite Clinton’s early stumbles, she holds a commanding position among Democratic voters and that her family’s political instincts to play tough could leave the vice president defeated and embarrassed.

Many Democrats think that if Clinton’s e-mail scandal grows so serious that she must leave the race, Biden would be the natural backup candidate. Some Biden advisers say, however, that the only way to win is to get into the arena and fight, because the Clintons have spent 25 years in national politics weathering scandals that seemed far worse than questions about an e-mail server.

The new generation of Biden supporters sides with the camp that’s ready for a candidacy, Blue said.

Another Penn classmate is Guymon Casady, a Hollywood producer who helped create the HBO show “Game of Thrones.” Federal records show that Casady gave just two donations to congressional or national party committees, but he is ready to help raise money for the vice president, friends said.

In 2013, before his cancer was diagnosed, Beau Biden began raising money for what was expected to be his 2016 bid for Delaware governor. Restricted to just $1,200 donations, he and Alcorn brought in about $1.2 million in just six months — a large number by Delaware standards and one that made him the unquestioned front-runner.

Some Biden supporters said that Beau Biden’s rising-star status had made the vice president’s thinking easier. One option was to bow out of elective politics and serve as his party’s elder statesman, basking in the glow of his son’s career.

Many believed that Beau Biden was destined for a presidential campaign of his own. “That’s what we all thought would happen,” Blue said.

Now, with his elder son gone, the vice president must choose between a grieving family — he spent last week tending to his grandchildren before they start school later this month — or a final chance at claiming the Oval Office.

Alcorn asked voters to “keep an open mind” for a presidential bid. “Our country, the Democratic Party, and yes, the Vice President deserves nothing less,’ he wrote in Sunday’s memo. “The more you consider it, the more sense it makes.”

Matea Gold contributed to this report.

3 recipes

4 to 6 servings (makes 30 to 32 ounces)

These silky, wide ribbons of pasta are at once rustic and refined.


At Centrolina in D.C., they are featured in a dish called Ceci e Tria, featuring fresh and cooked chickpeas.

You’ll need a pasta rolling machine. See the NOTE, below, for cooking directions.

“00” flour is a soft Italian durum wheat flour, available at some grocery stores as well as Italian specialty markets.

MAKE AHEAD: The pasta dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour (before rolling). The cut, uncooked pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day, but it is best when cooked and served within a few hours.

From Amy Brandwein.


2 cups buckwheat flour

2 cups 00 pasta flour (see headnote)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/4 cups water

Semolina flour, for storing


Sift the buckwheat and 00 flours and the salt into a mound on a clean work surface. Use your hands to make a well at the center.

Combine the eggs and oil in the well; use a fork to lightly beat them, gradually incorporating flour from around the edges of the well. Gradually add the water; keep whisking with the fork to incorporate more flour. Once the mixture becomes too stiff to work with a fork, knead with both hands to form a dough that is no longer sticky.

Form into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Divide the rested dough into 4 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (and keeping the rest under plastic wrap), flatten it just enough to fit through the widest setting of the pasta rolling machine. Feed the dough through three or four times, folding and turning the pasta until it is smooth and uniformly wide. (You might wish to cut the sheet of dough in half for easier handling once it becomes long.)

Decrease the setting by one notch; feed one end of the pasta through. Repeat, decreasing the setting by one notch each time until you get to the penultimate notch. (The last setting is too thin.)

Sprinkle semolina flour evenly over the rimmed baking sheet.

Transfer the thin pasta to the baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.

Working with one sheet at a time (keeping the rest under cover), cut each one into 1-by-5-inch strips. Transfer to the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets. (Scraps can be gathered and rerolled once; the resulting pasta may be slightly tougher.)

The pasta is ready to cook, or it can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 day.

NOTE: Bring a pot of generously salted water to a full boil over high heat. Shake off any semolina that may be sticking to the pasta; drop the pasta into the water. Once the water returns to a boil, cook for 1 minute. The pasta will float to the top. Drain and use right away.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 6): 350 calories, 12 g protein, 64 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

Pasta With Chickpeas (Ceci e Tria)

4 servings

This rustic yet refined dish is popular at Centrolina Osteria and Market in CityCenterDC. Anchovies and crushed red pepper flakes give it a subtle kick.

