The Neville Public Museum

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Exciting Things Are Brewing At the Neville Public Museum

Friday, October 10, 2014
The art of fermentation, specifically beer making, has been pursued by human cultures around the world for millennia.  That knowledge and tradition was brought to Wisconsin by immigrant Northern Europeans in the early 1800s.  Beer brewed in Green Bay began flowing in the early 1850s and it has continued to flow for at least 160 years.  It is precisely this history and diverse tradition of beer-making that inspired me to take up the hobby of home brewing while in graduate school at UW-Milwaukee. That hobby quickly turned into a profession when I joined the museum staff at Discovery World and applied my anthropological studies in the pursuit of teaching the public about how to make ancient and traditional fermented beverages.  That series called Ale through the Ages quickly spawned other brewing series, as well as historical brewery tours, publications, etc.   

Since joining the staff at Neville Public Museum in October 2013, I’m proud to say that the museum is fully embracing its own local beer culture.  It’s hard not to, when two craft breweries (Hinterland and Titletown) are located across the street from the museum, and coincidently, the very first brewery in Green Bay (Blesch’s Bay Brewery) was also once located across the street.  As fate would have it, one of the first exhibits I was fortunate to curate was Agriculture to Tavern Culture: The Art History and Science of Beer. The outgrowth of this exhibit were well attended free lectures about beer history, and now we’re about to launch a new slate of brewing workshops called the Neville Cellar Series.  These classes would not have been possible were it not for the generous financial support of the museum’s Foundation, who allowed me to purchase of a 15 gallon top-of-the-line home brewing setup. This equipment has great versatility and can be used to make a variety of beverages (fermented or not) in the months and years to come.

September 10th 2014 marked the first day beer was made at the Neville.  The inaugural batch was a Bavarian Dunkelweizen (lightly hopped dark wheat ale).  It was a good chance to test the equipment and work out some of the kinks.  It was also a good excuse to invite WLUK Fox11 reporter Bill Miston to film and assist in making the inaugural museum brew.  Here is a link to that segment.  

The first of the Neville Cellar Series workshops began on Thursday October 2nd when we made the official version of the Bavarian Dunkelweizen, while learning about the deep tradition of brewing in southern Germany. Two weeks following the brewing session, the class will bottle their resulting beverage and take it home.  Future classes will focus on the ethnic heritage of NE Wisconsin and the fermented beverages that are traditional to those cultures, namely Belgian Farmhouse Ales, Scandinavian Porters, etc. So, stop down and check out the exhibit before it ends (Oct. 26th 2014), and/or, join us in making beer (or soda) during the Neville Cellar Series . Together we can imbibe the rich tradition of brewing in Green Bay, Wisconsin and beyond. 


Kevin Cullen

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