Tuesday, July 12, 2016

History, with Hops

No beer aficionado called upon to list the best places to drink an IPA after work has ever listed "History Colorado Center." That, however, might be about to change.

In a sign of just how far craft beer has pervaded our culture, the Golden Triangle museum tonight is launching History Buffs & Brews, a series of Tuesday-night events over the next two months that encourage people to explore the state's past while sipping some of what makes it so cool now. Great Divide will provide the beverages — specifically, Titan IPA, Colette and the newly reconfigured Denver Pale Ale — and up its taste profile on Aug. 9, when it will offer up a trove of beers during a talk on the history of Colorado brewing.

Yes, craft beer is popping up in plenty of places where it didn't used to be, from chain restaurants to The People's Fair. But what makes this series stand out is the way that an institution so old and woven into the state's academia — the Colorado Historical Society was founded in 1879, just three years after the state itself came into being — is not turning to beer to connect with a new generation.

"We felt that our summer program was a little light, and we wanted to do something that was contributing to the vibe of the Golden Triangle area," said Brooke Gladstone, the communications expert for the historical society who helped to come up with the idea. "It's a pop culture right now."

The events will run from 4 to 7 p.m. each Tuesday through the end of August in the museum's Rendezvous Cafe. Admission is free, and the beers only cost $3. Yeah, you read that right.

Tonight and on Aug. 16, the events will feature historic trivia contests. But the lineup will change. There's the Aug. 9 talk given by deputy state historian Jason Hanson. There's a craft-distillery talk and tasting on Aug. 23. And on the last Tuesday of each month, there will be a "Collections after Dark" talk, where staffers explain the seamier side of state history.

As someone who just wrote a book combining historical travel with hikes and brewery visits, I personally can geek out to things like History Buffs & Brews more than the average person. But the fact that History Colorado is reaching out with a vessel like craft beer to bring people into its sphere shows it understands almost as much about the present and the future of this state as it knows about Colorado's past.

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