If you have the time, cook your own chickpeas, starting with dried/peeled ones. They’ll yield the tenderest, least bitter result.

At this time of year, fresh, green chickpeas are available at some Asian supermarkets, as well as at some Whole Foods Markets. Dried, peeled chickpeas are available at Mediterranean markets and via gourmet purveyors online.

MAKE AHEAD: Dried, peeled chickpeas need to be soaked overnight before they are cooked; they can be cooked and refrigerated a day or two in advance. The fresh chickpeas can be cooked and refrigerated a day or two in advance.

From Amy Brandwein, chef-owner of Centrolina Osteria and Market in CityCenterDC.


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

8 oil-packed anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup cooked or canned, no-salt-added chickpeas (rinsed and drained if using canned; see headnote and NOTES)

1/2 cup fresh green (shelled) chickpeas, cooked (see headnote and NOTES)

Kosher salt

(see accompanying recipe)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) freshly grated pecorino-Romano cheese, for garnish


Combine the oil, garlic and anchovies in a large saute pan. Cook over medium heat for about 30 seconds; once the garlic becomes golden, stir in the parsley, crushed red pepper flakes and both kinds of chickpeas, gently mashing about half of the chickpeas, if desired. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for a few minutes, stirring once or twice, until the chickpeas are warmed through and the anchovies have dissipated.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta (shaking off any excess semolina flour, as needed); once the water returns to a boil, cook for about 1 minute, then drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Immediately transfer the pasta to the saute pan, along with the butter and the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss to combine; taste, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a warmed serving bowl; sprinkle the cheese over the top. Serve right away.

NOTES: To cook peeled, soaked chickpeas, place them in a big pot; cover with at least 5 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 90 minutes, until they are tender yet have a slight resistance when you bite into them. Drain and cool before using.

To cook fresh chickpeas, boil them in a pot of salted water for 3 minutes; drain and immediately transfer to an ice-water bath to cool and preserve their bright-green color. Drain before using.

Nutrition | Per serving: 580 calories, 20 g protein, 86 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 8 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

Roasted Asparagus With Pickled Radishes and Yogurt Sauce (Bassano)

4 servings

Centrolina chef-owner Amy Brandwein was so charmed by her visit to the annual asparagus festival in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, that she created this piquant dish.

You’ll need a clean 1-quart jar.

MAKE AHEAD: The radishes need to marinate for at least 24 hours and can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The yogurt sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

From Amy Brandwein.


For the pickled radishes

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water

2 pounds watermelon radishes, cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

4 shallots, cut into small dice

1 bay leaf

For the sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup Greek-style yogurt, preferably full fat

1/2 cup creme fraiche

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the asparagus

2 bunches thick asparagus

3 tablespoons olive oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


For the radishes: Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and cold water.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the radish slices; cook for 15 seconds, then use a Chinese skimmer or slotted spoon to immediately transfer them to the ice-water bath to cool. Drain, then transfer to the jar.

Combine the tablespoon of salt, the vinegar, water, sugar, shallots and bay leaf in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat; pour over the radish slices in the jar. Let cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate for at least 24 hours (and up to 2 weeks).

For the sauce: Whisk together the garlic, yogurt, creme fraiche, mint, basil, parsley and lemon zest and juice in an airtight container until well blended. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 2 days).

For the asparagus: Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 425 degrees. Have two rimmed baking sheets at hand.

Trim off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus. Rinse the spears in cool water and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets. Drizzle them with the oil, turning so they are evenly coated, then toss with the citrus zests and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast (on the upper and lower racks) for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring the asparagus every 5 minutes and rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through; the vegetables should be lightly browned and tender when they’re done.

To serve, transfer the asparagus to a platter. Top with some of the pickled watermelon radishes, then the sauce.

Nutrition | Per serving (asparagus and sauce only): 280 calories, 8 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 25 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar