When Americans seek to unwind, many reach for a beer. Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the U.S. and has been for much of our nation’s history.
Native Americans were the first to ferment beverages in North America. Colonists and enslaved people brewed beer in their homes. In the mid-1800s, immigrant European entrepreneurs transformed brewing into a profitable profession. Prohibition and consolidation in the early to mid-1900s threatened the industry, yet adventurous homebrewers brought hints of change in the 1960s. Microbreweries, then “craft” breweries, followed. Today, the U.S. counts nearly 9,000 breweries employing hundreds of thousands of people and pouring more than $90 billion into the national economy.
Fortunately, this expansive history is one that we can taste, see, and smell, in the form of a glass of a beer. Join Theresa McCulla, curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, on a curated tour through American beer history. Her talk features artifacts from Smithsonian collections and a guided tasting of four beer styles that flow through American brewing history, from the 1700s to today. What better way to get a taste of American history than through its favorite brew?
A shopping list featuring suggested beer styles will be provided for participants in advance of the program.
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