Charlie Papazian, Father of Homebrewing, Donates Tools of Trade

  Photo courtesy of Brewers Association Website

Photo courtesy of Brewers Association Website

The champion of homebrewing, Charlie Papazian, was recently contacted by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to procure a few of his artifacts from his homebrewing journey. The goal is to display these homebrewing tools in the American Brewing History initiative in Washington D.C. and to demonstrate the straightforwardness of homebrewing at that time.  In a Brewers Association report, Papazian said, “When the National Museum of American History contacted me, I thought, ‘Really? Well, okay.’ They wanted help to create a realistic display of homebrewing in the context of the 1970s.”

The museum contacted the right person. Papazian was willing to part with his original two-page homebrewing instructions that he had typed in college, including authentic stains and handwritten comments. “I feel honored,” he said. “You never think about the stuff you use every day. Or that people would want to look at it and ‘feel the vibes’ in a museum.” 

The hardest brewing tool to part with was his “charismatic spoon,” stained from years of stirring and marked for ease of measuring. This spoon had been with Papazian since the beginning, held in the hands of hundreds of students to the homebrewing scene, and is now on display in the American Brewing History museum. 

Papazian is considered by many as the godfather of homebrewing. He founded the Brewers Association, the Great American Beer Festival, and contributed many homebrewing techniques in his written and published works. He is active in the craft brewing scene in Colorado and has donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to help fund the American Brewing History initiative. Some of his tools may have retired from the brewing scene, but it doesn’t appear to be the end of the barrel for Papazian.

-          Alix Holmes