Before the stunning new History Colorado Center opened back in April 2012, a boardmember and the then-director of History Colorado took us on a tour of the still-under-construction building at 1200 Broadway. Pointing to the composite floor, they pronounced that the bits of glass glittering there were shards of Coors bottles.
Although we’ve never been able to confirm that, we now know for a fact that beer and, yes, Coors beer, will soon have a starring role inside the structure: Beer Here! Brewing the New West will open at the center on May 18, coinciding with American Craft Beer Week. The exhibit, sponsored by Ball Corporation and Coors Brewing Company, spans beer drinking in this state from the Gold Rush through Prohibition to the current craft-beer boom, which has made Colorado the fifth-biggest craft-beer-consuming state per capita.
“Over a can of beer, we can take a peek into several important moments in Colorado’s past,” says Sam Bock, public historian for History Colorado and the curator of this show. “But more important, looking at the past through a pint can help us understand how this wonderful place called Colorado came to be.”
And if you want to understand that a little earlier, head to Aurora, where Drink Local: Aurora’s Craft Beer Scene opened at the much more modest Aurora History Museum back in November. The exhibition showcases the history of craft beer, the passion Coloradans hold for the brewing industry, how beer and other brews are produced, and the importance of drinking local.
Sound familiar? Two major beer exhibits in a year in metro Denver: conspiracy or coincidence?
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Coincidence, say the organizers. According to Abraham Morales, spokesman for the Aurora History Museum, the History Colorado exhibit development team visited Drink Local back in December, "and we provided a tour and answered questions they had regarding the production/development." But that was it for any collaboration or crossover.
In Colorado, though, there's always time for another round.
The Aurora exhibit will close six weeks before History Colorado opens Beer Here!, on April 7. The museum will host a last hurrah on April 6 with "Last Call: Drink Local at the Aurora History Museum," a craft-beer tasting event spotlighting ten local craft beverage makers: Bent Barley Brewing Co., Cheluna Brewing Co., Dragon Meadery, Dry Dock Brewing Co., Haykin Family Cider, Launch Pad Brewery, Peak to Peak Tap & Brew, Pilothouse Brewing Co., Two22 Brew and Ursula Brewery. Tickets for that event are $25 for general admission and $35 for VIP, and go on sale March 1 at AuroraGov.org.
The Aurora History Museum is located at 15051 East Alameda Parkway in Aurora, and admission is free. Find out more here.