I love using beer history to engage the present. Whether via individual public talks, collaborations, or writing, I’m always looking for new connections, new opportunities, and new audiences.
Read on to learn about some specific projects, but I’m always looking for new connections and opportunities, such as:
- Museum exhibits
- Historically-minded beers or collaborations
- Research and writing that incorporates history into an organization’s mission or brand
- Events and event series
- Podcast and other media appearances
- Public talks, presentations, discussions
- Short classes and other educational opportunities
Pandemic, Interrupted—A Besieged Beer Scene in 1918 Milwaukee
Part of Good Beer Hunting’s From Barons to Barrels series, I investigated how Milwaukee’s largest breweries responded to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Turns out that, for the most part, they didn’t. They had other things to worry about. Read along as I dive into a relentless world of creeping dry zones, government fiat, and the onset of Prohibition.
- The Nation’s Beer Historian is Taking Stock | The Reporter’s Notebook blog, North American Guild of Beer Writers, May 7, 2020.
- The First Chicago Handshake—How 19th Century Milwaukee Beer Barons Leaned into Chicago | Good Beer Hunting, February 6, 2020
- Sunday Laws aren’t About Christianity—They’re About Economics | Washington Post Made by History blog, March 25, 2018.
- Closed, Thanks for the Memories–An Argument for Historical Preservation | Good Beer Hunting, March 7, 2018.
- When It Comes to Beer, Politics is Always on Tap | Washington Post Made by History blog, November 22, 2017.
- How Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Taps America’s Contentious Immigration Past | The Atlantic, February 5, 2017.
Exhibit: Brewing Up Chicago
In 2018, the Chicago Brewseum invited me to help design a new exhibit for the Field Museum. Brewing Up Chicago: How Beer Transformed a City explores how breweries and the communities that build them shaped the Second City’s early years. From beer-laden schooners on the Great Lakes to riots in the streets, Chicago’s brewed culture helped build—and rebuild—a city from the ground up. The exhibit debuted in November 2018 and is expected to run through early 2021.
- Interview for the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive’s Beer Research Guide.
- “A Beer History: Ethnicity, Brew, & Waltzes” with The DC Beer Show, May 8, 2019.
- Interview for Beer Me! on Full Service Radio, April 18, 2019.
- “Die Bier-Pioniere” documentary, aired on Süd-West Rundfunk in Germany, Oct. 7, 2018.
- Radio Interview for The Michael Smerconish Program, Sirius XM Radio, Feb. 6, 2017.
From May 2018 to December 2019, I worked extensively with the Chicago Brewseum, a nonprofit cultural organization, to help craft a wide array of wonderful programming. In addition to the Brewing Up Chicago exhibit, I helped organize public talks, events, historical beer collaborations, educational programming, and social media content. Here is some of the amazing work we did.
Beer Culture Summit (October 24-27, 2019)
The first of its kind, this hybrid conference format put beer-focused scholars, museum professionals, and industry experts in conversation with one another and the public. The Beer Culture Summit pulled back the veil on the latest thinking about beer culture via panels, celebrations, tastings and dinners, as well as public events like walking tours. An inclusive and rewarding event, the Summit offers an innovative way to advance our understanding of beer history and culture.
I assisted Chicago Brewseum director Liz Garibay in developing the Summit concept and program, and contributed to a few panels.
Historical Collaboration Beers
The Chicago Brewseum periodically releases collaboration beers which pair breweries with cultural organizations to illuminate histories and stories which bring us together. I’m no brewer, but I’ve had the pleasure of contributing to some of these collabs as a researcher and writer.
- “Ella”—A harvest ale celebrating the historic women behind Wisconsin’s 19th century hop boom. Produced by the Chicago Brewseum, Dr. Jennifer Jordan at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Eris Brewery + Cidery, and 3 Sheeps Brewing. Debuted October 2019 at the Beer Culture Summit in Chicago.
- “All the World Is Here”—A reflection on the many faces and outcomes of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Produced by the Chicago Brewseum, the Field Museum, and Temperance Brewing Company. Debuted August 2019 in Chicago.
- “Cabin & Cottage”—A commemoration of the historical link between Illinois and Washington DC embodied by Abraham Lincoln. Produced by the Chicago Brewseum, President Lincoln’s Cottage, Lost Lagers, Powers Farm & Brewery, and Rolling Meadows Farm Brewery. Debuted April 2019 in Washington DC and July 2019 in Chicago.
Chicago Brewseum ‘On Tour’
In 2019, I helped the Brewseum break out of Chicago via two event series. We partnered with local museums, nonprofits, and breweries to explore how beer history could bring both locales together.
In September 2019, we flew to the Emerald City to join Pilchuck Glass School in unveiling Beer + Glass, a joint exhibition about the power of glassware. Pike Brewing even helped us brew a special beer for the occasion! We build a diverse program around the occasion, including presenting beer history at Windy City Pie restaurant, hop history at The Pine Box bar, and discussing beer’s impact on local communities at the Olympia Tumwater Foundation. And after a tour of Pilchuck’s beautiful campus grounds, we held a panel on diversity and inclusion within the beer industry at Métier Brewing Company, just outside Seattle.
In April 2019, we visited Washington DC to present at the Pop Culture Association annual conference. While there we partnered with President Lincoln’s Cottage, Powers Farm & Brewery, and Rolling Meadows Farm brewery to produce a special collaboration beer, joined Heurich House Museum for a discussion about brewing’s impact on urban development, and visited the National Museum of American History for a quick tour. While in town, we also made sure to stop by the DC Beer Show and Beer Me! radio for a chat.
More Chicago Brewseum Talks
In late 2018 I spoke at a few small breweries to raise funds for the Brewing Up Chicago exhibit. It was enormous fun to share some of Chicago and the Midwest’s most amazing beer histories with these folks!
- “Beer, Bigots, and Brawls: When the Nord Seite Marched on City Hall” at Crystal Lake Brewing Company (Crystal Lake, IL), October 3, 2018
- “Sunday Freedom: Liquor Bans, Lager Beer, and German Immigrants” at Thieme & Wagner Brewery (Lafayette, IN), September 27, 2018
- “A Spice of Sin: Chicago’s Sunday Liquor Ban of 1872” at Metropolitan Brewing (Chicago, IL), August 15, 2018.