Clipped From Chicago Tribune
Exhibit drafts Chicago's place in beer history By Bruce Ingram Pioneer Press What did Benjamin Franklin, Kaiser Wilhelm, Plato and Thomas Jefferson Jefferson have in common? Well, an appreciation of beer, for one thing. The first thing patrons who enter the Elmhurst Historical Museum exhibit "Beer Chicago: The Refreshing Refreshing History" will see is a 6-foot-tall 6-foot-tall 6-foot-tall 6-foot-tall 6-foot-tall beer bottle photo op featuring quotes by famous beer lovers on the label. Franklin's "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," for example. And Plato's "He is a wise man who invented beer." And Jefferson's "Beer, if drunk in moderation, moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes promotes health." From the Kaiser: "Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world." None of those guys ever quaffed a cold one in Chicago, Chicago, so far as we know, but there's been no shortage of other beer enthusiasts in the area according to "Beer Chicago." The third exhibit in a row designed by Curator Curator of Exhibits Lance Tawz-er Tawz-er Tawz-er to travel to other Chi-cagoland Chi-cagoland Chi-cagoland museums (following (following "Sweet Home Chicago" about the city's candy industry industry and "Sox vs. Cubs: the Chicago Civil Wars"), "Beer Chicago" goes all the way back to 1833 and the decision to officially declare Chicago a town a vote held in a tavern. Tawzer said it was the current popularity of craft beers that made him start wondering about Chicago's place in beer history. And he was fortunate enough to have Liz Garibay, a former employee of the Chicago History Museum who now runs History on Tap tavern tours, as a consultant. "I was a little surprised to find out how big beer was in Chicago," Tawzer ELMHURST HISTORICAL MUSEUM Anti-Prohibition Anti-Prohibition Anti-Prohibition marchers make their message clear in Chicago. The city's beer history is the focus of the Elmhurst Elmhurst Historical Society's new exhibit. 'Beer Chicago: The Refreshing History' When: Sept. 18 to Feb. 14 Where: Elmhurst Historical Museum, 120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst. Cost: Admission is free. said. "Chicago had hundreds hundreds of breweries after the mid-1800s, mid-1800s, mid-1800s, but the Chicago Fire knocked the brewery industry down hard. And then Prohibition hit and that didn't help. Only a handful made it through." Flash forward to 1988 and the establishment of Chicago's Goose Island Beer (close on the heels of Boston's Samuel Adams), Tawzer said, and Chicago began to get back into the beer business in a big way. One section of "Beer Chicago" is devoted to the Elmhurst beer connection. "Elmhurst is a German town and like any other German town, it's had a large number of taverns," Tawzer explained. "And Baderbrau brewed here in the '80s and '90s." The majority of the exhibit, exhibit, though, is comprised of installations outlining the history of 10 pre- pre- and post-Prohibition post-Prohibition post-Prohibition Chicago breweries such as Mei-sterbrau, Mei-sterbrau, Mei-sterbrau, Diversey & Lill, Conrad Seipp Brewing Company, Monarch Brew ing and the Atlas Brewing Company. Additional features features include an animated film explaining how beer is made, an explanation of how Prohibition affected the brewing industry in Chicago, and Tawzer's pride and joy, a replica of a pre-Prohibition pre-Prohibition pre-Prohibition bar complete complete with a motion-sensor-activated motion-sensor-activated motion-sensor-activated motion-sensor-activated motion-sensor-activated mechanical bartender, bartender, who relates Chicago's Chicago's saloon history when patrons pull on his beer taps. The exhibit also includes information on the current craft-brewing craft-brewing craft-brewing phenomenon, phenomenon, which has resulted in more than 150 craft breweries, breweries, microbreweries and taprooms in Chicago. "We're almost back where we started," Tawzer said. "Now Chicago has one of the fastest growing craft-beer craft-beer craft-beer markets in the country." country." To kick off the exhibit, the Elmhurst Heritage Foundation is hosting a Craft Beer Fest fundraiser from 1-5 1-5 1-5 p.m. Sept. 19 on the grounds of the historical museum, 120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst. The event, which will include snacks and live music, will feature more than 50 craft beers from 29 breweries, including Two Brothers, Lagunitas, Church Street, Argus, Lake-front Lake-front Lake-front and Goose Island. Tickets cost $45. Visit www.elmhurstcrafitbeer fest.com.