Public Engagement

In addition to my research, I actively seek out opportunities to engage public audiences using my research and expertise. Beer has long seeped its way into conversations about capitalism, ethnicity, political, morality, and more–it therefore represents an invaluable public history opportunity. Whether via individual public talks, collaborations, or writing, I am always looking for new connections, new opportunities, and new audiences.

These are some of my contributions so far.


Exhibit: “Brewing Up Chicago: How Beer Transformed a City” (Field Museum, Chicago, IL)


Presented in four sections, this exhibit views Chicago’s staggering urban development between 1833 and 1893 through the lens of its brewing industry and, by extension, the German immigrant community that built it. More than a straightforward tale of urban development and industrialization, the evolution of Chicago’s breweries depended upon ethnic negotiation, urban reconciliation, and a reinterpretation of the city itself. Working with the Chicago Brewseum as a content specialist, I contributed to the vision, narrative, and design of the exhibit.

The exhibit debuted at the Field Museum in Chicago in November, 2018 and will run through early 2020.



Chicago Brewseum

I am actively involved with the Chicago Brewseum, a nonprofit cultural organization committed to exploring beer as a global phenomenon both historically and culturally. I serve on the National Advisory Board and contribute to the development of various initiatives and programming. These include public talks, events, collaborations with other cultural organizations and scholars, educational programming, and social media.


Media Articles

Sunday law 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.


Public Talks & Interviews

Podcast Interview. “A Beer History: Ethnicity, Brew, & Waltzes,” The DC Beer Show, May 8, 2019.

Radio InterviewBeer Me! on Full Service Radio, April 18, 2019.

“Beer, Bigots, and Brawls: When the Nord Seite Marched on City Hall,” Chicago Brewseum fundraiser at Crystal Lake Brewing Company, Crystal Lake, Illinois. Oct. 3, 2018.

“Sunday Freedom: Liquor Bans, Lager Beer, and German Immigrants,” Chicago Brewseum fundraiser at Thieme & Wagner Brewery, Lafayette, Indiana. Sept. 27, 2018.

“A Spice of Sin: German Immigrants, Lager Beer, and Chicago’s Sunday Liquor Ban of 1872,” Chicago Brewseum fundraiser at Metropolitan Brewing, Chicago, Illinois. Aug. 15, 2018

“Brewing in the 19th Century: How Immigrants made Lager Beer ‘King’ in America,” History on Tap Lafayette, Lafayette, Indiana. Nov. 8, 2017.

Bier-Pionere documentary Brian Alberts 6

Media Appearances

Documentary Interview, “Die Bier-Pioniere,” directed by Claus Räfle, Look! Filmproduktion, Süd-West Rundfunk, Germany. Air date: October 7, 2018.

Radio Interview, “How Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Taps America’s Contentious Immigration Past,” The Michael Smerconish Program, Sirius XM Radio, February 6, 2017.



History on Tap Lafayette


In November 2017, I created a public talks series designed to foster conversations about the past between the Greater Lafayette Community and Purdue University’s Department of History. Graduate students host monthly public talks at Thieme & Wagner Brewing Company in downtown Lafayette, Indiana. Topics focus on history but otherwise vary widely depending on the presenter.

Since graduating, I no longer organize History on Tap Lafayette. The series, however, continues to this day and has become an invaluable bridge between Purdue historians and the wider community.


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