Here's a little secret. I read Lew Bryson well before I heard of that Jack Michaelson fellow. He also influenced my approach to beer far more, as well. Here is my review from nine and a half years ago. Of the first edition. This, if I am not mistaken, is my first review of a second edition where I have already posted a review of the first. That, along with my love of upstate NY hots, is due to Lew. But, as you see above, is not only about Lew. Don Cazentre has updated the books. Don is the food and drinks columnist for Syracuse, NY's Post-Standard newspaper and also helped frame my CNY beery education about places like the Gaveville Grocery and Clark's.
So much for the trip down memory lane. A decade later does the book still hold up? I mean in 2004, there was me and the Bar Towel taking on line about good beer in Ontario. Hipsters were still in junior high and Ralph had a dream. Do you need this book today? Well, the updates alone are worth it. On page 11 you get to thrill to the sight of the name "Ethan A. Cox" sometime comment maker around here. He is mentioned in Buffalo's Community Beer Works listing. There are listings for new players liker Captain Lawrence in Westchester County on page 180 where my second cousin in law plies the writer's trade. Well, new like a brewery that opened in 2005 is new. Ryan Demler of C.H. Evans, who brewed the beer for the Albany Ale Project's night at the museum is there, too, on page 145. And, just to be clear, this book includes all breweries. The ABInBev brewery at CNY's Baldwinsville is discussed at page 87.
Then there is the content that is not directly about each brewery. There is information on the various regions of New York. There is information about beer traveling as well as area attractions near to the breweries... so you can arrange a family holiday that includes beer. Brilliant. Subversive even. They know what you want and they know what you must do to get to what you want. The least quibbly quibble ever? Why on the cover do two labels for Keegan and Six Point appear? Other than that, you need this book if you live in New York. You also need it if you cross the state as Canadians from Quebec City to Kitchener do as a matter of course when vacationing. Or New Englanders. Or visitors who fly in or come by dog sled. Buy the book to see how well - how practically, how usefully - a beer book can be organized.
You can get it here at Amazon.com.