In the last few months, content has been a bit light here on Brews and Books. Beyond the regular updates from Bookrageous, pickings have been slim. I’m happy to say that I can finally talk about why there hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot of new stuff. I’ve been beating around the bush on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m far enough into my new project now that I can make things official.
I’m happy to announce that I’m in the process of writing my first book, Maine Beer and Brewing, which will be published by The History Press next year.
The book is a look at the rich history of beer and brewing in Maine. The state has a complicated history with alcohol - it was one of the first to prohibit alcohol in the 1850s, yet one of the first in the east to embrace the craft beer movement in the 1980s. Maine is home to some of the biggest, most highly regarded, and fastest growing breweries in the country. A colorful cast of characters populates the state’s brewing history, from “Handsome Jim” McGlinchy (whose brewery is pictured above), to homebrewing Bowdoin students during the Prohibition era, to today’s quixotic craft brewers.
Maine Beer will cover both the early history of Maine brewing and the scores of craft breweries that have popped up in the years since the first pint of Geary’s Pale Ale. It follows in the footsteps of two excellent histories of Maine beer already in print: Will Anderson’s Great State of Maine Beer Book and Andy Crouch’s Good Beer Guide to New England. They’re fantastic books on the history of beer in Maine and New England, and I hope mine will soon join theirs on the shelves of every Maine beer lover.
I’ve been diving into old newspapers, microfiche, articles and interviews over the last few months, and I’ll be doing so for the rest of the year. While I’ve been friendly with loads of Maine brewers for years, it’s nice to finally have a legitimate, professional excuse to chat with them about our state’s brewing history. There’s a cat’s cradle of connections among Pine Tree breweries, and beer folks are a friendly fraternity. With more breweries opening all the time, I’ve got my work cut out for me making sure everyone gets in.
So, what does the book mean for Brews and Books? Hopefully, things will chug along as usual. I’ve got posts queued up for a number of my regular features (Mix-A-Six and The Can’t Wait’s), and there are fresh beer and book posts already in the pipeline. A number of writers will be doing guest posts on both topics, including some past contributors who are returning soon. The only real change will be a bit of a lull in posts on Maine breweries. I’ve loved doing histories of Maine beer for the web, but most of that research energy is going to be redirected into the book. Of course, that doesn’t mean myself or my guest posters will miss a chance to review any local beer releases. With Sixpoint, Green Flash, Goose Island and Breckenridge newly in the state (and Oskar Blues, Lagunitas and Founders rumored to arrive soon), we’ll have plenty of beer “from away” to keep us busy as well.
In many ways, it feels like my work on Brews and Books over three years has been building towards a project like this. I’m thrilled and excited to be working on a book, an undertaking I couldn’t have imagined taking on a few years ago. I’m glad that the topic is such that I’ll still have plenty of excuses to write here (and on iFanboy, and the Telegram, and with Bookrageous). Thanks to everyone for reading and putting up with a bit of a slowdown in posts. I’m looking forward to putting out content on beer and books throughout the year.
And, of course, I look forward to sharing my book with you in 2013!