Buck­min­ster Fuller’s pa­pers yield recipe

Crys­tal Bridges taps Rogers brew­ery

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ROB­BIE NEISWANGER

Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art cu­ra­to­rial as­sis­tant Dy­lan Turk got an un­ex­pected sur­prise when he was look­ing through a jour­nal from the late ar­chi­tect Buck­min­ster Fuller a few months ago.

Amid geo­met­ric sketches, de­tails of dome pro­jects and other notes from the fi­nal year of Fuller’s life, Turk and some mem­bers of the mu­seum’s pro­ject team no­ticed a list of in­gre­di­ents.

“It looked to me like a beer recipe,” Turk said.

The dis­cov­ery was, in­deed, in­gre­di­ents for a home­made beer and has led to an in­no­va­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the mu­seum and Ozark Beer Co. To­gether, the two have part­nered on a pro­ject that has turned the list of in­gre­di­ents — it wasn’t a com­plete recipe for beer — into a Fuller-in­spired bev­er­age un­veiled at the mu­seum dur­ing an event Wed­nes­day night.

The pale ale doesn’t have an of­fi­cial name for now, as Crys­tal Bridges works through the le­gal process to make sure it doesn’t vi­o­late copyright laws. But the bev­er­age is be­ing sold in the mu­seum’s Eleven restau­rant and also can be found on tap at Ozark Beer in Rogers.

“When you think wine, you think so­phis­ti­ca­tion,” said Jesse Gagnon, head brewer at Ozark Beer. “When you think beer, you don’t think art. It’s great to see such a great mu­seum ac­tu­ally giv­ing at­ten­tion to the fact that there is art in this bev­er­age.”

“It’s great to see such a great mu­seum ac­tu­ally giv­ing at­ten­tion to the fact that there is art in this bev­er­age.” — JESSE GAGNON, head brewer at Ozark Beer Co.

Turk said he be­lieves that the pro­ject falls in line with the mu­seum’s ob­jec­tives to con­nect with the com­mu­nity, en­cour­age in­no­va­tion and cel­e­brate emerg­ing artists. That can come in many dif­fer­ent forms, as the lat­est pro­ject has shown. Turk said Crys­tal Bridges has con­sid­ered col­lab­o­ra­tions on food or drinks in the past, but “noth­ing ever felt right be­cause it wasn’t com­ing out of some­thing.”

That changed with Fuller. The ar­chi­tect, en­gi­neer, au­thor and de­signer oc­cu­pies a promi­nent place at Crys­tal Bridges af­ter the mu­seum ac­quired his Fly’s Eye Dome in 2015 and in­stalled it on the newly ren­o­vated north lawn. The struc­ture, which is 36 feet high, 50 feet in di­am­e­ter and fea­tures 61 win­dows, will open to the pub­lic next month.

The in­no­va­tive Fuller, who died in 1983, spent a good part of his life ex­per­i­ment­ing with dome struc­tures be­cause he be­lieved they were a so­lu­tion to low-cost hous­ing. He was in­spired to cre­ate the Fly’s Eye Dome in the 1960s af­ter see­ing a pic­ture of a fly and be­gan fab­ri­cat­ing the struc­ture with fiber­glass ex­pert John War­ren in the 1970s. The dome in­stalled at Crys­tal Bridges is the largest of three pro­to­types cre­ated by Fuller and War­ren.

In ad­di­tion to the struc­ture, Crys­tal Bridges also ac­quired the en­tire Fly’s Eye Dome ar­chive, which con­tains thou­sands of ob­jects like let­ters, mod­els, draw­ings and jour­nals. It’s the first time any­one other than Fuller or War­ren has gone through the ar­chive.

