Brian Alberts, PhD

Headshot Brian AlbertsI am a historian who uses beer and brewing as lenses for American history. After receiving my PhD from Purdue University in May 2018 I joined the Chicago Brewseum, where I serve on the National Advisory Board until December 2019.

I am committed to exploring beer’s instructive, collaborative, and public history potential. These explorations have led to individual events, partnerships with breweries as well as historical & cultural organizations, historically-themed collaboration beer projects (seriously, how rewarding is it to get scholarship printed on a beer can?), an exhibit on Chicago brewing history at the Field Museum, Chicago Brewseum ‘tours’ of other U.S. cities, academic conferences, and most recently the development of the Beer Culture Summit, a hybrid conference concept blending public, brewing industry, museum, and academic communities.

I write media pieces, provide podcast, documentary, and radio interviews, teach courses, and further organize public talks.

My research interests are constantly expanding, but my core expertise focuses on nineteenth century brewing in the Midwest, American capitalism, German immigration, and ethnicity. My dissertation, “Beer to Stay: Brewed Culture, Ethnicity, and the Market Revolution,” examined how beer production and consumption helped German immigrants negotiate American citizenship in Cincinnati and Chicago between 1840 and 1880. In addition, I am currently researching parallels between the proliferation of lager beer during the 1800s and modern craft beer for an upcoming edited volume.

I can be contacted at