Beer and My Favorite Museum

Wow. It’s been almost a year since my first beer event at the Field Museum. I didn’t realize. I’ve gone to write about about it a few times and always found myself at a loss. This is not the fault of the beer, which was tasty, or the museum, that put on an awesome event. This was about me being at my favorite museum, the reasons why it’s my favorite museum, my old life, and my new life. So, I set it aside for awhile. Someday, I may even write it.

Going for another beer event last November was much more interesting, because it was all very centered on my “new” life. I was invited by Matt Tanka of Lakeshore Beverage (then River North Beer) to the “media preview” of the museum’s new bistro-style restaurant. This was right up the alley of my “new” life, because 1) they were debuting a new beer made exclusively for them, 2) I love food, and 3) the food was intended to be all locally sourced and sustainably raised/harvested/caught.

The beer, Off Color’s Tooth and Claw, was delicious. Which kind of surprised me, because I was not generally one for pilsners, and it had a bit more hop-bite than I wanted. However, isn’t that the best way to be surprised? When you expect to be put off and it’s great? The food was tasty and everyone was willing to answer any question I had about its origins. I didn’t manage to ask as many questions as I wanted, nor was I “with it” enough to write down all the answers I got. But I left basically satisfied and secure that if I, or (much more importantly) anyone else had a question, someone at the museum would make sure it got answered and answered honestly.

There was also a fantastic lecture by the Field’s curator of Anthropology, Dr. Jim Phillips. Frankly, as tasty as the food was, and as delicious as the beer turned out to be, the lecture was the crowning achievement of the evening. Dr. Phillips is both fun and funny, and is clearly comfortable lecturing to a crowd of non-scientists. He crammed a lot of information into about 15 minutes, and had out beer-related antiquities that are rarely seen by the general public. He was also delightfully happy to chat with anyone there.

I thought that experience would be the end of such chances. I mean, really, how often do you get to drink beer, eat tasty food, and see rare pieces of beer history in a natural history museum?

Turns out the answer is once a quarter, if you can attend the Field Museum’s “Hop To It” events. I found out about the first one, which occurred 3 April 2014, just a bit before it happened, and was lucky enough to be invited by a friend who had a media pass to attend. Her write-up, for Chicagoist, is here if you’d like to read a bit more about what it was like. For me, I’ll say it was very similar to the “media preview” party.

Now, here’s the question I bet you are all asking. I got into two of these three events for free (the second and third); I bought my ticket for the first, but it’s the least like the other two. So, would I PAY for these events?

Yes. Not only would I buy my own tickets (at $42.99, as I’m a Field Member), but I have already done so. Yesterday, I snapped up my ticket. So I’ll be attending Thursday’s Hop To It. If you end up going, please find me and say hello! At this point, it’s my understanding that each lecture will build, at least a bit, on the last. Ergo, I plan to attend each one. Also, there will be beer.

Specifically, the museum will be launching their second collaboration brew, this time with Two Brothers Brewing. At the lecture event, the $43 – $48 ticket gets you two pints of this brew. It’s going to be a White IPA with coriander and orange peel. And, for those who work late or who want their beer without a side of history, there’s a tasting event after. A $20 – $22 ticket will get you some bites of food and four drink tickets. I do not expect to be attending this second event (immediately following the first), though my plans could change.

I hope to see one or more of you at the Field Museum on Thursday! I may even take the day and wander around the museum beforehand.

PS: All these photos are from the very first event I attended (that I haven’t written up yet), because I can’t get at the photos I took of the other two events right now. Computer issues. I’ll update this post later.

PPS: I hope this doesn’t sound sales-y, like the Field Museum put me up to it. They didn’t. At all. I just love, love, love the museum and I love science and I love beer.