“It hasn’t been to­tally cat­e­go­rized yet,” Turk said. “But I would say there’s prob­a­bly some­where around 10,000 ob­jects. Some of those are full cor­re­spon­dence or draw­ings or in­struc­tions on how to build some­thing. One of the neat­est things is you’ll go through and get to a page where they’ve crossed it out and wrote, ‘Ob­so­lete,’ over the top. So you re­al­ize ev­ery­thing they worked on from that page isn’t right any­more. They evolved and moved on.”

The archives also in­clude finds like hand­writ­ten di­rec­tions to a hard­ware store.

And beer in­gre­di­ents. Turk ini­tially wasn’t sure what he found af­ter com­ing across the pages, but he was able to get con­fir­ma­tion from Crys­tal Bridges culi­nary di­rec­tor Case Dighero.

“Dy­lan asked me, ‘Do you brew beer?’” Dighero said. “I said, ‘Ab­so­lutely not. But I know a lot of peo­ple that do. In par­tic­u­lar I know one group of peo­ple who brew my fa­vorite beer.’”

The list didn’t pro­duce a full recipe, so the pro­ject gave Ozark Beer some free­dom to ex­per­i­ment and cap­ture Fuller’s spirit in a bev­er­age.

Mar­ket­ing man­ager Marty Shut­ter said there were el­e­ments that re­minded Ozark Beer of the 1980s and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. In­deed, Fuller’s jour­nal en­try con­tain­ing the home-brew­ing notes was from 1983 and came a few months be­fore he died in Los An­ge­les.

Ozark Beer also thought it was im­por­tant to in­cor­po­rate in­no­va­tion into the pale ale.

They did so by us­ing cryo­geni­cally frozen hops in one of their beers for the first time. Us­ing the hops, which are frozen on the vine and kept fresh longer, is a rel­a­tively new method in the in­dus­try.

Shut­ter said the tech­nol­ogy has the po­ten­tial to pro­duce more and bet­ter beer at a lower cost.

Crys­tal Bridges rep­re­sen­ta­tives were in­vited to Rogers to take part in the brew­ing process about three weeks ago.

The fi­nal prod­uct, which was un­veiled Wed­nes­day, is a pale ale that has 4 per­cent al­co­hol by vol­ume.

“It was so cool to see Crys­tal Bridges’ true in­ter­est in Bucky,” said Gagnon, us­ing Fuller’s nick­name. “I think it in­spired us to brew this beer as best we could.”

The col­lab­o­ra­tion was the re­sult of what Turk de­scribed as a “re­ally rare” dis­cov­ery in Fuller’s jour­nal.

“I’ve looked through Frank Lloyd Wright archives with that pro­ject and our whole col­lec­tion,” Turk said. “Things like this just don’t hap­pen. But it’s be­cause no one had ever seen this ar­chive be­fore. So I think this is one of those weird, mag­i­cal mo­ments where you find some­thing that has to­tal and com­plete rel­e­vance to­day, and that’s what this was.”

“Things like this just don’t hap­pen. But it’s be­cause no one had ever seen this ar­chive be­fore. So I think this is one of those weird, mag­i­cal mo­ments where you find some­thing that has to­tal and com­plete rel­e­vance to­day, and that’s what this was.”

— Dy­lan Turk, Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art cu­ra­to­rial as­sis­tant

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF

A pint of a pale ale brewed from in­gre­di­ents in­clud­ing caramel malt, white wheat and citra hop pel­lets sits on a ta­ble Fri­day at Ozark Beer Co. in Rogers. The brew­ery has part­nered with Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art to pro­duce the beer, in­spired by notes found in a jour­nal by Buck­min­ster Fuller.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Brant Bishop, di­rec­tor of qual­ity at Ozark Beer Co., in­spects a sam­ple of the brew­ery’s BDCS 2018 bour­bon bar­rel-aged dou­ble cream stout Fri­day at Ozark Beer Co. in Rogers. The brew­ery has part­nered with Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art in Ben­tonville to pro­duce a pale ale in­spired by notes the mu­seum found in a 1983 jour­nal by Buck­min­ster Fuller.

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