Museum of Fine Arts Teams with USF St. Petersburg and Top Brewers to Create Ancient Art-inspired Brews

The community will have two opportunities to taste the new brews at the MFA in July

(July 3, 2018) – Taste ancient art-inspired brews and party like it’s 100 BCE at the Beer Project celebrations at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, in July. An MFA restoration project involving five ancient mosaics from the city of Antioch has been inspiring activity throughout the community, including the creation of a number of new beers.

For this year’s MFA Beer Project, students from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Brewing Arts program have teamed up with some of the area’s top breweries to create beers inspired by the MFA’s ancient mosaics and the centuries-old villas they came from.

Their work will culminate in an event at the MFA on Friday, July 20 where guests can taste the beers, learn from top experts in brewing history about the importance of beer to ancient Greco-Romans, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the museum’s mosaics.

The new beers will include a pale ale by Green Bench Brewing Co., a Saison by Rapp Brewing Company, a Somme bier by Flying Boat Brewing Co., a wheat beer by 3 Daughters Brewing, and a Saison by Mastry’s Brewing Co.

Members of the St. Pete Home Brew Club are also brewing beers based on the mosaics and ancient Antioch, which will be showcased at an event at the MFA on Thursday, July 19. Guests will taste and vote on the brews, learn about how beer has shaped cultures around the world, and also tour the mosaic project.

The students and brewers have taken inspiration from the mosaics, life in ancient Antioch and ancient brewing practices. For example, some of the USF St. Petersburg students and the brewer at 3 Daughters are creating a beer with flavors like cardamom and pomegranate that call to mind foods from the days of ancient Antioch. And members of the St. Pete Home Brew Club are using straw as a filter like brewers did in ancient times.

This year’s Beer Project is tied to the MFA’s ongoing project to conserve, restore and eventually place on view the five mosaics, which were excavated from the site of the ancient city of Antioch (modern-day Turkey) in the 1930s. The MFA acquired the mosaics, which date to 100-300 BCE, in the mid-‘60s as part of its nascent antiquities collection. They came from villas with such illustrative names as House of the Drinking Contest and help to connect people today to the culture – and parties – of ancient Antioch.

Event details for July 19 and 20 are below:

Beer Project Day 1: From Gourds to Growlers – Home Brewers Night

When: Thursday, July 19 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE

Cost: Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for designated drivers. Must be 21 or older to participate. 2-day passes that include admission to the July 20 Beer Project event are also available for $65. Prices include free beer tastings, light bites, conversations with beer experts, in-depth tours of our Mosaic Lab, and the galleries. Tickets online here: mfastpete.org/beerproject2018

Join us for a look at the enduring influence of beer through the ages with beer experts and historians. Dr. John Arthur, associate professor of anthropology at USF St. Petersburg, discovered ancient beer production and the all-encompassing role of beer brewing in places such as Ethiopia, Sudan, and northern Mexico. Professor Travis Rupp, beer historian, archaeologist and art historian from the University of Colorado Boulder, brews one-of-a-kind Ales of Antiquity, closely replicating historical beer recipes that in some cases date back to 1200 BCE.

Guests will also enjoy in-depth tours and conversation with Dr. Michael Bennett, the MFA’s senior curator of Early Western Art, for a behind-the-scenes look at the MFA’s work to conserve and restore five mosaics from the ancient city of Antioch.

Guests can also enjoy and vote on their favorites in a free beer tasting by the St. Pete Home Brew Club, sampling beers brewed especially for Day 1 of the MFA’s Beer Project. Attendees must be 21 or older to participate.

Beer Project Day 2: Civilized Consumption – Professional Brewers Night

When: Friday, July 20 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE

Cost: Tickets are $45 for adults and $25 for designated drivers. Must be 21 or older to participate. 2-day passes that include admission to July 19 Beer Project event are also available for $65. Prices include beer tastings, glassware, food, presentations, and the galleries. Purchase tickets online here: mfastpete.org/beerproject2018

Since the dawn of time, drinking has provided a way for societies to determine character. Alcohol has also long been used as a test of social literacy – a way to finesse any number of social situations.

During Day 2 of the Beer Project, Dr. Michael Bennett, the MFA’s senior curator of Early Western Art, brings to life the museum’s recently uncovered House of the Drinking Contest mosaic and pastimes enjoyed by ancient Greco-Romans. Dr. Bennett will be joined by Professor Travis Rupp, beer historian and brewer of ancient ales from the University of Colorado, Boulder and Dr. John Arthur, beer anthropologist from USF St Petersburg.

As for the actual beer, students in the USF St. Petersburg Brewing Arts program paired with the area’s top brewers to create beers inspired by the MFA’s ancient mosaics. Participating brewers include Rapp Brewing, Flying Boat Brewing Co., Green Bench Brewery, 3 Daughters Brewing, and Mastry’s Brewing Co.

Attendees must be 21 or older to participate.