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Chicago Could Get Its Very Own Beer Museum With An On-Site Bar

By Mae Rice in Food on May 16, 2016 6:52PM

The Lucas Museum may be on its way out of Chicago, but a new, more Chicago-specific museum is coming to fill the void: the Chicago Brewseum, a museum of beer. With a house bar, of course.

The project is still in the early stages—they just launched a GoFundMe—but the Brewseum has some of the biggest names in Chicago beer on its side. Board members include John Hall, founder of Goose Island Brewery, and Josh Deth, founder of Revolution Brewing.

Beer is a nationwide phenomenon, as you may have noticed, but it's especially fitting to put it in Chicago. Beer is just as important to Chicago's history as "railroads and stockyards and architecture," historian and leader of the Brewseum project Liz Garibay told Chicagoist. In 1833, when Chicago became a township, local leaders voted that township into existence at a local bar, the Sauganash Tavern.

"They were drinking while they were voting," Garibay said.

It's no wonder that the Brewseum website asserts that beer is "a driving force that built the city"—and if the museum comes to fruition, its interactive exhibits on beer history and culture will argue that in even more depth. Plans for the space also include a rooftop beer garden, according to Garibay, and that house bar and tasting room we already mentioned, which will emphasize local craft beers and beers brewed literally at the museum by guest brewers. (What has the Art Institute ever brewed?!)

Best case scenario, Garibay said, the museum will start out as an RV (devoted mostly to fundraising) next year, and work will begin on the brick-and-mortar building in 2019. Though the museum doesn't have a building yet, they hope to put the museum in a four-story historic building, which they will repurpose and get LEED certified.

The whole timeline is contingent on funding, but Chicago could certainly use something to fill the void left by our pop-up pizza museum, which is now but a beautiful memory.