Barnstormers, 800 Jefferson Rd., Henrietta (south Rochester)
Upstate New York Homebrew Association
I got the contact info for UNYHA from Hudson Valley homebrewer
Frankie Flynn and got in touch with them. Once I explained what was up,
they liked the idea, so we set up the signing at their August meeting.
Then reporter Rick Armon called from the Rochester Democrat &
Chronicle -- Rick and another guy, Patrick Flanigan, do a monthly
beer column at the paper -- and interviewed me for a piece that came out
the day before. Nice piece, and we picked up some non-homebrewers at the
bar because of it.
I did some signing out in the actual bar, while drinking an
excellent pint of Rohrbach Porter, then went into the meeting. I
did my ramble on writing the book ("Now I don't want to just plug
the book for 15 minutes, so I'm just going to talk about nothing but the
book for 15 minutes instead..."), had some pretty damned good
homebrews, had some of Jason Fox's excellent Wee Heavy and Double
Dutch Porter from Custom Brewcrafters, and signed a lot of
books. Thanks, UNYHA, what a great bunch of people!
Kitty Hoyne’s Irish Pub, 301 W. Fayette St., Syracuse
Salt City Homebrew Club
I crashed a meeting of the Salt City Homebrew Club back last
year when I was doing my bar research in Syracuse. They were real
gracious and friendly, so I set up a signing with them ASAP when the
book came out. After driving from home up to Watertown (to visit Red
Lion), then to Oswego (to visit King Arthur's), and then to Middle Ages
(to drink beer and hang out), I met Middle Ages brewer Tim Butler at
Kitty Hoyne's for dinner, and then we got into the meeting. I did a talk
about the weird things that happen when your job is drinking beer, the
beautiful things I found in a six-month intensive course in New York,
and about the great beers I had. Then we had the actual signing, and
people were opening the book and grooving on it right there, which was
very cool. They happily posed for a great picture, and then 12 of us
went down to the Blue Tusk for a beer...or two.
Week of August 4
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, Lake Placid
I was vacationing with my family in the Adirondacks the first
week in August, so I figured to make use of the regular run to Lake
Placid for a signing at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. Chris
Ericson liked the idea, so we set it for August 5, Tuesday evening.
To be honest, not much happened. Oh, the brewpub was busy, and we had great
food and the very best batch of 46'er IPA I've ever tasted (and
some Ubu, natch), but people were interested in eating and
drinking, not buying books. Can't blame them. Brewpub signings, I
haven't figured them out. Anyway, I sold one book. Luckily Chris (who
wasn't there, he had to do a triple brew at the Plattsburgh facility)
wanted ten books signed, so it was far from a total loss.
The Adirondack Reader, Inlet
The next morning I was grumpy, cursing the rain, the tent, the
lake, the flies, the illiterate guests at Lake Placid (you don't have to
be fair when you're grumpy). We went into Inlet to get tarps.
After buying a huge 20X30 tarp, tent poles, and twine (and more beer and
ice), I found a bookstore, the Adirondack Reader. It took me about 30
seconds to talk Reggie, the owner, into buying a dozen books, and then
she suggested we do a signing on Friday. I'm game! She put my banner up
on the side of the building and put her sign out by the road
The signing on Friday went okay for a small town bookstore.
Unfortunately the sun kept up ("They'll all be out on the
water," sighed Reggie) so we didn't have hordes of rain-crazed
tourists. We got about 20 people in two hours, and I sold two books.
Gratifyingly, one customer sat out on the porch and read out loud to her
mother as they both giggled at some of the funnier bits in the book. I
wanted to hire them for all my signings! Reggie told me that Hoss's
Country Corner in Long Lake sells a lot of books as well, so I'm working
191 5th Avenue, Brooklyn
I met Andy Ager on the USENET beer newsgroups alt.beer and
rec.food.drink.beer. Until very recently, Andy was working at a
fantastic beer and specialty foods shop in Brooklyn, Bierkraft,
and I'd been by to visit and done a tasting of Baltic porters for them.
Andy invited me up to do a book signing, so I gladly did.
