Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Lew Bryson and Mark Haynie will be at J.J. Bitting brewpub in Woodbridge on Friday for their first Garden State appearance to support their just-released book, New Jersey Breweries. Look for 'em from 5-8 p.m. or so.

If you miss that appearance, they’ll be at the Tun Tavern in Atlantic City 1-4 p.m. on Saturday. The actual kickoff for the book promotion was last Sunday at the Grey Lodge in Philly, a few books sold and some elbows bent in slĂ inte and salut!

Lew, whose other pursuits are writing for a CondeNast mag, his blog and web site (not to mention his staring contest with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) was kind enough to take some time and talk about New Jersey Breweries in an on-camera at The Ship Inn in Milford on Tuesday, a trip that’s not too far – but also not a run to the corner grocery – from his home in Pennsylvania.

If you’ve wondered why just about every corner of the mid-Atlantic region has had its breweries showcased by Stackpole Books except New Jersey – land where the drive-in theater was born, the home of Thomas Edison, heck, the place where George Washington scored a win to make the post season in that armed dispute we call the American Revolution – well Lew has some answers.

Lew's an affable guy with a hearty laugh and an appearance that vaguely resembles James L. Brooks (one of the subversively creative minds that jump-started TV comedy with The Simpsons all those years ago, and who grew up in Hudson County, by the way). Lew and Mark, who's from Somers Point down in Atlantic County, have been on the beer scene in the New Jersey-Philadelphia area (and, for Lew, the rest of Pennsylvania) pretty much since the region caught the craft beer wave. They know their worts-worth.

A word about the brewery books …
They aren’t instant books, done by some trend-sniffing writer who parachutes in, takes a few notes and beats a retreat to his desk to bang out a requisite number of pages to make the publication look viable and sell a boatload of copies, get rich and move to Hawaii.

It’s more like there’s a lot of legwork, some of it inconvenient and not exactly budget friendly; there's time away from family, whether on the road or in that headspace that shoves out all extraneous voices so some serious writing can be done. And the dividends come less from sales, but more from the satisfaction of accomplishment, bragging rights and, if you’re into craft beer, maybe a sense of duty to the movement.

So, support the book, go to a signing, buy a copy and have a beer, or two. You’re also helping to raise the profile of the good beer brewed in the Garden State.

Postscript: A special thanks to The Ship Inn for letting us use their space for the video. (By the by, if you board the Ship any time soon, we do recommend the Black Death stout. Take some home; we did.)

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