The history of beer in Oregon and the passion Oregonians hold for brewing extends back over two hundred years. From the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the nineteenth century European immigrants who established Oregon’s first breweries to the craft brewery revolution centered here today, this delicious hoppy beverage has been a cornerstone of Oregon’s agriculture and economy.

Capital Brewery with ice wagon - OHS

Opening at the Oregon Historical Society on October 26, Barley, Barrels, Bottles, & Brews: 200 Years of Oregon Beer profiles the people, companies, and legislation that have made Oregon the innovative center of craft brewing that it is today.

“It’s no secret that Oregonians love beer – and, that love has been brewing in our state for centuries,” said Oregon Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. “Whether you are a home brew master or new to the world of beer and brewing, this exhibit provides incredible insights into the crucial role Oregon’s beer industry has played on our state’s history.”

Oregon Historical Society
Oregon Historical Society

The exhibition traces the history of hop growing Oregon and its impact across the globe, including the momentum that has propelled the state to a place as the second highest hop producer in the country. Some of the most innovative research into hop growing and beer brewing is happening right here at Oregon State University, and visitors will actually be able to smell some of the hops that were developed right here in Oregon.

Barley, Barrels, Bottles, and Brews includes over 100 artifacts, many on public view for the first time, from the Oregon Historical Society collections and from the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University. Exhibit highlights include:

  • Historic photos of some Oregon’s earlies breweries, dating back to the 1850s, and a Civil War-era photo of people drinking beer at one of the first saloons in Oregon;
  • A green glass carboy (used for fermenting) that came across the Oregon Trail;
  • A variety of artifacts from historic Oregon breweries including Henry Weinhard, U.S. Brewery, Gambrinus, Albany Brewing Company, and more;
  • A digital interactive where visitors can adjust different beer characteristics to find the variety that best suits their taste; and
  • Videos recreating Oregon beer history and telling the stories of brewing pioneers.
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Blue Bell Tavern, Portland, OR 2/5/1937. End of longshore strike. Oregon Journal Photo. OPS #1745

Barley, Barrels, Bottles, and Brews: 200 Years of Oregon Beer is on view October 26, 2018 through June 9, 2019 at the Oregon Historical Society (1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland). The museum is open seven days a week, Monday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12pm – 5pm. Admission is currently discounted to $5 (through February 14, 2019) during the renovation of the museum’s permanent exhibition. Admission is always free for OHS members and Multnomah County residents.

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OHS -Saloon, barkeeps and dog. Biggerstaff Saloon, Moro, OR

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