Brewing Up Chicago

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Temporarily closed

Beer & history buffs


Temporarily closed

Beer & history buffs

About the Exhibit

Toast to Chicago’s rich history of making beer—and making change.

In Chicago, beer is more than just a beverage—its history is part of what gives our city its unique flavor and identity. Brewing Up Chicago: How Beer Transformed a City is The Chicago Brewseum’s first exhibition, hosted here at the Field.

Step into 1830s Chicago and trace the flow of people and beer over time. When a growing German immigrant community introduced lager to the city in the 1850s, cultural clashes also emerged. Impacted by events like the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, brewing practices continued to evolve and shape the city, its people, and its beer.

Through historical objects, photographs, and personal stories, discover how beer transformed Chicago from a frontier outpost to a thriving metropolis. 

The exhibition is presented in both English and Spanish. La exhibición está presentada en inglés y español.

The Wein & Lager Bier Halle, once located at 513 South Halsted in Chicago, served wine and beer to the local German immigrant community in the late 1800s.

Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, ICHi-064121

Chemist John Ewald Siebel came to Chicago from Germany in 1866 and pioneered lager brewing methods that are still in use today. He also started a brewing academy, now the Siebel Institute of Technology.

Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, ICHi-01737