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.



Chicago Brewseum

I work extensively with the Chicago Brewseum, a nonprofit cultural organization committed to exploring beer as a global phenomenon both historically and culturally. I served on the National Advisory Board, contributing to the development of multiple initiatives and programming. These include public talks, events, collaborations with other cultural organizations and scholars, educational programming, and social media.


Beer Culture Summit (Oct 24-27, 2019)

A new hybrid conference format for beer-focused scholars and professionals, the Beer Culture Summit is an excited new event series which puts beer-focused scholars, museum professionals, and industry experts in conversation with one another. Further, the Summit pulls back the veil on the latest initiatives, research, and thinking about beer culture and history by inviting the public to join the discussion. A series of panels, celebrations, tastings and dinners, as well as public events like walking tours, the Summit offers an innovative way to advance our understanding of beer culture in an inclusive, rewarding way. This is the brainchild of Chicago Brewseum founder Liz Garibay, but I was thrilled to contribute to the Summit’s content, development, and organization.


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.


Historic & Cultural Collaboration Beers

The Chicago Brewseum has not released several collaboration beers which pair breweries with cultural organizations to illuminate the history and stories that bring us together. I’m no brewer, but I’ve had the pleasure of contributing to some of these collaborations as a researcher and writer.

  • “Ella” — A celebration of the historic women behind Wisconsin’s 19th century hop boom. A harvest ale based on research being conducted by Dr. Jennifer Jordan at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A collaboration between the Chicago Brewseum, Eris Brewery + Cidery, and 3 Sheeps Brewing. Debuted October 2019 at the Beer Culture Summit in Chicago, IL.
  • “All the World Is Here” — A reflection on the many faces and outcomes of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A collaboration between 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. A collaboration between the Chicago Brewseum, President Lincoln’s Cottage, Lost Lagers, Powers Farm & Brewery, and Rolling Meadows Farm Brewery. Debutes April 2019 in Washington DC and July 2019 in Chicago, IL.


Public Talks & Events

“Culture de la Biére Day at Métier” (panel), Black Historical Society of Washington      State fundraiser at Métier Brewing Company, Woodinville, Washington. Sept. 8, 2019.

“Beside the Bine: The Humanity of Hop Cultivation,” Chicago Brewseum fundraiser at The Pine Box, Seattle, Washington. Hosted with Tiah Edmunson-Morton of the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive and sponsored by Bale Breaker Brewing Company. Sept. 7, 2019.

“It’s the People! How Brewing Helps (Re)Form Communities” (panel), fundraiser for the Olympia Tumwater Foundation and the Chicago Brewseum at the Schmidt House, Tumwater, Washington. Sept 6, 2019.

“Brew A Fair! Dinner + Discussion,” Chicago Brewseum fundraiser at Windy City Pie, Seattle, Washington. Hosted with Liz Garibay. Sept 4, 2019

“Brewing in the City: A Look at DC and Chicago 19th Century Brewing History” (panel), Heurich House Museum, Washington DC. 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

Bier-Pionere documentary Brian Alberts 6

Media Appearances

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.

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.


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.


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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