After an easy run up through NJ and across the Outerbridge and
Verrazano bridges, I slid easily into Bierkraft's Brooklyn neighborhood
and parked the Jetta. Andy helped me get set up, and we talked a bit
while he and Rich prepared the delicious little goodies that went with
the New York beers we'd picked for the tasting: Southampton Publick
House Saison, Brooklyn Lager, Saranac Hefeweizen, Wagner Oatmeal Stout,
Middle Ages Porter, and Blue Point ESB. There was a delicious array of
cheeses, smoked chicken salad, and salmon to go with the beers, all
carefully fretted over by Andy and Rich, and they were delicious. Me, I
just blathered on about the beers, people asked questions, and it was a
Afterwards I went down to The Gate with Dave Witzel (thanks
again for the help with the book, Dave) and Andy's wife, Laura. They
sent me across the street to the Mexican Sandwich Shop, where I got a
BLT quesadilla that was fantastic, then settled down with a few
pints...none of which were what I wanted, due to a silly number of
errors on the part of both the bartenders and myself. Nothing was bad,
though, so I just drank, and ate...and got really tired. So about 9:30 I
hit the road for an uneventful drive home. Good to see everyone, hope to
see Andy and Laura again soon, especially since they now live in New
July 26 -- Launch Day!
Cooper's Cave Ale Company
Dix & Sagamore Sts., Glens Falls
I took the whole family to this one: they insisted! So the four of
us, plus John and Edith Lelak, two dear family friends, headed to Glens
Falls, intending to pick up my mother-in-law on the way. We got a late
start , then ran into half an hour of traffic tie-up on I-287 (dirt
spilled off a way over-loaded landscaping truck), and I was losing it,
so we split up at the Sloatsburg rest area, with John and the kids and I
making a straight run to Glens Falls.
Patty Bethel at Cooper's Cave is a genius for selling stuff. She'd
had signs up for two weeks in the brewery tasting room, had articles
planted in two local weeklies, and got me an interview in the daily
Glens Falls Post-Star, a piece that ran on the
morning of the tasting (I have a copy, the reporter said I lived in
Newton, Mass!). She also took out ads in two of the papers for the
signing. She contacted every business I mentioned in the entry for
Cooper's Cave, and sold them each a book: I had eight pre-sold books
waiting to be signed when I got there: she's GOOD.
Patty had a small, open tent set up on the ice-cream window side of the
brewery, right by the bike trail. I hung my banner on the tent, set up
the TV playing the PA Breweries video, spread her books around, and had
a seat, licking a Vanilla Porter ice cream cone she'd given me (good
stuff, too). Things started slow, really slow, but took off about 2:20.
By 4:00, we'd sold a total of 30 books, including the eight pre-sales.
That's the fastest I've ever sold books, and the second-highest daily
I packed up, and went over to the tasting room, where I sampled some
beers...and a woman walked in and told Patty she was sorry she was too
for the signing! I sold her another book: 31. Then just as I'm really
packing up and leaving (with my Cooper's Cave hat Patty gave me), the
phone rings, and it's a guy who's 45 minutes away, but wants four
She took his credit card info, gave me the phone, and I signed the
dedications as he gave me the names: 35. Then she had me sign the rest
of her stock. GOOD day. I swear, I'm going to get Patty to put together
something for me to send to other breweries on how to do a book signing:
she didn't miss a trick!
We had a good dinner at Davidson Brothers (had a Scotch Ale,
still delicious), the brewpub in town, drove up
around Lake George to sight-see, then stayed the night in a nice Super 8
in Latham. Stopped at the Miss Albany Diner for breakfast (huevos
rancheros and coffee milk, excellent food and conversation with the
staff and owners, love this place), had a late
lunch with the mom-in-law, and came home.
New York City Homebrewers Guild
Brewsky's, in the East Village
The actual first signing was a low-key, under-the-radar event.
Because of various schedule conflicts, it was either do a signing for
NYCHG on July 22 or wait till October. I slipped one in for them. I
stuck some books in my rucksack, caught the NJTransit to Penn Station,
subwayed down to the East Village, and came up in bright humid sunshine
near d.b.a., and...well, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? I
spent a very pleasant couple hours at d.b.a. drinking an excellent glass
of Magic Hat Fat Angel, a Southampton Publick House Saison, and a smooth
glass of Elijah Craig 12 Year Old, while the thunderstorm rolled and the
rain poured down. It was quiet and mellow in the bar, with about 12
candles burning and good music on the system, and cool people on both
sides of the bar (thanks for the beer, Deb). Sold a book, too.
When the rain let up, I scooted up to Brewsky's, where I got a
Ramstein Blonde, and waited for the arrival of Phil Clarke. Phil showed
up with a corny keg of barleywine and a soaking wet head: it was still
raining. The rain killed the meeting: we had about six people. But
they bought eight books, and we had a good time talking and