Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm Back, Baby!

Okay… okay… I know it's been 46 days since my last post. But my absence is totally excusable.

I was on a covert, secret agent mission for the CIA.

Okay, that's not really true.

But, I wasn't just shirking my duties as a hard-boiled beer journalist*, either. I was writing a book—or at least, half a book (Alan wrote the other half). It's a raucous tale of graft and revolution, of fortunes made and lost and, of course, beer. The tentative title of the tome? Upper Hudson Valley Beer (subtitle to come).

Here's an (as of yet un-edited) snippet:
2014—the year of this book’s publication—marks the 400th anniversary of Fort Nassau, the first Dutch settlement in North America. From the beginning beer was a hallmark of the Upper Hudson Valley. Within a few short years it had grown from small, bubbling pots over hot coals to a major economic force. It helped to grow the small fur-trading outpost of Beverwijck, into the modern and industrialized city of Albany. It made fortunes and expanded influence. Beer was as essential to the growth and prosperity of the Upper Hudson Valley as steel was to Pittsburgh and the automobile was to Detroit.
And yet, the history of Upper Hudson and Albany brewing has been largely forgotten. In fact, the story of brewing in America is very much a “to the victor go the spoils” scenario. Although the 19th century brewers of the Upper Hudson Valley, were magnates in the very sense of the word—and their breweries were monolithic representations of their wealth and power—westward expansion, technological advancement and eventually governmental restriction would strip them of their previous glory, leaving a void to be filled with the history of those who survived and adapted best to those changes.
I've never written a book before, so it was truly an adventure—and when you're research and writing partner is Alan McLeod, you know you're in for a fun ride. I got the chance to meet some characters, too—like Bill Newman, who might arguably be titled the grandfather of East Coast craft brewing. And I dug up some some pretty terrific photos from our beery past. The book has nearly 100 of them—from a 1660s satined glass window taken from the first Dutch church in Albany—laden with an image of a mash tub and paddle—to fancy-dancy beer porn shots of some of the best brews available in the Upper Hudson Valley.

Upper Hudson Valley Beer will be out mid-August but is available for pre-order now at a reasonable price of $15.39. Alan and I will be doing a few events in September to promote the book as well—a few signings, and special events. More information on those as we get closer to the dates. I will say this, though, we are planning another historic beer recreation to celebrate the release of the book. It won't be another 1901 beer—something a little earlier.

But I'm not going to give away all our secrets.

As for this blog, I know I've missed reporting on some of the amazing beer stories of the past two months—such as the bearded guy, in a cowboy hat and sunglasses (who looks not unlike a Predator had a baby with ZZ Top), who got fired for having his face show up on a beer can—but I'll be back in the saddle this week.

*That was written sarcastically, by the way.

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