Hoppy History

The world’s best beer museums whet a mighty thirst

beer_hereTraipsing through a museum will make any person thirsty. But when the place has its own taproom, there’s nothing like reaching the end of the exhibit for a full glass of history. Opening Saturday and running through September 2, 2012 in New York City, BEER HERE: Brewing New York’s History is a glorious ode to three centuries of Gotham’s foamy pedigree, with a very special final room. Wandering through the museum’s eight-part collection, the artifacts tell an amazing story. What beer did your parents and grandparents drink before the advent of craft beer? Read on for highlights of this thirst-provoking show, yet another reason to get to Gotham, plus two more great beer museums.

BEER HERE offers quite a taste of the Big Apple’s beery legacy. For example, there are ledgers of a brewer who sold beer to both the British and patriot soldiers. There’s the original patent for the “crown cork”, or metal bottle cap, along with an early manual capping machine, the Gutenberg Press of beer inventions, invented in Baltimore but used extensively to help make New York’s brewing industry the nation’s biggest in 1879, with 365 companies. And naturally there’s a trove of historic brewing ads for brands like Rheingold, which used to promote a massively popular five borough beauty contest. But the best exhibit by far is the taproom and tasting bar. From Tues-Thurs. and on Saturdays at 2 and at 4pm, brew masters and representatives from all eleven of New York’s new breweries (who have just formed their own guild this week, huzzah!) will be on hand to lead tastings of their latest beers. And don’t miss the gift shop’s related collection, which features t-shirts, books, and one of the coolest growlers we’ve ever seen.

And don’t miss

The Pike Brewing Company’s Museum Room boasts a massive collection of breweriana, artifacts related to brewing, from cool old bottles to trays, tap handles, and labels. Better yet, drinking fresh craft brews while perusing the objects is not only tolerated but encouraged.


Cantillon’s Le Musée Bruxellois de la Geuze, a short distance from downtown, is a living museum of beer, where visitors wander among atmospheric old barrels that are still in use for making Lambic and Geuze, the historic sour beers of Belgium.

Do you know of another great exhibit featuring beer? Tell us about it below!

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