He is also fairly prudent in his reviews. If a beer is not the best, he lets you know without running the place down. His two books and, I trust, the pending third, Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Breweries, take a comprehensive approach rather than just telling you about his favorites. As a result, it tracks the state of the industry while also letting you know the highlights, right down to facts like the one on page 13 of Pennsylvania Breweries, Vol. 2 about the Eternal Tap at the Straub in St. Mary's, a family operation since the 1870s. Anyone can got to the keg washing room and pour a couple of beers. No asking. Free.
Lew also runs a web site which adds dimension to his paperbacks. First, he posts updates to the books. When doing this, he adds updates rather than replaces them so that if a brewery has notes needing adding every few months they are all still there. Breweries which closed are not deleted. Again, we get a sense of the industry as it grows and changes. Next, he gives you a sense of his upcoming work with excerpts on his mid-Atlantic breweries page - he knows that the book that is scheduled for May 2005 is one that people want to know about now. [I am hoping he goes north for the Breweries of New England next.] Then, he maintains both a monthly web column and links to some of his published work in magazines and newspapers. Have a look around, there's lots more there.
All in all, a comprehensive vision of one man's relationship with malt, hops and yeast. Friendly, positive and well researched. And he answers emails.