A few weeks ago I noticed that Arcadia Publishing had some titles relating to beer. I like these books which are essentially collections of old photos, press clippings and diagrams of very specific topics. In upstate New York, for example, you can pretty much find a collection of your town or county or another major aspect of the history of the community like the Erie Canal, the first title I bought. Each book is a solidly bound trade paperback, filled with over 200 black and white pictures like those you see here below taken from Brewing in New Hampshire of the Frank Jones Brewery of Portsmouth, dating from about 1901. Click on them for a bigger view.
After taking notice, a quick email to the publicity department landed me three very topical titles: Nashville Brewing, Brewing in Cleveland and Brewing in New Hampshire. Each book has has a brief introduction which sets the stage for the 125 or so pages of photos with captions that follow. In Nashville Brewing, for example, the reader is advised that the book focuses on the history of Gerst Brewing from its predecessors starting in 1859 to the 1954 closure of the brewery as well as the revival of the name as a modern craft beer pub. In Brewing in Cleveland a history of the whole town from the first industrial brewing of 1832 to modern brew pubs is covered.
These books add as a great adjunct to the other histories of beer we have covered here, whether it is the story of the German lager barons in Ambitious Brew or the golden era of canned brew in Great American Beer. They fill in the gaps and perhaps sometimes challenge the interpretations found in other books. More importantly they give you the visual context. These particular photos of bottling from 106 years ago, for example, make me grateful for public health regulations in food production. Each book is a worthwhile addition to any beer book library.