Editor’s note: Since this story was first posted, the Global Village Museum has decided to close until March 28 due to concerns over COVID-19. See the museum’s website for updates.

A new exhibit about the history of beer brewing — both locally and internationally — opens Friday, March 6, at the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures in Fort Collins, thanks to graduate students at Colorado State University.

Brewing History: Fort Collins’ Global Connections opens with free admission from 6 to 9 p.m. during Fort Collins Art Walk. The new exhibit is a joint collaboration between the museum and master’s students in CSU’s Department of History.

Picture of can
A Walter’s Pilsener Beer can on loan from the collection of Al Dunton.

“The display connects the beer landscape of Fort Collins to the long international history of brewing,” said Madelyn Newman, one of nine grad students in a museum methods class taught by Assistant Professor Thomas Cauvin. “In addition to presenting the history of brewing, the exhibit will focus on relevant topics such as Prohibition, homebrewing, the rise of craft beer and water use.”

“The students did all the research, curation, marketing and partnerships with local breweries,” Cauvin said.

He added that the exhibit features brewing equipment on loan from CSU’s Fermentation Science and Technology Program and items used for brewing beer in Africa, as well as – on display for the first time – the notebooks and bike with which New Belgium Brewing co-founder Jeff Lebesch toured Europe in the 1980s before developing the signature Fat Tire Amber Ale and bicycle logo. Equipment provided by local home brew society The Liquid Poets will also be on display.

The exhibition, which runs through May 20 in the museum’s main gallery, will also address questions about brewing’s environmental impacts and breweries’ efforts to become more sustainable.

Thomas Cauvin

Assistant Professor Thomas Cauvin pauses next to the first barrel that Purpose Brewing and Cellars used. Behind him is the bike that New Belgium Brewing co-founder Jeff Lebesch rode while touring Europe in the 1980s. It became the inspiration for the name and logo of Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Support from local community

“This city is a brewing mecca, and we are looking at the roots of that – all the way from beer in ancient Egypt to Fort Collins today,” said grad student Kim Neptune. “And we’ve had a ton of support from the local brewing community.”

Students working on exhibit
History master’s student Kim Neptune catalogs some of the items that collector Al Dunton is loaning for the exhibit.

On display will be glasses from all 23 Fort Collins breweries, a cap bender from the 1920s on loan from Doug Odell of Odell Brewing Co., and a re-creation of the podium and cases of Coors used at the “Beer-In” protest in CSU’s Lory Student Center in 1968. Displays will feature women brewers, brewing ingredients, beer festivals, international influences and tourism.

“That’s really why I chose this program, because I knew I’d get this opportunity to set up a real exhibition,” said Natalie Stacker, a grad student working on the homebrewing display. “This is what I want to do for a living, being a curator or involved in museum development.”

In conjunction with the exhibit, Travis Rupp of Boulder-based Avery Brewing Company will present Re-Creating the Past: The Archaeology of Beer from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 28. Rupp, the innovation and wood cellar manager at Avery, will survey the beginnings of beer in the ancient Near East through its development and stylization throughout Europe. He will explore how beer production and consumption was at the core of ancient culture and imperial expansion. Rupp will also introduce the Ales of Antiquity Series at Avery Brewing. A different guest speaker will deliver a lecture at the museum each month, Cauvin said. Admission to the lectures is $5.

The Global Village Museum, with four galleries and a Museum Shop, is located at 200 W. Mountain Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit globalvillagemuseum.org or call (970) 221-4600.