Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pennsylvania Breweries: here we go again

It's all but official: I have a verbal agreement with Stackpole Books to do a 4th edition of Pennsylvania Breweries, tentatively due to hit the shelves in September of 2010.

That sounds like a long way off, but here's the thing. I've decided that I want this 4th edition to contain as much new material as possible. That means I'll be re-writing every section, re-writing every brewery entry -- which I'd have to do anyway, things have changed so much -- and once again, visiting every brewery. There are currently 75 breweries in the state that have either opened or will be opening within the next couple of months. There are so many breweries that I've had to add a new section (which is just as well: "Upstate" as everything that didn't fit somewhere else was unwieldy).

And I'll finally be able to do something I've wanted to do since the very first edition, back in 1998: this edition will contain the big, beautiful, capable brewery on I-78in Vogelsville, now the home of Boston Beer in Pennsylvania. Pabst never played ball, and I just couldn't bring myself to include a 'facility' that 'brewed' Smirnoff Ice. Now she'll be in there, and I'm quite excited.

I'd like some suggestions from you, my readers. What would you like to see added to this edition, what do you think is a waste of space? What Pennsylvania brewer or beer figure should I ask to write the foreword? What great bar that you think I may not know about should be in here? And what are your favorite "added attractions" that you like to visit when you're in the neighborhood of your favorite Pennsylvania breweries? Drop a comment here, or e-mail me, and thanks!

All you Pennsylvania brewers: heads up, folks! I'll be asking for your help very soon, sending out the questionnaires. I need that information to start working on your entry. I also need your artwork. If you want a chance at being on the cover of Pennsylvania Breweries 4th edition, get your artwork in early! I'll be sending out descriptions of what we need and release forms, please get them back to me. The art department at Stackpole makes the call on who goes on, but you can't win if you don't play.

A lot of work coming up, and a lot of travel. I hope to see some of you when I'm on the road; say hi, I'll be glad to see you. Here we go again!

38 comments:

Philip Neuweiler and sons said...

You should include our beautiful old brewery in Allentown, we'd love to reignite the kettles.

tim said...

Lew,

New to the website, and somewhat new to "craft brewing" in general. Will your book also cover breweries like the Rivertowne Pourhouse that brew but don't bottle?

Jim Ryan said...

A little neighborhood spot in Manayunk you should check out for the book - Union Jack's on Umbria at Fountain. Nothing flashy, but the best beer at a 'hole-in-the-wall' joint I've been to.

Adam said...

Do you have anything focused on the smallest breweries. Some people have called them Nanobreweries. What sets them apart? What's their story?

What about a section for aspiring brewers. Why should people get into the business here in PA?

Forgive me if these are already covered in past editions. I haven't read your book...yet.

Lew Bryson said...

I would love to see Neuweiler come back, too...but I don't do history. Get off your ectoplasmic butt and make things happen!

Tim, the books cover all breweries in PA, from Yuengling to One Guy, and yeah, you bet Rivertowne is going in, wouldn't leave it out!

Jim, been to Union Jack's on Umbria, and it -- and all the Union Jack's -- are going in, count on it.

Jack Curtin said...

Maybe a "traveling with a besotted beer writer" section written by Uncle Don?

And I assume new anecdotes for each and every rewritten brewery reviews?

Otherwise, just do what you do.

---Guy said...

Thanks for the mention, but I'll bet I'm up a spot or 2 from the bottom!

Lew Bryson said...

Knowing Uncle Don, he'd sooner quit drinking than start writing. And a few of the anecdotes are just too good not to use. But yeah, mostly I'll just do what I do.

Lew Bryson said...

Guy, didn't mean to impugn your growing empire of beer production! You were just the first small brewery that came to mind.

jp said...

Maybe add a little bit about a couple of these independent distilleries popping up in the state?

jp said...

Whoops forgot to mention maybe you could do a little bit on micro or independent soda brewers agian its not beer but there is an overlap with bottlers like big ben's A treat or that one in natrona make regional sodas like Pa birch beer or Pennsylvania punch just a thought

Lew Bryson said...

Already got the small soda bottlers idea by e-mail; it's a good one, and will probably make it.

And there will definitely be mention of small distillers, and maybe some of the state's cider-makers, too.

JP said...

yeah cider that is a good one! I have never read your N.J. book but you cover Laird's apple jack in there? I thought that was made somewhere in Jersey

Lew Bryson said...

Yup, Laird's is in there. I caught some flak for it, but I don't really care: it's great stuff (unlike NJ wine; sorry, never had a New Jersey-made wine I'd call 'great'), it's made in NJ, and it definitely deserves some ink. We'll have to see if PA's cider fills that bill.

---Guy said...

#74 with a bullet!

(p.s. in all seriousness, looks like I'll put 2008 down a lap in the next 2 weeks or so)

maibock said...

Hey, well done!

Looking forward to the new book. As one who's trying to sample(and quite enjoying) all my local brews(SE Pa), this will be a great addition.

Marc said...

Loved your past addition. Use it everytime I go to a new area of PA. Two things for the new book. How about a festival section listing the annual brew festivals throughout the state. Also any info on Intercourse Brewing?

Lew Bryson said...

Marc,
I am adding a Pennsylvania festivals section, so you're in luck. And Intercourse Brewing is just a label, not an actual brewery; I don't cover them. If you've got a brewery, you're in.

The American Don said...

75 BREWERIES?!?!?!

I am so jealous.

Rich said...

Cool man, good luck with the book! Can't wait to buy a copy.

John said...

I'm excited to see how the new edition comes out.

After this, can we get a New York 2nd edition? :D

Anonymous said...

