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New York Breweries Signings

And pictures, too

August 13

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!


August 12

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 on them. 


July 29

Bierkraft, 191 5th Avenue, Brooklyn

I met Andy Ager on the USENET beer newsgroups and 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 good time. 

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 Hampshire!


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 total.

I packed up, and went over to the tasting room, where I sampled some more
beers...and a woman walked in and told Patty she was sorry she was too late
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 books. 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. 


July 22

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 drinking. 







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8/13, Ramada Inn, Rochester: Slow day at the Inn, I guess.






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8/12, Salt City Homebrewers: They're actually mostly sober at this point...That's Tim Butler and his wife Lisa, front and center.







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8/5 at Lake Placid: Thank God for Chris's wife buying books!




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8/8 at the Adirondack Reader in Inlet, NY: Reggie moves fast!











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7/29 at Bierkraft: From the right are Bierkraft owner Rich Scholz, Andy Ager, and the devastatingly pretty woman I was too stupid to get the name of.













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7/26 at Cooper's Cave: Welcome to Glens Falls!



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7/26 at Cooper's Cave: My tent, and the ice cream window at the brewery (yes, at the brewery).


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7/26 at Cooper's Cave: That's my daughter Nora, myself, and Patty Bethel, under the tent.











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7/22 at Brewsky's: Phil Clarke, rain-soaked mastermind of the Manhattan-based New York City Homebrewers Guild

Copyright © 2008 Lew Bryson. All rights reserved. 
Fee required for reprints in any commercial media.
Revised: August 19, 2003