How do we choose the Collections Corner topic each month? Because the Collections Corner exhibit is connected to our History & Hops beer tasting and tour event, I start by learning more about the month’s featured brewery. I consider the brewery’s formation, what have they chosen to name themselves, what styles of beer they produce and, what they name their beer. Then, I make connections to Christian Heurich’s history, whether through his brewery, beer, home, or family.
During the February pilot of Collections Corner, the Heurich House Museum displayed photographs and information about the salamander-shaped finial that sits on top of the mansion’s turret. Mythologically, the salamander represents fire resistance, so it stands to reason that the District’s first fireproof residence would display this figure on its roof. It made sense to talk about this rarely seen portion of the museum because our February History & Hops beer tasting and tour event featured Hellbender Brewing Company, whose logo is the eastern hellbender salamander. (The brewery also gives a portion of its proceeds to protect the hellbender.)
This month, Collections Corner will focus on names, specifically the significance of and potential controversy surrounding the names breweries choose to call themselves and their beers. It is clear that the May History & Hops featured brewery, Old Bust Head, has chosen its name very carefully for its historic and geographic significance: