Bend’s High Desert Museum exhibit: Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer

High Desert Museum Brewing Culture ExhibitChalk up another mark as to why Bend and Central Oregon’s beer culture is great: the High Desert Museum has a new exhibit opening this weekend—Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer, which will be open for 19 weeks through Memorial Day.

Oregonians love their stouts, ales and IPAs, and no Oregon town has more brewpubs per capita than Bend. So it’s only natural that Bend’s landmark museum would create a popular exhibit about the craft of beer-making.

Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer opens January 17th and will be on display through Memorial Day weekend. Special brewing events, tastings, and beer-themed programs will be presented at the Museum throughout the 19-week run, starting with a big kick-off party on January 16th at 6:30 p.m.

The exhibit, conceived and designed by the High Desert Museum staff, will present the history of brewing, the ingredients used in craft beers, the process of brewing and the culture of the craft brewing industry.

I’ve had a bit of a sneak peek of the exhibit—at least, on printed 3D renderings the curator shared—and from what I can tell they have done a great job covering many aspects of the industry and brewing culture, and while there is an historical aspect to the exhibit, there is a strong focus on the brewing culture we have today. (Disclosure: the curator of this exhibit, Faith Powell, had reached out to me for a little bit of possible ideas and advice in putting it all together.)

Part of the exhibit experience is also going to be monthly beer events, consisting of tastings and talks on various topics. Here’s that schedule:

BEER TASTINGS (4:00 – 8:00pm):

  • Feb 5 Porters & Stouts
  • Mar 5 Winter & Spring Seasonals
  • Apr 2 Sessions & Imperials
  • May 7 Sours & Belgians

Members, $3; Non-members, $5; Beer tasting package $10, includes souvenir glass and five tasting tickets.
Additional tastings $1 per ticket.



Feb 19 6:00 – 8:00pm

Learn about current issues and trends in brewing from experts.


Apr 25 1:00 – 6:00pm

Take the full post-production tour from brewery to farm to pub.

Meet at GoodLife Brewery at 9:00 am for the brewery tour. By 11:00 am we will follow the spent grain to Anchor Heart Ranch on Deschutes Market Road to explore how the beer by-product is recycled for livestock. We will then travel just a short distance to a hog ranch to see variations of livestock that use the brewery waste. The trip will end at GoodLife Brewery’s tasting room for a pint and appetizers, which are included with the program costs. One of the appetizers will be GoodLife’s BlueBalls, a meatball made from both beef and pork that consume the spent grain and yeast.

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

$35 for all participants, limited availability of 15 participants
Registration and pre-payment required.

High Desert Museum brewing exhibit opening

And of course there’s a big opening event this month—this Friday, in fact—to kick off the exhibit, a special opening reception at the Museum running from 6:30 to 8:30pm. It’s going to be a big event: 10 local breweries will be on hand pouring beer, and there will be a panel discussion with myself (which I’ll also be loosely moderating), Paul Arney of The Ale Apothecary, and Veronica Vega, brewer at Deschutes Brewery.

The Museum will have its exhibits open for the evening, and cost will be free to members and $5 for non-members; all ages are welcome, but to drink you’ll need to be 21 and over (of course) and purchase a beer tasting package for $10 which includes the souvenir glass and 5 tasting tickets. Additional tickets are $1 each. There will be food and live music as well.

I’m really looking forward to this event Friday and to the exhibit as a whole; I’m very glad to see the Museum putting together a feature like this, and would love to see more (an exhibit on Prohibition is another one I would very much like to see). And for the next few months, it’s an added beer destination if you’re coming to Bend for a visit—tour some breweries, do the Bend Ale Trail, and visit the Brewing Culture exhibit at the High Desert Museum.