May 15 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Profs and Pints DC presents: “The Life of a DC Beer King,” a biographical portrait of DC brewing magnate Christian Heurich, with Mark Benbow, associate professor of American History at Marymount University and author of The Nation’s Capital Brewmaster: Christian Heurich and His Brewery, 1842-1956.
(6 pm May 15th at Little Penn Coffeehouse in the Penn Quarter.)
Get ready to drink in rich local history by learning about Christian Heurich, a pivotal Washington figure who also brewed damned good beer. The tale of his life, meticulously researched by historian Mark Benbow, tells us much about Washington DC from the Civil War to World War II, a period in which Washington grew from a small city to a major capital and saw the rise and fall of big factories.
It has been nearly 20 years since local stories sold beers marketed underr the Heurich brand, but for many decades Washingtonians drank more of Heurich’s beer than any other. His Senate, Maerzen, and Heurich Lager were served in the White House, in the homes of Congressmen, and along Embassy Row. He won medals in tasting competitions at three World’s Fairs.
Beyond his beer, Heurich’s life was richer than any thick stout. He walked all over central Europe while learning how to brew and went on to survive a ship-wide cholera outbreak, malaria, Prohibition, a carriage accident, three major Depressions, a gangland robbery, and accusations of being a spy and would-be assassin. He found himself trapped in Europe at the start of both world wars and lived to the ripe age of 102, working up until a week before his death in 1945.
His brewery ended up being torn down to make room for the Roosevelt Bridge and the Kennedy Center, but the Dupont Circle mansion that is now the Heurich House Museum still stands as a monument to his family’s wealth and influence. His recipes still live on in Heurich’s Lager, produced by DC Brau using a pre-prohibition recipe, and in Senate Beer, produced by Right Proper Brewing.
It’s a talk that will leave you with a much better understanding of how Washington became what it is today. Little Penn Coffeehouse has great beers on tap so you can drink a toast to your new knowledge. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: Christian Heurich depicted with the Heurich House Museum and his since-demolished brewery.