Saturday, April 12, 2008

Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Breweries

I've been aware of this book for sometime, but never got around to getting a copy. Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Breweries by Lew Bryson is just what the title says, a compendium of breweries in the tri-state area. Like so many folks these days, I tend to rely on the 'net, as there are any number of web sites to assist with the search for brewery information. However, online resources typically provide little more than raw facts, along with the occasional user review. Lew's book goes well beyond that. I recently acquired a copy of the book and have been impressed by the information provided.

There's the expected raw data on local breweries. But there's more. Much more than just a compendium of facts, each brewery section is a story by itself. The author personally visited each of the 58 listed breweries. He talked to the brewers and staff, and provides first-hand accounts on the atmosphere of the places he visited. Reading the histories behind the establishments gives insight to the people and their drive to bring good beer to the area. If the brewery also has a restaurant, Lew reports on the food as well. One thing this reader appreciated is the special considerations section at the end of each review where, among other things, the author notes "kids welcome" where appropriate. Also included is information on other local area attractions. This, along with copious other details, make this book very useful in planning a visit. I've already started making plans for a few day trips.

As it happens, our area is experiencing phenomenal growth in the craft beer arena, with more breweries opening frequently, with the occasional closing as well. There's an online errata to provide up-to-date information. I recommend getting a copy of this book if you live in, or plan to visit the area. Lew's writing makes for enjoyable arm chair adventures to some of our favorite breweries, although I can't imagine you'd want to limit yourself to that.

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