By Makenzie O'Keefe

DENVER (CBS4) – Beer has a way of connecting Coloradans through time, and you can see how at a new exhibit at the History Colorado Center. After years of research, the museum has launched the “Beer Here! Brewing the New West” exhibit.

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It aims to bring Colorado history to life through the story of beer in our state.

“It’s a really deep history that flows all the way until now,” explained Sam Bock, the exhibit developer and Public Historian.

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Bock says that currently, Colorado has 360 craft breweries open across the state.

Great Divide Brewery in Denver (credit: CBS)

“We realized that to explain why we have so many, we have to go all the way back in history to 1859 when the first brew was made here in Denver,” he said.

Avery Brewing Company (credit: CBS)

The exhibit is divided into five sections that span from the 1800s to present day. Those include:

– “Beer on the Mining Frontier” (When immigrants planted mining towns during the Gold Rush)
– “Brewing an Industry” (How Colorado became the industrial hub of the Rocky Mountain West)
– “Prohibition” (Why the state went dry for four years before the national Prohibition)
– “Coors Country” (Where Coors Brewing Company and Ball Corporation grew)
– “The Rise of the Craft” (When the connection was made between the rising outdoor recreation and brewing industries)

“You’ll see really cool beer bottles that were letter and filled by hand. You’ll see what people were using to make beer in Prohibition,” Bock said. “You’ll even see old Coors ads from the 1950s to 2005.”

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The exhibit highlights the economic impact this booming business has had in our state throughout the decades.

“We’re the state in which craft beer makes the biggest economic impact per capita to the state’s overall economy,” Bock explained. “It’s really, really big for us.”

“Beer Here!” opens on Saturday at the History Colorado Center and will run through August 2020.

(credit: CBS)

The museum cafe will feature a flight of four beers that present each time period. In addition, there will be various events tied into the exhibit including lectures, tours with historians, home brewing classes, etc. For details visit

Makenzie O'Keefe


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