Connected \\ August 1, 2018
On a special evening this month, you can cool off with a cold one at PEM. If you are wondering what museums and breweries could possibly have in common, the answer is, more than you might think. At both places, creativity is part of the process. Special ingredients are carefully curated and teams collaborate to craft the perfect experience.
According to the Brewers Association, the number of breweries in Massachusetts alone has almost tripled over the last seven years. Meanwhile, the North Shore has become a hub for distilleries, breweries and, yes, even a few wineries – which are tapping success, pouring with passion and drinking in the love. (Even coffee places like Dunkin Donuts are getting in on the action!)
© 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
It should come as no surprise then, that we are all hopped-up about collaborating with four local breweries — Bent Water Brewing Company, Cape Ann Brewing Co., Far From the Tree Hard Cider and Notch Brewing — to brew craft beers and a hard cider inspired by the PEM collection.
Staff from each of these breweries took a tour of the museum with Curatorial Scholar George Schwartz (the brains behind this event) as well as with Doneeca Thurston, one of our intrepid Creative Engagement Producers, for a little creative inspiration. The tour featured highlights and histories from our Maritime, American and Asian Export art collections and even a jaunt through Japanomania! Japanese Art Goes Global.
At PEM, we are actively engaged in displaying artistic creativity and telling stories through objects,” notes George. “As an avid beer aficionado who enjoys connecting beer with art, history and culture, I thought it would be cool to see how a brewer would interpret the PEM experience through their craft. [The breweries] get what we are doing at the museum, so touring them around the galleries, they started to turn local and global tales into flavor profiles and draw inspiration from our collection.
© 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
You can reap the benefits on Thursday, August 16 when we turn the museum into a beer garden and host a tasting of the PEM-inspired cider and beers. The event, called “Brewing PEM,” will feature pours from each of the four breweries, as well as some live music and light bites. It is a perfect chance to be inspired by local brews, chat with fellow beer-enthusiasts and learn a little bit about our collection.
We are living in a real beer renaissance in America, especially on a local level, and have some amazing brewers right in our backyard,” says George. “It will be exciting to see what they create and then share their brews and the objects and stories that they were fascinated by with the public, allowing attendees to have a synesthetic experience with our museum.
So, which collection objects will be “brewed” (and fermented) exactly? Let’s dive right in!
Notch is brewing a hoppy pale ale, using a hop named “Ella” that has been locally sourced from Western Massachusetts. Infatuated by the front section of our American art galleries, which is currently titled “World of Women” and focuses on women's evolving roles into the 20th century, the Notch crew decided to take on a beer — which they are naming “Marguerite” after one of the paintings — that is a testament to straight-up lady power as well as the incredible history of women brewing beer. The added fact that a female brewer, Brienne, and a female maltster are behind the beer, just tops it off.
Left: Capturing an artistic spirit on canvas: John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Sarah Lawrence Brooks, 1890. Oil on canvas. © Peabody Essex Museum. Right: Brienne of Notch Brewing. © 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
Brienne is a member of the Pink Boots Society, the female “movers and shakers” in beer business. The society encourages female industry professionals to advance their careers through education. Brienne opened up the local chapter of the Pink Boots Society which is now one of — if not — the largest chapter in the world with 120 members.
Another great fact about models like that of the Friendship — courtesy of George — is that no period construction drawings of such vessels exist. Thus, this model was one of the main resources for naval architects working for the National Park Service when constructing the replica of the Friendship that sits in Salem harbor.
Cape Ann Brewing will be tapping a white beer with an assortment of spices and orange peel. With the ocean right outside their door, it is no wonder the maritime vibes are abundant in this one. Based on the objects and stories in our galleries that speak to Salem's booming 19th century trade, this beer captures the essence of vast imports that once passed through the bustling Salem Harbor.
Trading across the globe with America, Fame, John, Prudent and Belisarius: George Ropes, Crowninshield’s Wharf, 1806. Oil on canvas. Gift of Nathaniel Silsbee. © Peabody Essex Museum.
“I love all of the stuff white beers incorporate,” notes head brewer Dylan. “Traditionally, whites are brewed using wheat and coriander, and brewers usually add another ingredient that they keep to themselves.” Dylan’s favorite addition when brewing his white beers is grains of paradise, and for the PEM batch he has added a dose of cardamom. “It felt natural with this beer to infuse things into the beer that would have been brought over on one of these ships,” he says.
Bent Water found inspiration from the model, painting and stunning interior reproduction of Cleopatra’s Barge in our Putnam Gallery. An opulent yacht, with distinct herringbone patterning along its hull, Cleopatra’s Barge was the epitome of luxury and leisure. On a grand tour of the Mediterranean, crowds gathered to see a boat fitted with the finest ornamentation, American furniture and decorative arts. Though, the mission of this particular voyage was to visit sites associated with Napoleon Bonaparte.
Brewing PEM is Thursday, August 16 from 6-9pm!
(Members $25, Non-members $30). Ticket includes four pours (one from each brewery), light bites and live music. Please note that this event is for ages 21+ and takes place outside on the Axelrod Walkway, located to the left of the museum entrance.