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Lecture and Craft Beer Tasting
Mar 23 Thu @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm$25 – $30
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Pittsfield’s commercial brewing history was over 60 years in
the making when, in 1886, Jacob Gimlich, one of the principals of the successful Pittsfield brewery firm Gimlich and White, declared people should “use beer for their refreshment and invigoration in a temperate, manly, proper way.”
Join the Berkshire County Historical Society as it explores this history as well as contemporary Berkshire brewing with a lecture by Cynthia Brown, historian and BCHS President, and tasting from Hot Plate Brewing Co., Shire Breu-Haus, Big Elm Brewing, and Berkshire Brewing Company at Berkshire Theatre Festival’s “The Garage” at 111 South Street. Tickets are $25 for BCHS members, $30 for non-members and can be purchased in advance here. You must be 21 years of age to participate in the tasting, but the lecture is open to all ages.
Brown’s talk, Beer for Their Refreshment: Brewing in Pittsfield from the 18th Century to Prohibition, will present original research and images that will illuminate this fascinating part of Pittsfield’s history and culture. Gimlich’s 1886 proud proclamation was evidenced by the success of the firm, which employed over 100 workers and manufactured tens of thousands of barrels a year at its peak. Later known as the Berkshire Brewing Association, this long-time Pittsfield business was the apogee of a series of commercial brewing concerns that supplied Pittsfield taverns, inns, families and individuals with their beer, starting before 1800 and lasting into the first years of Prohibition.
More recently, Pittsfield as well as Berkshire County have seen the rise and success of several new breweries, growing out of the microbrewery movement that took hold in the 1990s. Exploring the early history of local breweries provides a connection between older brewing traditions and practices and provides rich stories and some intriguing mysteries still to be explored.
Following the lecture, Berkshire-based breweries Hot Plate Brewing Co., Shire Breu-Haus, Big Elm Brewing, and Berkshire Brewing Company will be providing free tasting samples. Additional flights and full pours will also be available for purchase.
Image: Berkshire Brewing Association ca. 1905, from the collection of Berkshire County Historical Society