Why would Union Jack's -- or any other beer bar, for that matter -- go in a book about PA breweries?

Anonymous said...

Great news about the Boston Beer (BB)brewery in PA. The BB folks at the Kennett Brewfest said they would be offering tours once they got up an running with the beer.

Lew Bryson said...

NY2 is not likely: NYB was not a good seller. NJ Breweries is selling well; go figure.

Anony, the format of my guidebooks has been to acknowledge that breweries exist in their community: each brewery entry comes with suggestions for local lodging, entertainment/attractions, and beer bars. It's been well-received (and emulated), so we're continuing it.

bill mc said...

Bummer about NY Breweries not doing well. Any thoughts as to why that is/was?


How about something written by Jay Mission's family for a forward to the PA book?

Lew Bryson said...

Not sure on NY. I did put more personal effort into publicity on it than on any other, but after dropping a lot of review copies into the NY media with a total of two reviews as a result...I won't be doing that again. Mind you, the one guy actually had the balls to e-mail and ask for a second copy because his "former intern stole the other one", and then never reviewed it anyway.

JessKidden said...

Until BBC starts tours, thought some of your readers might be interested in what the place looked like as the then-Schaefer Lehigh Valley brewery, circa the late 1970's.

http://jesskidden.googlepages.com/lehighvalleybrewery

Anonymous said...

I'll always remember that brewery as the Stroh brewery because all the people in knew in college from Allentown and Easton called it that. The pictures are great. I have drive by the facility but never realized it was so big. It looks like it could be a Bud brewery comparable to the ones i've toured in CA and NH.

Lew Bryson said...

I was always told that it was "the last big brewery" built in America. I would assume that the new Yuengling brewery has taken that title now.

JessKidden said...

Yeah, that Lehigh Valley brewery is bigger than A-B's NH and Fairfield, CA facilities (tho' they are the two smallest A-B breweries). Has BBC put up any signage? I wonder if they are a bit reluctant to open the place to visitors since it will surely shatter the illusion some have about BBC being a "microbrewery"- I take it most of their TV commercials are filmed at the Boston-area pilot plant rather than the Cincinnati brewery, right?

As for the "last large brewery" - A-B's opened a few since then (GA, CO) and Miller's Ohio brewery is pretty new, as is the finally on-line VA Coors plant.

How big is the new Yuengling brewery? I seem to recall being surprised at reading how "small" it was, especially since that was designed before (IIRC) they bought the Stroh Florida brewery? I guess technically, wouldn't a "big" brewery have to be over 2m bbl (you know, according to some groups).

The Schaefer brewery was the last large brewery opened by a regional brewer which I suppose most people mean and probably made them instantly a take-over target for the companies looking to expand. Besides Stroh (who did run it longer than an independent Schaefer ever did) I seem to recall that last C. Schmidt's & Sons' owner (Pflumer or something like that?) had his eyes on the brewery for a time, as well.

To get that brewery built, Schaefer had to get another of those "protectionist" PA beer laws changed. Before that, only PA residents could own PA brewing licenses. Seems I recall that law resulted in the closing of Louis Neuweiler's brewery in Allentown, since they did have some interest by an out-of-state owner. Maybe "Philip" up there remembers the story- I take it he's Louis's long lost brother or something -g- .

Lew Bryson said...

jk, thank you! Good to have someone cut through my bullshit at times...

sam k said...

Boy, your mention of the Fogelsville brewery being included this time around makes me think that a lot has changed regarding the "Old Guard" since Volume 1, hasn't it?

Jones is gone, same with Latrobe. Iron will be lucky to survive until your publishing date. Yuengling has expanded, and BBC is on the map. Maybe the only one who hasn't run the gauntlet (yet?) is Straub.

Darel said...

Lew,
Not sure if they're large enough to make it into your book or not, but Breaker Brewing in Wilkes-Barre is up and running and selling. That's the two guys brewing out of their garage (with all the appropriate TTB approvals).

Lew Bryson said...

Darel,
They'll be in. I broke the news on Breaker Brewing here on STAG back at the end of January, and, well, they're a commercial brewery. Nobody's "too small."

Philip Neuweiler said...

Indeed, our brewery in Allentown found a legitimate buyer in New Jersey (I wont divulge, but it was not Feigenspan) who wanted to purchase the plant and keep the workforce on. PA law at the time said no out of state owner could control a majority of a brewery, this was done to prevent out-of-state monopolies, so the deal fell through. Kind of ironic given the state of the brewing business with regard to monopolies.

Rich said...

I would include much more destination food (obviously, it's my niche in life), like Old Forge, PA pizza (self-proclaimed pizza capital of the world!); "Texas Weiners" in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Allentiown-Bethlehem; the fanatical pretzel culture of the Lancaster-Hanover-York region (hit a Giant or Weis market in one of those towns and discover wonderful pretzels that seldom ever reach other towns in PA); and maybe an update of the Pittsburgh dining scene which has really soared. Just a few thoughts; you write great stuff about food!

Lew Bryson said...

Rich,
Old Forge was already in 3rd ed., and I plan to keep it. I did a lengthy bit on hot dogs and "Greek sauce" in NY Breweries, and will be porting some of that over (with PA flavor, including a Texas Wiener place in Hanover, and why I think "Coney Island sauce" actually originated in upstate PA). Yes to pretzels! We're a pretzel-happy state, and I will acknowledge that. Probably not much on restaurant scenes...I'm more a roadfood kind of guy.
Anyone know if Pennsylvania chefs are doing anything with local freshwater fish?

sam k said...

I'm pretty sure Elk Creek uses trout raised right up the road from them.