The Garden in Your Beer

Did you know that the ingredients critical to making beer come from the garden? Barley and hops, two of its primary components, can be grown in gardens all over the world. In addition, many ingredients used to flavor beer—everything from fruits like cherries and oranges to herbs and spices like coriander, ginger, and cumin—begin in a garden.

Since the beginnings of beer, brewers have used a variety of cultivated and foraged ingredients for added flavor and preservation. While sourcing unique elements from around the globe is now commonplace, many ingredients start with a good seed catalogue and can be found in a backyard garden or orchard.

Historian Theresa McCulla opens the evening with an introduction to the research and collecting work of the American Brewing History Initiative at the National Museum of American History. Then in a guided tasting with Doug Campbell, president of Brewery Ommegang, hear about the innovative brewing practices of American craft brewers who interpret centuries-old traditions with a contemporary twist. Take a look at the garden through the lens of the botanicals, spices, wild yeasts, fruits, berries, and hops that flavor your favorite beer. Enjoy light food pairings with the beer samples.

After the tasting, Smithsonian Libraries’ related exhibition, Cultivating America’s Gardens, is open after-hours exclusively to ticket holders.

Visit Smithsonian Associates for ticktets!