How could you not love a book titled, Buzzed: Beer, Booze, & Coffee Brews? When Genevieve Morgan at Islandport Press in Yarmouth suggested to Erik Ofgang that he write a book about Maine beers, this first-time author knew he was blessed.
He’s also blessed with a wonderful wife, who allowed him to postpone their marriage so the two of them could spend 18 months traveling New England in search of the best coffee, spirits, and beer. Nothing like enjoying your honeymoon before your marriage!
As he began that epic journey (and don’t we all wish we could do that), Erick says, “I began to question the wisdom of limiting the scope of the book to breweries: Why not expand it to include the brewing world’s natural relatives?” Islandport liked the idea and helped turned this into a book that will be of interest to a much bigger audience.
The book is divided into sections by state, and I began by focusing on Maine and New Hampshire. And I knew, from the very first sentence, that Erik got it right. “I couldn’t keep up,” he writes. “There are just too many places.” That is so true, but he does a good job of recommending some of our best breweries, distilleries, and coffee shops.
He also recommends places to eat and stay, and he gets that right too, including some of the places that Linda and I have written about in our weekly “Travelin’ Maine(rs)” column published on Sundays in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.
No matter where you are in New England, from Boston to Burlington to Bridgeport, Erik has great recommendations for you.
I especially enjoyed the book’s opening. “There would be blood,” he writes in the very first sentence about a “fateful day in 1855” when “Celtic residents of Portland, Maine, took to the streets of the colonial fishing city with fury in their hearts…. They wanted their beer and alcohol back – products that Mayor Neal Dow had taken from them.” Dow ordered the militia to fire into the crowd, killing one man and wounding seven others. T
Erick reports that “This unfortunate incident, known as the Portland Rum Riot, demonstrates a simple fact: We New Englanders are passionate about our beverages.” Ayuh.
“More than 150 years later, that passion still can be felt in New England breweries, distilleries, and coffeehouses,” Eric writes, “that are riding the crest of the alcohol-and-caffeine-fueled craft-beverage wave. This book is an ode to some of the best craft-beverage destinations in New England, and a guide for those who want to experience them firsthand.”
I think I’m going to have to stick this book into the backpack, with our birding books, that Linda and I always take when traveling.