Chicago’s history with beer featured in Harold Washington Library exhibit

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A new exhibit at Harold Washington Library focuses on Chicago beer from the Great Chicago Fire to now. (David Matthews / DNAinfo)

SOUTH LOOP — Beer, it’s often said, was necessary to sustain civilization, and so it is with Chicago.

According to a new exhibit at the Harold Washington Library, Chicago was incorporated as a town in 1833, shortly after the first meetings on the matter held at the Sauganash Tavern. That year also saw the creation of the city’s first brewery, Haas & Sulzer. And, as Chicago is a city of conflict, it’s no surprise to find that the same year saw the Chicago Temperance League founded.

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“Beer Chicago: The Refreshing History” has been installed on the ninth floor of the main library, 400 S. State St., for the rest of the year. The one-room exhibit includes a history of the city’s most famous beer companies, from Haas & Sulzer to the Peter Hand Brewing Co. (maker of Meister Brau) and on to today’s craft brews, including Goose Island, Half Acre, Metropolitan, Two Brothers and Three Floyds.

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