Craft brewers and their amazing contributions to American history were on display, front and center, during the Smithsonian Food History Weekend in October. Hosted at the National Museum of American History, two specific events served to spotlight craft brewers as part of our food culture.
Smithsonian Food History Gala
This historic event featured the presentation of the Julia Child Award. Restaurateur Danny Meyer, the award recipient, received recognition and prestige akin to winning the Super Bowl, a Grammy, an Oscar, or a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival®. If you are into food, this is the award to nab.
During this elegant gala, attendees enjoyed three courses designed by Chef Carmen Quagliata of Union Square Café. Guests had their choice of wine or beer, and Brewers Association executive chef Adam Dulye selected and personally presented the beer pairings. Many food greats such as Alice Waters, the American chef, author, and activist, attended the event. The fact that the gala was not only an awards ceremony, but also a wine and beer pairing dinner held in the halls of the National Museum of American History, signaled major progress for beer and craft brewers.
“Brewing in Motion: Histories of Beer and Migration in America” was an opportunity for four craft brewers to present to a sold-out crowd via a panel discussion led by brewing historian Theresa McCulla. An Bui of The Answer Brewpub, Uli Bennewitz of Weeping Radish, Oscar Wong of Highland Brewing, and Celeste Beatty of Harlem Brewing spoke on the panel and also had an opportunity to serve their beers.
McCulla was chosen to lead the American Brewing History Initiative, of which the Brewers Association is the lead sponsor. The three-year project, part of the Smithsonian Food History program, was created in 2016 to collect, document, and preserve the history of brewing, craft brewers, and the beer industry and explore how brewing connects to larger themes in American history.
Stay tuned for my column in the November/December The New Brewer for the latest update on the full American Brewing History Initiative project. Visit the Smithsonian website for updates on the project.